Articles

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The Tower of Babel and the Birth of Nationhood

June 2010

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The Nation of Hope (The Torch)

October 2009

What’s in an anthem? “Hatikvah” and the meaning of the modern State of Israel

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One on One – Rehab for Peace Addiction

27 March 2009

The one thing we don’t talk about here is what type of country we are creating.

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Saving Israel Introduction

05 February 2009

The Introduction to Saving Israel: How the Jewish People Can Win A War That May Never End. Publication date: March, 2009, by John Wiley and Sons. Says Natan Sharansky, “Saving Israel is an important book. Bold in his willingness to be forthright and politically incorrect, Gordis sets forth propositions which are difficult for many to accept…”

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Taking Risks After the Gaza War (New York Times)

15 January 2009

From the New York Times Online Debate Forum, a brief suggestion to then incoming President Obama as to what needed to be said to each of the parties as the war reached its zenith.

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A Basic Religious Datum

2007

How deeply is Zionism embedded in the worldview of Conservative Judaism? A look at some of the Conservative movement’s history and its liturgical texts suggests that it was, and remains, much more ambivalent about Zionism and Israel than is commonly believed

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Midrash on the Shema (Moment Magazine 1986)

08 September 2006

In light of recent requests, I’ve posted this very old article with a contemporary reading of the second paragraph of the Shema.

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Israel, The Eternal Nation

08 September 2006

In the wake of the loss of the second Lebanon War, a look a why a drive through the State of Israel restores perspective and renews a sense of hope for a better future.

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Leaving Gaza, One Year Later (The Jewish Week)

12 August 2006

How the departure from Gaza is seen one year later, in the midst of the Lebanon War, and what it might mean for Israelis when the fighting stops.
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Disharmonious Society (The New Republic)

12 August 2006

From The New Republic Online, a brief looking ahead at what the end of the war in Lebanon is likely to do to Israeli discourse, and the critical role of leadership in the next phase of the Israel domestic “conversation.” In some ways, a continuation of some of the issues I raised in “Coming Together, Coming Apart.”

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A Statement on Jewish Education

December 2002

A brief statement, written for the American Jewish Committee, on the challenges and goals of Jewish education in the United States.

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From the Depths I Call You: Prayer as a Response to Evil and Suffering

2002

Prayer, beyond its theological significant and its supplication to God, has a powerful capacity to heal and to reassure us, particularly in our darkest hours. This article explores this dimension of prayer, particularly in the context of the horrors of the Second Intifada in Israel.

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When Magical Thinking Will Not Suffice

January 2003

What can Israel do about the growing demographic threat to a Jewish majority inside her own borders? In this brief contribution to a symposium of the American Jewish Committee, Gordis takes a brief look at some of the far reaching steps that may be necessary to maintain the Jewishness of the Jewish State.

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Needing Israel (New York Times Op Ed)

April 2002

An Op Ed written for the New York Times, on Yom Ha-Shoah and on the day that thriteen Israeli soldiers were killed in an ambush in Jenin. This piece was subsequently read into the Congressional Record.

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E-mail from an Anxious State (New York Times Magazine)

September 2001

E-mail dispatches written from October 1998-September 2001. These email excerpts appeared in the New York Times Magazine. The final entry was written immediately after the attack on the World Trade Center. A more complete collection of the emails was subsequently published in three books (see Books page):
** If a Place Can Make You Cry

** Home to Stay

** Coming Together, Coming Apart

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Visions from a New Rabbinical School (Sh’ma Magazine)

2000

Prior to making aliyah in 1998, Gordis was Dean of the Rabbinical School at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles. This brief article in Sh’ma Magazine seeks to explain some of the elements which the Ziegler School was seeking to introduce into rabbinic education.

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Honey from the Word- Yeshiva Learning for Liberal Jews? (The Jewish Spectator)

Winter, 1994

Why does the liberal Jewish world see learning as the province of rabbis and leaders, while Orthodoxy sees it as a necessary element of the life of every Jew? What would happen to Liberal Judaism if it adopted Orthodoxy’s love of and devotion to learning? How would American Jewish life look different?

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Positive Historical Judaism Exhausted: Reflections on a Movement’s Future (Conservative Judaism)

Fall, 1994

Conservative Judaism is in Crisis- the optimism which once surrounded the Movement has given way to a plague of self-doubt, disquiet, and gloom. Are the roots of Conservative Judaism in positive-historical Judaism a source of intellectual strength, or spiritual weakness? Can the Movement recover?

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Precedent, Rules and Ethics in Halakhic Jurisprudence (Conservative Judaism)

Fall, 1993

A review of Aaron Kirschenbaum’s Equity in Jewish Law and a discussion of changes in writing about Halakhic (Jewish legal) jurisprudence.

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Marriage: Judaism’s Other Conventional Relationship

1993

The Jewish conception of marriage is about much more than the union of two human beings. It is, this chapter argues, a reflection of the ultimate covenantal relationship between God and human beings. What results is a radically different view of marriage than the one we commonly assume.

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Sacred Texts in Sacred Context: Images of My Grandfather

October 1991

A piece in honor of my grandfather, Rabbi Dr. Robert Gordis, about his intellectual and spiritual accomplishments, and his role as one of the leading figures of American Judaism.

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The Conservative Rabbinate: Looking for Men in All the Wrong Places (Tikkun Magazine)

April, 1989

A review of On the Ordination of Women, a compendium of essays written by faculty members of the Jewish Theological Seminary as the Seminary grappled with that issue. The central thrust of this review of a critique of the halakhic position that was ultimately adopted by the Seminary.

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Lies, Wives and Sisters: The Wife/ Sister Motif Revisited

Summer, 1985

A discussion of the three biblical episodes in which a patriarch must portray his wife as his sister, the manner in which they have been incorporated into biblical scholarship, and additional means of reading and interpreting them.

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Scripture and Halakhah in Two Parallel Sugyot

May, 1985

A discussion attempting to demonstrate that two apparently similar narratives, one in the Babylonian Talmud and one in the Palestinian Talmud, long considered almost identical, can, through sensitive and advised use of language, make radically different points.

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