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Hanukka: How It Happened

A Hanukkah Manual, Autumn 1983 I. The Jews and The Greeks When the Hebrew tribes invaded Phoenician Canaan some thirty-five hundred years ago, another invasion took place across the sea. A barbaric people who had called themselves the Hellenes (and whom their Roman enemies and admirers would call the Greeks) poured out of central Europe […]

A Humanistic View of Sukkot

Sukkot, Summer 1990 The Jewish calendar features three seasonal holidays, which are grand celebrations stretching over a week or eight days. The autumn gives us Sukkot. The winter presents Hanukka. And the spring delivers Pesakh. Tied to the agricultural year, these are the splendid old festivals of our Hebrew roots. Sukkot was the major celebration […]

The Irony of Jewish Survival

Colloquium ’97: Reclaiming Jewish History, Spring 1998 When Alan Dershowitz spoke at the Bir­mingham Temple, he announced that he was a secular Jew and that Humanistic Judaism was the closest to what he felt and believed. He volunteered to help us. The reason for his coming was a book he wrote about the future of […]

After the Colloquium – Reclaiming Jewish History

Colloquium ’97: Reclaiming Jewish History, Spring 1998 Colloquium ’97 was a stunning success. Eleven Jewish historians dealt with one of the most difficult issues in Jewish life with great skill. The audience was mesmerized by the information, dialogue, and confrontation. The issue had never been dealt with be­fore in any public Jewish symposium. It had […]

The Real Story of Passover

A Passover Manual Passover and the Exodus go together. Tradition tells us that Pesakh is the commemoration of the departure of two million Hebrew slaves from Egyptian bondage. Led by Moses, an adopted prince of the Egyptian royal household, the Hebrews left Egypt with the help of Yahveh, their ancestral god, and began their 40-year […]

The Failed Messiah of Crown Heights

What Does It Mean to be Jewish? Winter 1995 The rebbe was dead. Or was he? Hundreds of Lubavitcher Hasidim wait­ed breathlessly for his resurrection. They could not accept his death. They still await his return. Whoever would have imagined that the death of a Jewish cult leader would make front page news seven days […]