Category Archives: Individualism and Empathy

It’s All Hillel’s Fault

Rabbi Dan Horwitz
December 1, 2013

“Hillel would also say: If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?” - Pirkei Avot 1:14   It seems that much of the American Jewish world has become fixated on the first of Hillel’s three presented clauses.  More »


Responsibilities First, Individualism Second

Rabbi Amitai Adler
November 29, 2013

Our Torah- both Written and Oral- is constructed around mitzvot not only concerning oneself and one’s personal obligations to God, but concerning every person’s obligation to every other, so that we may collectively create a society worthy of being God’s covenant partner, and fit to be an example to other nations. It’s easy to quote More »


I’m free to do what I want?

Naomi Less
November 27, 2013

Today’s Instructions: This post is a soundtracked musical journey. As you read, click play on the music clips - they will enhance your experience. Music clips are listed at the end.  (Suggestion: turn your volume down so that it’s a soundtrack and not distracting.) Let’s face it: I can do pretty much whatever I want More »


Emotional Blindness

Rabbi Scott Perlo
November 25, 2013

בס”ד While in Berlin, I heard a startling statistic: about half of Germans surveyed believe that, “Jews try to take advantage of having been victims during the Nazi era.”* When Poles were asked, the number rises to 72% This kind of sentiment reveals the end of empathy, both where it fails and why. When a More »


A Journey To Empathy

Rabbi Ben Goldstein
November 22, 2013

As I mentioned in a previous post, I grew up in an Orthodox community. For those of you who might not be aware, that means that I was taught that every word of the Torah was written by God and is eternal and Just. That also meant that anyone who went against the Torah was More »


Individualism, Empathy, and Love

November 20, 2013

I sit, in a mall in Jersey, watching three generations of women sharing in fundamental love and human experience. Grandma holds the bottle while baby drinks, and mom prepares the stroller. Dad is reading from an iPad. Surrounding us is Loft, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, video kiosks, and wafting smells from the coffee bar just More »


Divine Addresses

Jared Gimbel
November 19, 2013

Looking at the Psalms, and the other types of Jewish prayer that followed it, there are three ways to address God. One choice is to use collective language—one example of this could be “Our God and the God of Our Forefathers” (Hebrew: Eloheinu v’Elohei Avoteinu). Another option is to keep this God for yourself, made More »