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Rabbi Eric Yoffie is a writer, lecturer, and President Emeritus of the Union for Reform Judaism. His latest articles are below. 

Netanyahu is Finished as a Jewish Leader

Posted by on Jul 13, 2017 in Haaretz | 1 comment

Netanyahu is Finished as a Jewish Leader

Several weeks have passed since “Black Sunday,” the day on which Israel’s cabinet decided to suspend the Western Wall agreement and hand total control over conversions in Israel to the ultra-Orthodox forces in the religious establishment. (The conversion decision was later delayed for 6 months.) In Israel, the attention of the press and public has turned to other things. But in America, an...

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Why I’m Thankful for America’s Immigrants and Religion

Posted by on Jul 2, 2017 in Time | 0 comments

Why I’m Thankful for America’s Immigrants and Religion

These reflections on the 4th of July, written in 2014 for Time Magazine, seem even more relevant in the Trump Era. The Fourth of July is nearly upon us. As always, we Americans will barbeque in our backyards, watch fireworks, and celebrate America. And there is much to celebrate. Americans are informal and down-to-earth. We introduce ourselves by our first names to practically everyone. We say...

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A Politics-Free Synagogue Abandons Jewish Values

Posted by on Jun 22, 2017 in Haaretz | 2 comments

A Politics-Free Synagogue Abandons Jewish Values

Keep politics off the pulpit. Don’t give sermons on political matters. Resist the temptation to address issues of public policy in your comments on the weekly Torah portion. That is the advice of Rabbi David Wolpe to his rabbinic colleagues in America. Writing in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal, Wolpe made the case for a politics-free synagogue pulpit. His views are not mine, and are not...

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Religious Pluralism in Israel: Why North American Jews Should Care

Posted by on May 4, 2017 in By Eric | 1 comment

Religious Pluralism in Israel: Why North American Jews Should Care

In travelling around North America and giving lectures on Israel and the Middle East, I have discovered an interesting paradox: Some North American Jews are obsessed with the subject of religious pluralism in Israel while others are reluctant to discuss the subject at all. For those who care about it, I am happy to give my views. But what do I say to those who feel that this issue is not really...

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Liberal Religion’s Moment

Posted by on Nov 21, 2016 in Huffington Post | 5 comments

Liberal Religion’s Moment

For those of us who are adherents of liberal religion in America, this is our moment. Liberal churches and synagogues—and all other religious institutions that share our ideals—must step up at this time of crisis for our country.  America is in peril, and we must take the lead in saving it, preaching a message of justice and compassion.  But we must do more than preach.  We must offer an action...

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The Religious Values of the Declaration of Independence

Posted by on Jun 30, 2016 in Huffington Post | 0 comments

The 4th of July is almost upon us.  When it arrives, we will gather for barbecues, soft drinks, and beer, and enjoy the holiday with neighbors, family, and friends.  And most of us, amidst the food and festivities, will spend at least a few minutes talking about the state of our country and contemplating the meaning of the day. And while there is much that divides us, we will nonetheless find...

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What Are the Best Ways to Talk to Our Children and Grandchildren about Israel?

Posted by on Jun 27, 2016 in By Eric | 2 comments

What Are the Best Ways to Talk to Our Children and Grandchildren about Israel?

We no longer know how to talk to our children and grandchildren about Israel. At one time, we did. In the early days of the Jewish State, we were overwhelmed by the miracle of Israel. This was Israel’s heroic period, and we viewed her in transcendental terms—more as a faith than as a place. In our eyes, every Israeli was a soldier-philosopher, a swamp-drainer, or a Zionist dreamer. But this...

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The Problem With No-Share Parenting

Posted by on Apr 21, 2015 in Time | 1 comment

The Problem With No-Share Parenting

A child who is 3 or 4 can be conditioned to share, to empathize, and to be generous. Don’t force your toddler to share. In fact, don’t encourage it all. It’s not even good for your child. Parents who insist that their kids “take turns” and give up their toys to other children on the playground are doing it mostly because they don’t want to be embarrassed in front of other parents. In short, we...

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Six Shared Values and the American Jewish Future

Posted by on Dec 9, 2014 in Jerusalem Post | 0 comments

Six Shared Values and the American Jewish Future

American Jews are a fractious lot.  Our religious differences are real and important.  Our community, after all, is known for its passionate pluralism, which in many ways is a blessing and a source of strength. I recently read an interesting take on these differences in a blog post by David Strulowitz published on the Wexner Foundation site.  Mr. Strulowitz provides a fascinating and...

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Stop bashing America

Posted by on Oct 27, 2014 in Jerusalem Post | 3 comments

Stop bashing America

American Jews are apoplectic. While they watch in astonishment, Israel’s leaders are doing everything they can to disrupt and degrade Israel’s relations with her most important ally, the United States of America. Jewish leaders are not only dismayed but genuinely puzzled.  Why in heaven’s name, they wonder, would Israeli officials do things that are guaranteed to undermine the goodwill so...

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