Rabbi Jonathan Leener is a co-founder of Base Hillel, a new initiative in Jewish engagement, and rabbi of its Brooklyn site.
By Jonathan Leener
I hate Zoom Havdalah!
I hate Zoom Havdalah! There, I said it. I also hate Zoom Kabbalat Shabbat, Zoom Seders, and Facebook Live events. Of course, at the beginning of this nightmare, we desperately needed Zoom Havdalah. For those insanely dark April days, seeing each other even in a small virtual square was practically the only thing keeping us…
Seder tips for Passover in the coronavirus era
Is coronavirus causing you to lead your first Seder? Are you scrambling to put something together without the usual players at your Seder? Are you wondering how on earth you can do a Seder alone? Have no fear! You will be fine. Seder will be different this year but that is okay. Making the Seder…
Self-Care Is Not A New Age Idea — It’s A Religious Imperative
As a rabbi, I’m often tasked with helping others find meaning in suffering and hope in times of despair. Drawing from the wellspring of biblical and rabbinic wisdom, I frequently find support for a wide range of broken hearts, and I typically have a comforting text to point to. Existential loneliness? Turn to Psalms 23:4:“Though…
What The Bible Really Says About Refugees
On June 16, 1967, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel sent a telegram to President John F. Kennedy proposing the president declare a “state of moral emergency” as a response to the ongoing racial injustices in the United States. “The hour calls for moral grandeur and spiritual audacity,” Heschel proclaimed. A religious person must feel the pain…
What Our Elected Officials Could Learn From The Talmudic Sages
While many Jews have been elected into Congress in our nation’s history, not one rabbi has ever been elected — but given the current political climate, Congress and our elected officials stand much to gain from the wisdom, methodology, and civility of the ancient rabbis of the Talmud. To start, the rabbis self-imposed high standards…
What The Shofar Tries To Teach Us
The shofar is once again reverberating through the late summer air as Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur quickly approach. It’s alarming and mystifying sounds are intended to wake us up from our spiritual and moral slumber. “Awake, O you sleepers, awake from your sleep! O you slumbers, awake from your slumber! Search your deeds and…
And You Too Must Love The Convert
“She is hoping to convert” a parent recently told me about their son’s non-Jewish girlfriend. “That is great news! Why do you look so disappointed then?” I asked. “I don’t know. I just am. I paid all this money for Jewish day school and this is what we get…” he responded. He didn’t have to…
Passover And The Jewish Art of Questioning Everything
Don’t be alarmed, but Passover is coming! It often feels that as my Purim costume is being stored away the Passover dishes are simultaneously dusted off with the countdown to the Seder frantically beginning. Matzah suddenly appears everywhere, securing a brisket becomes a priority and spring cleaning takes on a completely different meaning. In just…
The college is Christian. Its point guard wears a yarmulke.
Conservative synagogue makes history with hiring of Hebrew Israelite clergy
George Santos covered ‘Hallelujah’ — it’s been through worse
News Quiz: Test your knowledge of Ilhan Omar and anti-antisemitism billboards
In Case You Missed It
די אַרכיוון פֿון חיים גראַדע און זײַן קאָנטראָווערסאַלער אַלמנה אינאַ האַקער זענען סוף־כּל־סוף צוטריטלעך Papers of writer Chaim Grade and his controversial widow Inna Hacker finally accessible online
דער פֿאַרגעסענער העלד אין דער גאַנצער געשיכטע איז דער בראָנקסער אַדוואָקאַט וואָס האָט אײַנגעזען די ווערט פֿון די טויזנטער באַשטויבטע פּאַפּירן .
2 Jewish community leaders missing in Antakya, Turkish city devastated by earthquakes
From Mel Brooks to Elaine May to Ethan Coen: Producer Julian Schlossberg writes memoir about working with Jewish stars over 6 decades
Joe Rogan says ‘The idea that Jewish people aren’t into money is ridiculous’