Rabbis for Obama

Over 300 American rabbis publicly announced their support for Barack Obama yesterday with the launch of a “Rabbis for Obama” website. The movement was founded by Rabbis Sam Gordon and Steve Bob of Illinois in response to what they call the “smear campaign against Obama” that “has been waged in the Jewish community.” “The smears and lies are specifically targeted to the fears and prejudices of Jews,” Gordon said in a phone interview this morning. “The kind of attacks and criticisms of him are totally unwarranted and caused me and others to respond in a way unprecedented in the history of Jewish rabbis.” While Gordon and Bob both belong to the Union for Reform Judaism, they say rabbinical support for Obama—and for their movement—comes from across the spectrum. Indeed, Gordon, who met Obama in small group settings during the...

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Weekly Parsha: Pinchas’ Zealotry and 600,000 Israelites

Last week's Torah parsha was Pinchas. (Numbers 25:10-30:1) Continuing from last week's parsha, Balak, Pinchas begins with the conclusion of the story of the plague of Baal-peor (Numbers 25). Balak ends with the men of Israel falling prey to their lustful appetites for non-Isralite women. They fornicate with them, marry them, and needless to say, Hashem is furious! He tells Moses to have the leaders impaled publicly, which leads to this Hollywood-esque finale (Numbers 25:6-9): Just as Moses finishes telling Hashem's orders to Israel's officials, the Israelite Zimri son of Salu brings his Midianite woman, Cozbi daughter of Zur, to a chamber in view of Moses and everyone else around. They proceed to copulate in what has to be one of the most disgustingly public, brazen, and defiant sexual acts in human history. We can imagine Moses and...

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