Birthday d'var
Deep thanks to my Muslim readers...

Radical Torah: voices from the Jewish left

Radical Torah is "a weblog which features multiple takes on parshat hashavua (the weekly Torah portion), as seen through the lens of progressive religious and political viewpoints. The project seeks to create a resource of authentically Jewish responses to pertinent social justice issues, timed in accordance with their relevancy to the Jewish calendar." It's the brainchild of Dan Sieradski (Orthodox Anarchist), and the first few contributors include Danya Ruttenberg (Jerusalem Syndrome), Rabbi Arthur Waskow (The Shalom Center), and Rabbi Michael Lerner (Tikkun).

I'm humbled to be a part of that august company; I just contributed my first piece there, some thoughts on parashat Bo sparked in part by my hospital chaplaincy work. Here's an excerpt:

Torah tells us God hardened Pharaoh's heart, time after time, so that the first plagues and the middle plagues did not lessen his resolve. Only when firstborn sons died throughout the land, from the firstborn of Pharaoh himself to the firstborn of those in the lowliest dungeons, did Pharaoh relent and release us from slavery. But Torah is, typically, matter-of-fact in the retelling. It isn't a novel; it doesn't show us what these terrible wonders felt like for the Israelites. What was it like to take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in lamb's blood, and paint our doorposts red, knowing what we were warding away by the act? What was it like to hear the cries of mothers all around us, in every Egyptian household in the land, bewailing these sudden deaths?

Read it here: Seeking Compassion. And if you're interested in smart progressive Jewish thinking, add Radical Torah to your aggregator -- this is an exciting new endeavor of which I am really honored to be a part.

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