Avraham Burg


The Weakness of God

By Avraham Burg

At the sea, after the danger of drowning has passed, after Israel has been saved and six hundred of Pharaoh’s elite charioteers has drowned in the sea, the scripture sums up the essence of the ancient faith in this fashion: “And the people feared the Lord; and they believed in the Lord, and in his servant Moses” (Exod. 14:31). There is a direct, intimate connection between what the people see and their belief in God, as though our text were quoting some sort of Israelite tag line that said, “See it, believe it; don’t see it, don’t believe it.” God has been through a great deal since then. He’s gone from babysitting and sewing underwear for his creatures in the Garden of Eden, intimate chats with his believers by the terebinths of Mamre (Gen. 18:1–15) and drowning their enemies in the sea, to the point where he has disappeared from human events and left us more mature and much more alone in our own time. I once wrote myself a note that I’ve saved:Read More


Slaves of Time

By Avraham Burg

This week the story of the Exodus reaches its climax. The last plagues come down on Pharaoh and his house. The gates of Egypt are thrown open wide and “my people go.” Thus the Middle Eastern drama of days gone by, whose echoes still spark the imaginations and shape the values of the three great monotheistic faiths. Such myths often fired the imagination of the ancient world, and a few have survived to our time. For example, the Roman gladiator Spartacus led a slave revolt against the Roman republic in 73 BCE. Leading an army of gladiators and runaway slaves, he fought off the trained legions of Rome for nearly three years in what historians call the Third Servile War, before being defeated. His story happened in the far distant past, but it continues to resonate. Numerous modern revolutionary movements drew their inspiration from Spartacus, including the most famous: the Spartacus League, led by Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht during the Weimar Republic in Germany. Fictional versions of his story continue to grow in number. Arthur Koestler’s first novel, The Gladiators, published in 1939, was based on the Spartacus story.Read More


Righteous Gentiles

By Avraham Burg

Exodus 6:2–9:35 Read More


Joseph, First Diaspora Success Story

By Avraham Burg

Miketz — At the End of Two Years Read More


Vayeshev — And Jacob Dwelt

By Avraham Burg

Genesis 37:1–40:23 Read More






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  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
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  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
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