Skip to main content


Showing posts from May, 2014

Using the Culture Key to Unlock the Meanings of the Words of the Bible

We all think, act, and communicate in ways that are primarily predetermined by our culture.

We didn't choose our culture any more than we chose our parents.  We are born and immediately immersed in whatever culture we happened to live in. If you had been born in another culture – you would be a very different person than you are today. Read the complete article at --

Meet Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor

We have received some great comments about Rabbi Leynor’s article “Finding the True Meaning of the Word `Love.” For those who do not know Rabbi Leynor the following bio will introduce you Jeffrey and his remarkable story.
Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor
Jeffrey Leynor was born in Newark, New Jersey and grew up in South Orange. His father was a doctor, his mother was a social worker and his father’s father was an orthodox rabbi. He attended a synagogue associated with the Conservative Movement in Judaism. As a child, Jeffrey went to the Shabbat services with his father and sit next to him, safe and secure under his huge tallit (prayer shawl). He listened and watched, as the service unfolded, and learned the tunes, prayers and the practices on Shabbat and the holidays.
After high school, Jeffrey attended Hiram College in Ohio as a premed major, but while home for the summer, he joined some high school buddies, Jimmy Brown and Richard Bunkiewicz in the Stanky Brown Group (a folk rock trio playing orig…

Atheists lose latest legal fight over ‘In God We Trust’

Atheists lost their case against the “In God We Trust” motto on the nation’s currency Wednesday (May 28). It’s a battle they have lost several times before, as court after court has affirmed that printing and engraving the country’s motto on its money does not violate the U.S. Constitution. . . The three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York noted that the courts have long looked at the motto not so much as the entanglement of government in religion, but as a more general statement of optimism and a “reference to the country’s religious heritage.” Read the complete article at --

Finding the True Meaning of the Word “Love”

This is a great article and personal testimony by Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor.
“In the late 1990’s, I brought my two young children in for play therapy to help them process my divorce. That day, I met a woman who would literally save my life and transform me forever. She was thirteen years my junior, the most beautiful, smartest, most competent and grown up woman I had ever met.  I was stressed out, angry, hurt and approaching 500 pounds, but oddly enough, that first day there were sparks.”

Read the complete article at --

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu corrects Pope Francis – Jesus spoke Hebrew

What language did Jesus speak? Beginning in the middle of the nineteenth century a mistaken notion – Jesus only knew and spoke Aramaic -- took hold that has by-and-large continued to dominate both scholarly and popular opinion. Yet, the results of a century of archaeological evidence have challenged this assumption and brought a sea change of understanding regarding the linguistic environment of first-century Judaea. The inscriptional and literary evidence reflects a reality not unlike what we find with the Dead Sea Scrolls. Of the 700 non-biblical texts from the Qumran library, 120 are in Aramaic and 28 in Greek, while 550 scrolls were written in Hebrew. Read the complete article at --

Torah Scholars Seek Original Version of Bible — But Does It Exist?

(JTA) — According to Jewish tradition, the Torah is so sacred that even a single error made on a single letter renders the entire scroll unusable. And yet the Hebrew Bible — including the Torah, its first five books — is riddled with corruptions and alterations that have accrued and been passed down over the millennia. Now an international team of scholars is working to fix all that. For the past 14 years, the team behind “The Hebrew Bible: A Critical Edition” has been laboring on a project to sift through the text and reverse the accumulated imperfections and changes, returning the books of the Hebrew Bible to something like their original versions. The first volume is due out later this year. “It is a little chutzpadik,” acknowledged Ronald Hendel, HBCE’s general editor and a professor of Hebrew Bible at the University of California, Berkeley. It’s also a messy, painstaking and controversial endeavor that has been criticized by some of the world’s leading biblical scholars. The criti…

Isaiah 1:12-26 -- A Message from Isaiah the Prophet for Americans Today

We have been working on a project called the Bible’s Wisdom of the Beginning for several years and are just about ready to release it. For the past few days I have been working on a translation/commentary/midrash of Isaiah 1:12-26. The finished version will be included in the project above. However, I decided to share what I have done so far (in its unfinished form) because I feel that it should be considered as we enter into another season of elections. I am sure you are aware of the flood of political propaganda that is being produced at an increasing rate.
The principles and values of the Bible’s Wisdom of the Beginning (you will have to wait for their publication in the near future) are clearly seen in the writings of the Prophets. They leave no doubt that religious rituals and blind allegiance to authority are not what God requires. They also make it clear that religious institutions and their rituals cannot free people from the consequences of what they do to other people.

Read t…

Poll Finds Americans Lie about Church Attendance

I know what you did last Sunday,” claims the title of a new survey. You skipped church. And then nearly one in seven of you fibbed about attending. That’s according to a new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute released Saturday (May 17). The study, to be presented at the national meeting of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, was designed to measure the “social desirability bias in self-reported religious behavior.” The survey finds that many Christians — and unbelievers, too — will exaggerate about attending worship in live phone interviews. However, when asked in an anonymous online questionnaire, people will answer more realistically. On the phone, 36 percent of Americans report attending religious services weekly or more, while 30 percent say they seldom or never go. But online, a smaller share (31 percent) of people surveyed said they attended church at least weekly, while a larger portion (43 percent) admitted they seldom or never go. People who do…

On Mount Herzl, with the keepers of the graves

While the biblical Hiram built some of the First Temple, the Hungarian Jewish architect left his imprint on Israel’s military cemeteries: he determined that the graves would be low to the ground – 30 centimeters, one foot – so that mourners would be forced to their knees before the dead; he dictated the size and positioning of the headstones [but not the material from which they are made, as he preferred bronze]; he formed the ancient-seeming font; he advocated for a uniformity of graves, despite age or rank; and he, among many other things, decided on the garden bed, rooted in soil, over the graves.

Today there are 3,400 graves in the cemetery. The notion of uniformity, in the newest sections, where the tide of modernity tugs toward individualism, is under assault. This bothers some of the workers and supervisors, who remain devoted to the preservation of Hiram and Giladi’s vision, but all of them, from the national director of landscaping in Israel’s military cemeteries to the elder…

Spy satellite photos reveal new archaeological sites

Until late last month, there were some 4,500 known archaeological sites in the Middle East. However, following the analysis ofAmericanCold War-era spy satellite photographs of the region, the number is now about 15,000, National Geographic reports, according to the Israeli news source Haaretz.The largest sites were found in Turkey and Syria and include ruined walls and citadels, and likely cities from the Bronze Age, which in the Middle East spanned 3,300-1,200 B.C.
Read complete article at --

Visit the newly launched website of the Corona Atlas of the Middle East at --,773476,12394936,8121215

Why the Supreme Court’s Conservative and Liberal Judges Are All Greek to Me

The following is a very interesting article written by an atheist.
“In the recent U.S. Supreme Court case Greece v. Galloway, the five conservative justices ruled that sectarian content is permissible in public invocations and official prayer, while the four liberal dissenting justices felt that religious leaders should give nonsectarian prayers at government functions. I disagree with all nine justices. Their opinions reminded me of the quip from former Justice Potter Stewart that while he couldn’t define pornography, “I know it when I see it.”
I can neither define nor have I seen a nonsectarian prayer, but I know a sectarian prayer when I see it. Justice Anthony Kennedy, arguing for the majority in theGreece v. Gallowaycase, said that the government should not “act as supervisors and censors of religious speech,” yet went on to describe when they should. Kennedy added that clerics should not “denigrate nonbelievers or religious minorities, threaten damnation, or preach conversion.”

Israeli archaeologist says he has found King David's citadel

JERUSALEM — An Israeli archaeologist says he has found the legendary citadel captured by King David in his conquest of Jerusalem, rekindling a longstanding debate about using the Bible as a field guide to identifying ancient ruins.
The claim by Eli Shukron, like many such claims in the field of biblical archaeology, has run into criticism. It joins a string of announcements by Israeli archaeologists saying they have unearthed palaces of the legendary biblical king, who is revered in Jewish religious tradition for establishing Jerusalem as its central holy city — but who has long eluded historians looking for clear-cut evidence of his existence and reign.
The present-day Israeli-Palestinian conflict is also wrapped up in the subject. The $10 million excavation, made accessible to tourists last month, took place in an Arab neighborhood of Jerusalem and was financed by an organization that settles Jews in guarded homes in Arab areas of east Jerusalem in an attempt to prevent the city from …