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A Restaurant Review Worthy of Ebert and Siskel (z"l)

A bunch of years ago, Gene Siskel (z"l) and Roger Ebert were reviewing a movie on their public TV show, "At the Movies." I can't tell you the name of the movie, but I can recall the palpable outrage of these two film critics - men who loved everything about film, who lived for the cinematic experience, who took and studied the art form very seriously - at a piece of mediocre movie making that was being passed off as fine art. They were livid, and they made no bones about it. It wasn't that the movie was bad; bad movies are 99% of what gets produced. What made them furious was what (if I recall) appeared to them to be an obscene waste of time, money, precious and rare creativity and resources on a half-baked, mediocre effort. The movie was bad? Fine. The intent was mediocrity? THAT was unforgivable. I came away from that episode shaken by their intensity.

And yesterday, Pete Wells, a restaurant critic for the New York Times, offered a scathing review of Guy's…

The Perfectly Imperfect Red Heifer - A Drash on Parashat Chukat

(Presented at the ACC-GTM Convention, June 2012) Do me a favor, please. You can close your eyes or leave them open; it’s up to you. We're Reform. I’m going to ask you to think of a word. Just one word, the first one that comes to your mind when I ask you to name a part of your body that you absolutely adore. (Now I’m asking the first word that comes to your mind when I ask you to name a part of your body that you really dislike and would love to change. Hold on to those thoughts. 

I don’t want to get all Debbie Downer on you, but I need to say up front that I offer this drash in memory of a woman who was a huge influence in my life in the past few years: Nora Ephron, who died on Tuesday night. That's because she taught me what we're going to learn from parashat Chukat: that imperfect perfection is the perfect kind of perfection. 

The red heifer. God’s idea of a sense of humor. Even the great and wise King Solomon couldn’t figure out what was up with that cow. 

That’s probably …

To Bigotry No Sancton? Hardly.

This is a sad day for the American dream. 

North Carolina voters approved an amendment banning same-sex marriages, partnerships, and civil unions on Tuesday. It joins an infamous assortment of 30 states - and the last in the South - to add this prohibition to their state constitutions. The vote wasn't even close: an overwhelming 80% of voters publicly pronounced their bigotry.

Yes, BIGOTRY. There is simply no other word for it, despite the sanctimonious wrapping of opinions in their version of the Bible. 

The obscenity is that the bigots invoke "God" and Newspeak simultaneously to proclaim the sanctity of their position.  According to the New York Times, '“We are not anti-gay — we are pro-marriage,” Tami Fitzgerald, chairwoman of the executive committee for the pro-amendment Vote for Marriage NC, said at a victory rally in Raleigh, where supporters ate pieces of a wedding cake topped by figures of a man and a woman. “And the point, the whole point is simply tha…

I Was There

This was my bulletin article for April 2012. 
We learn in the Haggadah: B’chol dor va-dor ... in every generation each of us must feel as though we were personally taken out of Egypt. I was in Egypt; I know what it is to be a stranger in a foreign land. I was there; I remember.
I hear women spoken about in harsh, denigrating and abusive language. I read about Israeli women’s faces being edited out of photographs or being forced to sit in buses segregated by gender (lest men not be able to control their urges). I am aware of health care and judicial disparities in the US and around the world based on gender. And I speak up because I know what it felt like to stand with Miriam and the women at the Sea of Reeds, loudly proclaiming God’s praise, refusing to take a back seat to Moses and the men. I was there; I remember.
When my beloved Israel is threatened existentially by evil regimes whose stated vows are the destruction of my Jewish homeland, I speak out. When I hear anti-Semitism in the…