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Showing posts from November, 2015

Women are especially prone to sexual misbehavior while sex is less a compulsion for men and more a religious duty.

The rabbis characterize women as creatures that are especially prone to sexual misbehavior and men as creatures for whom sex is less a compulsion than a religious duty to be performed out of obligation. This is a conclusion that came from an article that addresses the following question – Should women study Torah? Read the complete article at --

8 things you probably did not know about Pompeii

Roman historian and archaeologist Dr. Joanne Berry shares eight lesser-known Pompeii facts.

1) Pompeii is not frozen in time, nor is it a perfect time-capsule. The eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79 caused vast damage – fires were started, rooftops were swept away, columns collapsed. Most of the inhabitants of the town escaped into the surrounding countryside (although we have no idea how many of those died there). They took with them small valuables, like coins and jewellery, and lamps. Organic materials, like sheets, blankets, clothes, curtains, were mostly destroyed. In the years and centuries after the eruption, salvagers explored Pompeii, tunnelling through walls and removing valuable objects. The earliest formal excavations in the 18thcentury were little more than treasure-hunting exercises, which means that records of finds are poor or non-existent. There is also evidence that some finds, such as wall-paintings and pottery, were deliberately destroyed by the excavators because they w…

60-Second Guide to Heresy

Thousands were burned at the stake for heresy in the 11th and 12th centuries. But what were their crimes, and how did these individuals – often known as Cathars – fall victim to this terrible punishment? Heresy was an opinion about the teaching of the Catholic church, which was condemned by the church as inconsistent with it. From the early 11th century, many people accused of heresy were burned at the stake as a result. In 1022, people who were considered heretics were burned for the first time since antiquity. Read the complete article at --

Thanksgiving is Everyday

Afterwards, at the reception, the discussion at the table focused on "catching up" with a number of people from my former congregation, whom I had not seen in years. People told me I looked good and that I seemed much happier. Yes, for me, learning to be happier is a work in process. One person wanted to know just how I managed that! Read Rabbi Leynor’s complete blog at --


I recently started working with a new student towards a Bar Mitzvah ceremony and experience suitable to his needs. I was sitting there with his parents discussing which service we would use and the requirements. I was teaching about what the concept of being a Bar Mitzvah means and his father suddenly said with a gleam in his eye, "I just had a wonderful idea! I was never offered the chance to become Bar Mitzvah. I would love the opportunity to study with my son and share this experience!" Read Rabbi Leynor’s complete blog at --

Iraqi Museum Discovers Missing Lines From the Epic of Gilgamesh

After a century-and-a-half, a new chapter of the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the world's oldest written stories has been discovered. The Sulaymaniyah Museum in Iraq has discovered 20 new lines to the ancient Babylonian poem. Read the complete article at --

Who Was the Most Destructive Jewish "Messiah"? It Wasn't Jesus

Ask Jewish people why they reject Jesus, and most will say it's because he falselydeclared himself to be the Messiah. In maintaining this stance they are following the view of twelfth-century Jewish philosopher and scholar Rabbi Moses Maimonides (known as Rambam) that the true Messiah must deliver the fruits of the Messianic prophesy before he dies. Nevertheless, whether or not Jesus declared himself Messiah, or his followers believed he was the Messiah, shouldn't he be recognized and respected as a dedicated Jew--a fact lavishly illustrated throughout the Gospels of the New Testament? Given the history of Jewish "Messiahs," who today are considered false but still are not rejected as Jews--indeed, some are still honored and revered--how can Jews' shunning of Jesus be justified?  Read the complete article at --

A Psychologist Replays the Trials of Jesus and Paul, and Uncovers Surprising Revelations About Judaism

Jesus and Paul were executed for the primary charge of blasphemy against Judaism, even though some biblical scholars claim that the charges were bogus — not blasphemous by Jewish law and tradition. In both instances, the charges were made by the Sanhedrin, the ruling body of Judaism. The Roman authorities referred both cases to the Jewish authorities because “the charges were Jewish matters.” If Jesus didn’t launch Christianity, if Paul didn’t, who did? More puzzling, how did Christianity get away from Judaism? Interesting questions that beg for fresh thinking. Questions that psychologists, sociologists and historians may be more suited to investigate than theologians or biblical scholars, who are mired in traditional frames of reference. Read the complete article at --

TOV and Our Democracy

One of the things I tell my premarital couples is that, though marriages may be Made in Heaven (or Hell), the Maintenance is Done here on Earth! Every day!!! All relationships need to be maintained in some way. It is our responsibility to nurture and nourish relationships, as well as fix and mend them. It is the same with our Democracy and our way of life. "WE THE PEOPLE" is not a spectator sport! Read Rabbi Leynor’s latest blog at --

LIFE and TOV have Good Numbers & an Invitation for You

In the Hebrew alphabet, each letter has a numeral equivalent. For instance, the letter Aleph, which begins the alphabet equals 1, next letter Bet equals 2 and so on. There are a number of people who believe that the sum total of words or sentences have some hidden spiritual meaning or code. Read Rabbi Leynor’s complete blog at --

Great Example and Lesson About TOV

The following story was shared on Facebook. It is a great example and lesson about TOV.
In Crown Heights, there was a Jew, Yankel, who owned a bakery. He survived the camps. He once said, “You know why it is that I’m alive today? I was a kid, justa teenager at the time. We were on the train, in a boxcar, being taken to Auschwitz. Night came and it was freezing, deathly cold, in that boxcar. The Germans would leave the cars on the side of the tracks overnight, sometimes for days on end without any food, and of course, no blankets to keep us warm,” he said.
“Sitting next to me was an older Jew – this beloved elderly Jew - from my hometown I recognized, but I had never seen him like this. He was shivering from head to toe, and looked terrible. So I wrapped my arms around him and began rubbing him, to warm him up. I rubbed his arms, his legs, his face, his neck. I begged him to hang on. All night long; I kept the man warm this way. I was tired, I was freezing cold myself, my fingers were …

Supreme Court Will Hear Religious Nonprofits’ Contraceptive Mandate Challenge

The future of a controversial provision intended to help ensure individuals have access to various methods of birth control will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court by the end of June. The high court today granted review of all seven cases pending before it regarding challenges brought by religious nonprofits to regulations implementing the Affordable Care Act’s essential coverage provisions. Read announcement at --

Sumerian -- The Cuneiform Script

The Sumerian language was spoken in southern Mesopotamia during the 3rd millennium BCE. It is an isolate language meaning we know of no other languages that relate to it ancestrally. Sumerian is written in the cuneiform script. In fact, it is the first language we know to be written using cuneiform and most likely cuneiform was developed for use by this language. The Sumerian language enjoyed a resurrection during the Old Babylonian period as a literary and liturgical language. The scribes in this period considered the language as essential for maintaining the traditions of a very old period, and wanted to recapture an archaic time of magic and legend. After this period ending c. 1595 BCE, the scribal usage of Sumerian decreased significantly.  See pictures and read article at --

Pew Study Finds More Americans reject religion, but believers firm in faith

“We should remember that the United States remains a nation of believers,” said Gregory A. Smith, Pew’s associate director of research, “with nearly 9 in 10 adults saying they believe in God.” That said, overall, belief in God has ticked down by about 3 percentage points in recent years, driven mainly by growth in the share of“nones” who say they don’t believe in God. But even among Christians — 98 percent of whom say they believe in God — fewer believe with absolute certainty: 80 percent in 2007 compared to 76 percent in 2014. And now 77 percent of adults surveyed describe themselves as religiously affiliated, a decline from the 83 percent who did so in Pew’s 2007 landscape study. Americans as a whole are growing less religious, but those who stillconsider themselves to belong to a religionare, on average, just as committed to their faiths as they were in the past — in certain respects even more so. Read the complete study at --…