Becoming an Unaffiliated Jew: Why I Left My Synagogue

There were a lot of little reasons I was unhappy. But ultimately, I realized I didn’t need to belong to a temple to feel Jewish.

Are Jews Meant To Be Farmers, Workers, or Thinkers?

So much of the Talmud is about working the land, and the rules that govern labor, profit, and loss

How Can We Respect Both the Sanctity of Jewish Things and the Practical Needs of the Jews?

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic rabbis debate the value of recycling, upselling, renovation, and sacred trash

‘Jewish Karma’: When Bad Things Happen to Good People Who Do Bad Things

I regretted my unkind words as soon as I wrote them. And then the pain I’d caused another person came back to haunt me.

American Jews Speak English, but Our Sacred Texts Are in Hebrew

What happens when the most authoritative guardians of the tradition are sometimes baffled by the tradition themselves?

By the Arch of Titus: Spending Tisha B’Av in Rome

Tisha B’Av was the first Jewish holiday I learned about growing up in Soviet Ukraine, and I’ve come to observe it in unexpected ways

People Who Secretly Love Feeling Miserable on Tisha B’Av

The holiday gives us permission to mourn for many things, personal and communal, that we avoid discussing the rest of the year

When the Talmud Offers Close Readings of Sacred Fictions

Antic embellishments, like Esther being good in bed, help Talmudic rabbis to more fully explicate the text’s divine meaning

Is the Book of Esther—a Story Told in Human Terms, Not Miracles—a Holy Book?

Talmudic rabbis, like us, can only study the course of history for the elusive signs of God’s intentions

Why Early Jews Didn’t Care at All About Christians

In a struggle against the idea of history, Jewish life strives to change as little as possible, even when new religions take over

Why Even the Greatest Rabbis Can’t Be Trusted

Talmudic thinkers debate the ethics of winning God’s favor, and when a holy person can be too righteous

Better To Suffer or Better To Live? Eating—and Not Eating—as a Meritorious Jewish Act

Talmudic rabbis debate Jewish solidarity in the face of misfortune, a communal imperative that still holds today

In the Rains, Talmudic Symbols of Goodwill, Punishment, and a Deep Covenant

The Torah sages study and respond to natural phenomena in an effort to understand our place on Earth

When the Talmud Replaced the Temple as the Structure at the Heart of Jewish Life

Judaism became a religion of laws, haunted and bound by the absence of a home for Jewish sovereignty

Talmudic Rabbis Debate the Practice of the Law Versus the Intention Behind It

Technical discussion about the shofar leads quickly to an examination of deep spiritual questions

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