Blog: Rabbi Feinstein

Posted by Rabbi Ed Feinstein on July 5, 2018

A time will come in the next generation when we will have to explain to our children and grandchildren how it was that even into the middle of the 20th century women were considered lesser. How could it be that opportunities and possibilities enjoyed by men were closed to women simply because they are women? And when they asked us how that changed, how women earned equal rights, there will be many stories to tell. Among the most dramatic will be story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, who was awarded the Genesis Prize for Lifetime Achievement this week in Jerusalem. In our times, moral heroes are hard to find. Especially in government. “RBG” is a soul to hold up and celebrate.

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Posted by Rabbi Ed Feinstein on May 24, 2018

Reprinted from Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies of American Jewish University's Today's Torah publication.

All of five feet tall in his stiff new suit and shiny shoes, he can barely be seen over the bima. In a cracking adolescent voice, he announces, "Today I am Bar Mitzvah. Today I am a man!" Yes, you are. But what do you know about being a man? A Jewish man? What can we tell you?

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Posted by Rabbi Ed Feinstein on May 23, 2018

Rabbi Ed Feinstein guest stars on two podcasts: Jay's 4 Questions and 18 Questions with Rick Recht

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Posted by Rabbi Ed Feinstein on May 3, 2018

I asked the children in our school -- what’s the difference between a noun and a verb?

Every child knew the answer: A noun is a person, place or thing. A verb is an action, something we do.

Then I asked them: What is “God” -- a noun or a verb? They all gave the answer -- God is a noun. God is a Someone, or maybe a Something, but definitely a noun.

So what can you tell me about that noun? I asked. Long pause, then: Nothing. God is beyond all description. God is infinite. There are no words to describe God.  

So I asked again -- What if God is a verb? If God is a verb, God would be something we do -- an act, a deed, a gesture. Can God be a verb?

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Posted by Rabbi Ed Feinstein on April 4, 2018

Rosh Hashanah in 2003 marked the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s immortal “I Have a Dream” speech. On that occasion, I shared the following sermon with the VBS community. This week, we commemorate the 50th yahrtzeit of Dr King, the fiftieth year since his assassination. Ironically, it falls during these days of Pesach -- our holiday of liberation from slavery and our celebration of human dignity. It is fitting to return again to Dr King’s prophetic words, in his memory, and as a timely last word for our Pesach. Abraham Joshua Heschel, the great Jewish philosopher, declared that Martin Luther King was the evidence that God has not given up on the United States of America. May his memory on this his 50th yahrtzeit be a blessing to our nation.    

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Posted by Rabbi Ed Feinstein on January 18, 2018

In everything there is a living point from the Root of Life.  But that inwardness lies hidden in this world.  The Jew has to arouse and reveal this inwardness that lies within all things”  (Sefat Emet)

I first met Mark Borovitz in 1990. Someone told me there was a remarkable man who had just come out of jail and had a message to share with Jewish young people. I was the director of Camp Ramah. I took a chance and invited Mark to come speak to our campers. As I watched, he captivated a room of 110 16-year olds for more than two hours. His message was simple, but so very powerful -- “You matter.” That message was delivered by a man who had experienced life as few of us do.

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Posted by Rabbi Ed Feinstein on November 15, 2017

In 1965, the great Jewish philosopher, Abraham Joshua Heschel stood at this podium and addressed the GA, assembled in Montreal.

“There are two words I should like to strike from our vocabulary,” he declared, “ 'surveys' and 'survival'.”

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Posted by Rabbi Ed Feinstein on November 2, 2017

This week, we will read Parshat Va-yera, which concludes with the story of Akedat Yitzchak, The Binding of Isaac. Remarkably, archaeologists in Israel recently discovered a note, stuck to an ancient refrigerator door by a magnet, from Abraham to Sarah, that sheds new light on the story. Here is the text, translated from the ancient Hebrew.

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Posted by Rabbi Ed Feinstein on August 15, 2017

Published by the Los Angeles Daily News on August 14, 2017

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Posted by Rabbi Ed Feinstein on June 26, 2017

In the middle of the summer, we commemorate T’sha B’Av, the ninth day of the month of Av. This year, it will begin the evening of July 30. On this day, the long history of Jewish tragedies are remembered -- the destruction of our holy Temple and of our holy city, Jerusalem, the long history of Jewish exile, the expulsions, pogroms, and persecutions that haunt Jewish memory.

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