Michael Barclay


A Fourth of Jew-ly Celebration

By Michael Barclay

As a young child, I always loved the Fourth of July — the fireworks, the meat on the grill, the picnics and everyone seeming so grateful to be American. As I got a little older and learned about the Founding Fathers, who cherished their principles and beliefs so much that they were willing to risk everything in the quest for freedom, the Fourth of July took on a much deeper meaning. And as a rabbi, I gained an appreciation of how the principles upon which this country was founded resonate with Jewish tradition. Indeed, I have come to see the Fourth of July as a profoundly Jewish holiday.Read More


The Pope Has Given Catholics a Choice

By Michael Barclay

A statement that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI issued on July 7 has rightfully received a tremendous amount of attention from Jewish and interfaith organizations. Through the “Apostolic Letter in the Form of Motu Proprio” and a subsequent letter to the bishops of the Church, the pope has shifted the liturgical options for Catholics worldwide, causing some to declare that a blow had been dealt to Jewish-Catholic relations.Read More






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    • 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.
    • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
    • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
    • 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?
    • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
    • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
    • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
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