Rabbi Josh Weinberg

Rabbi Josh Weinberg

Inside Leadership
Fingers giving the peace sign in front of an Israeli flag

It is no secret that racism exists, and despite the tremendous progress made in recent decades, racism will probably always find pockets of support. This week, we were painfully reminded of how much it exists in the United States by the events in Charlottesville, VA. As if a mob of torch- and weapon-wielding white supremacists shouting “Jews will not replace us” wasn’t enough, the president of the United States was unwilling to specifically condemn the likes of the KKK and neo-Nazis.

To state the obvious, racism is an ugly and evil ideology that tears at the very fabric of society...

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String of tattered Israeli flags hanging between buildings against a blue sky

I do not travel to Jerusalem, I return (to paraphrase the poet Yitzhak Yasinowitz). I pick up where I left off, visiting friends, arriving at former stomping grounds to find them still pulsing or torn down and rebuilt in the ever-evolving life that lays down strata upon strata of this city.

I’m not sure what a unified city would look like. Is Paris unified? London? New York? Bangkok? Madrid? One thing I can say is that Jerusalem is not. Not to contradict the psalmist: "Jerusalem built up, a city knit together."

There is West Jerusalem and East, Arab Jerusalem and Jewish...

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Row of Israeli flags against background of blue sky and clouds

Only in Israel and nowhere else is the injunction to remember felt as a religious imperative to an entire people. -- Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi

On May 14, 1948, David Ben Gurion proclaimed the State of Israel into being. The short ceremony as Shabbat ensued changed Jewish history forever, returning Jewish sovereignty to the Land of Israel and giving the Jewish people a nation-state.

However, Ben Gurion did much more than create a Jewish state. He also seized this rare opportunity to invent a new Jewish holiday, which hadn’t been done since the rabbis codified...

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Multiple Israeli flags and blue and white streamers in the sunlight

“In Israel, in order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles.” – Prime Minister David Ben Gurion

After Yom HaZikaron, we make the heart-wrenching, 180-degree transition from deep mourning to joyous celebration of the miraculous feat of independence. Yom HaAtzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) offers a welcome respite from a week of mourning (from Yom HaShoah through Yom HaZikaron, a period some have coined “the seven days of memory”), giving us a chance to rejoice in Israel’s statehood and reflect on her many achievements.

Yom HaAtzmaut is an invented holiday,...

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Israeli flags flying in front of Jerusalem building

Our Rabbis taught: If one sees a crowd of Jews, one says: “Blessed is He who is the wise-knower of all secrets,” whose minds are unlike each other and whose faces are unlike each other.

Ben Zoma once saw a crowd on one of the steps of the Temple Mount, he said, “Blessed is He who is the wise-knower of secrets.…[and b]lessed is He who created all these to serve me.” (BT B'rachot 58a)

As I sat among the roughly 18,000 people filling Washington D.C.’s Verizon Center during this week’s AIPAC policy conference, I was reminded of this blessing found in the Tractate B'rachot. We...

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