Social Media and Religion

I read yesterday’s article in the NY Times about how people are interacting with religion through social networking sites like Facebook and was amazed at the success of the Jesus Daily Facebook page. It is one of the most popular Facebook pages with over 8.5 million fans. I figured there should be a similar Facebook page that offers users a daily dose of Torah wisdom so I created the Torah Daily Facebook page this morning. The page quickly amassed 100 followers and will continue to grow. The Torah Daily Facebook page will offer daily inspiration from Jewish texts provided by anyone with some wisdom to share.

Here is the blog post I published on The NY Jewish Week’s Jewish Techs blog after reading yesterday’s NY Times article on social media and religion:

With about a billion users between Facebook and Twitter alone, more topics than just Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga are being discussed on social media networks today. Religion is certainly one of them.

An article by Jennifer Preston in yesterday’s NY Times (“Jesus Daily on Facebook Nurtures Highly Active Fans”) reports that “while it’s too early to say that social media have transformed the way people practice religion, the number of people discussing faith on Facebook has significantly increased in the last year, according to company officials. Over all, 31 percent of Facebook users in the United States list a religion in their profile, and 24 percent of users outside the United States do, Facebook says. More than 43 million people on Facebook are fans of at least one page categorized as religious.”

The article was prompted by the wild success of the Jesus Daily Facebook page, which was launched by a diet doctor from North Carolina who posts a few motivational quotes from Jesus each day. The Facebook page, created by Dr. Aaron Tabor, has close to 8.5 million fans and, according to AllFacebook.com, in the past three months has had more daily interaction (likes and comments) than the official Justin Bieber page with 3.4 million interactions last week alone.

There are now over 750 million people on Facebook so it shouldn’t be surprising that users are interacting with pages to find an online spiritual community. If you’re already navigating around the Facebook site on a computer, tablet or mobile phone it’s much easier to read a spiritual teaching in your news feed than to actually attend a synagogue or church service.

Rabbi Laura Baum, a social media maven who is part of OurJewishCommunity.org was quoted in the article explaining how social media has changed our lives. She said, “There are those people who prefer to check out our tweets on their phone or listen to our podcast. I don’t think the use of technology needs to be for everybody. But we have found a community online. Many of them have never felt a connection to Judaism before.”

An increasing number of synagogues have found that it is much easier to connect to the membership through a Facebook page than through a traditional website. Like a website, the Facebook page is an efficient way of disseminating information for a congregation, but it adds the social interaction features that promote community and have made Facebook the killer app of social media. Linda Jacobson, the president of start-up congregation B’nai Israel Synagogue in Michigan has used Facebook to connect with members and reach potential members. “Our website is great for publicizing calendar events, displaying photos and telling visitors about our congregation. But Facebook goes well beyond that,” Jacobson explained. “It allows our followers to interact with that information and with each other. There’s an entire ‘backchannel’ that brings people together virtually to share photos from our congregational programming, comment on lifecycle events, create sub-communities based on interest categories and coordinate meals when there’s a death in the congregation.”

Jacobson seems to have put social media to good use because she’s seen her congregation’s membership rolls steadily increase over the past year. Rev. Kenneth Lillard, author of “Social Media and Ministry: Sharing the Gospel in the Digital Age,” was also quoted in the NY Times article and he concurs that social media tools like YouTube, Twitter and Google Plus in addition to Facebook represent “the best chance for religious leaders to expand their congregations since the printing press helped Martin Luther usher in the Protestant Reformation.”

Beyond official synagogue Facebook pages, there are many ways in which users are looking to Facebook for spiritual insight and education. Some popular Facebook pages have been created by rabbis in an effort to share motivational teachings from the Torah. Rabbi David Wolpe, the popular author and spiritual leader of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, has a Facebook page that boasts over 19,000 fans. Wolpe utilizes Facebook to offer short sound bites that both motivate and challenge his readers. He makes a point of trying to respond to all questions on the page as well, which is not an easy task for a busy pulpit rabbi and a highly sought-after speaker like Wolpe. One follower asked if the rabbi had any marriage advice to which Wolpe responded simply “Shared values; forgiveness; deep attraction; resilience; luck; faith.”

One thing that social networking sites like Facebook have demonstrated is that one need not be an official religious leader, like a priest or rabbi, to dispense wisdom to help guide people in their daily lives. Many individuals and businesses offer a daily prayer or spiritual teaching to inspire their followers on their Facebook pages. Some Facebook users may post an inspirational teaching as a status update. There are businesses that post weekly motivational quotes on their Facebook page as a way to engage their following.

As social media increasingly become part of our daily lives, people will find new ways to interact with religion and spirituality. For some, it may be interacting with like-minded people on a synagogue Facebook page. For others it may be learning a different Talmud text each day through a Twitter feed. In the Digital Age, a minority of virtual religionists will emerge. These will be individuals who do not affiliate with a bricks and mortar religious institution like a synagogue, but are nevertheless engaged in many aspects of a faith community through social networking. Increasingly, people will say they are religious or spiritual or inspired by religious texts, but only because they have chosen to plug in and engage with social media.

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | http://blog.rabbijason.com | Twitter: @RabbiJason | facebook.com/rabbijasonmiller

Rabbi As Pitchman?

Advertising is all around us. It’s become impossible to find an event or location that doesn’t have corporate sponsorship attached to it. Product placement has become the norm in movies and TV shows. And it seems like everyone has an endorsement deal these days.

On Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” host Stephen Colbert begged Apple for an iPad 2 and then become a shill for the company. He also branded his presidential run “Hail to the Cheese: Stephen Colbert Nacho Cheese Doritos 2008 Presidential Campaign Coverage.” After winning a Peabody Award, he thanked Doritos for its support.

NASCAR drivers (and their cars) and pro golfers look like walking billboards. Celebs are seen carrying their Starbucks cup with the label facing the eager paparazzi for free publicity. What’s next, tattoo advertising for NBA basketball players? Yes, in fact a candy company once approached the agent for the Portland Trailblazer’s Rasheed Wallace to inquire about buying space on his flesh. Apparently there was still some open real estate for a billboard on his already heavily tattooed body.

Earlier this year, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock lampooned the burgeoning business of product placement. Spurlock even sold the naming rights to his movie: “Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.” Everything is for sale. You can go to a sporting event in an arena named for a corporation, receive a giveaway sponsored by another corporation and then watch the halftime show generously underwritten by yet another corporation.

It seems like everyone’s a pitchman today. Anyone can hawk a product or drop the name of a corporation for financial gain. But what about clergy? Can religious leaders sell out too? Er, I mean can rabbis and priests get in on this deal? For instance, can rabbis mention a few products in a sermon and get paid for it? Can I insist that the wine used at the wedding ceremony be a specific brand and then make certain the photographer catches me pouring from that bottle? What if rabbis started wearing Nike lapel pins on suits? Or if rabbis let the congregation know that the flowers decorating the pulpit are from 1-800-FLOWERS and were delivered by Fed/Ex. Perhaps before services begin, the rabbi could remind the congregation to please silence their Apple iPhones on the Verizon network. Perhaps a rabbi could even sell space on his blog to a mortgage company?

What got me thinking about these endorsement deals for religious leaders was when I viewed the viral video of Pastor Joe Nelms of Family Baptist Church delivering the invocation at a NASCAR race last week in Tennessee. The pastor wanted to give a prayer that would be remembered so he borrowed from Will Ferrell’s memorable grace before the meal in the movie “Talladega Nights.” In the movie, Will Ferrell gave thanks to the various fast food companies that had provided food for his family’s dinner and then, according to his endorsement deal, he mentioned Powerade.

What people will remember most about Pastor Joe’s prayer are the humorous lines in which he thanked the Almighty for his “smokin’ hot wife and two kids” and then borrowed NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip’s trademark phrase in the closing of his benediction: “In Jesus’ name. Boogity, boogity, boogity. Amen.” However, the Baptist pastor also managed to mention several sponsors of the NASCAR race that night including Dodge, Toyota, and Ford, as well as Sunoco Racing Fuel and Goodyear tires. Pastor Nelms claims he wasn’t compensated for mentioning those companies, but it does raise the question of whether religious leaders are missing a lucrative opportunity.

I’m not the first to think of clergy as pitchmen either. After the death of famous pitchman Billy Mays, there were rumors that Orange Glo International, makers of OxiClean, was interested in hiring Pastor Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church as the new commercial pitchman for their well-known laundry stain remover.

Maybe these clergy endorsement deals are already taking place. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, writing in the Huffington Post today about his eldest daughter’s upcoming wedding, managed to drop the name of both the caterer and country club where his daughter’s wedding will take place. Was there a behind-the-scenes deal in which promises of a mention on HuffPo would translate into discounted fees for the wedding reception hall and catering? Who knows. He just might be on to something.

Maybe, next time at the end of services when a rabbi announces where the next congregational book club meeting will take place, he’ll consider appending his announcement like this:

“Please join us on Sunday afternoon for our monthly book club discussion. We will discuss a new book published by HarperCollins, which is available for purchase on Amazon.com. We’ll enjoy Snyders of Hanover pretzels and drink icy cold soft drinks from the Coca Cola Company. The book club will take place at the Feldmans’ new home, which they recently purchased with a shockingly low rate mortgage from Quicken Loans.”

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | http://blog.rabbijason.com | Twitter: @RabbiJason | facebook.com/rabbijasonmiller

Why Atheists Love Religion Websites

I published my first blog post on the Huffington Post website back in October. What immediately amazed me was the large number of comments posted about my piece. In the first couple of days there were close to 500 responses to what I had written. And then I began to skim these “talkbacks” to find that the vast majority were written by individuals who were angry about any form of organized religion and believed that God was as make-believe as Mickey Mouse. I was surprised to see so many self-affirmed atheists not only lurking on the religion section of the Huffington Post, but also being its most vocal contributors. It should be noted that my blog post had little to do with God and was devoted to post-denominationalism in Judaism. Most of the comments were from lapsed Christians who now felt religion was a joke and seemed angry that it was still in existence (in any form).

I planned to write about this phenomenon, but never got around to it. So, I was glad when my colleague Rabbi David Wolpe, of Los Angeles, posted his feelings about it on the Huffington Post yesterday (“Why Are Atheists So Angry?”). In a much more eloquent way than I could, Rabbi Wolpe put into words his take on why there are so many atheists participating in the online conversation on websites devoted to religion — and why their comments are so tinged with angst. When I first read his post yesterday there were no comments, however, when I checked back today there are now close to 900 responses — certainly with a good number of them from the atheist community.

Rabbi Wolpe writes:

How harmless is it to post an article about why people should read the bible on a site devoted to religion? I did on this very page, and it evoked more than 2,000 responses, most of them angry. I had previously written a similarly gentle article about how God should be taught to children that evoked more than 1,000 responses, almost all negative and many downright nasty.

It is curious that a religion site draws responses mostly from atheists, and that the atheists are very unhappy. They are unhappy with the bible (“foolish fairy tales” is one of the more generous descriptions), unhappy with the idea of God (the “imaginary dictator” whose task in human history, apparently, is to ensure that oppression and evil triumph) and very unhappy with anyone (read: me) who presumes to offer religious advice to the religious. Only the untutored assume that religious people predominate on websites (Huffington Post Religion page, On Faith in the Washington Post, Beliefnet.com) devoted to religion.

In the past when I have debated noted atheists — Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and others — the audience was heavily weighted toward my opponents. That makes sense. Each of these men — like Dawkins, Dennett and others — brings with them a large following. But why seek out a religious site solely to insult religion?

To summarize, Rabbi Wolpe offers four four reasons why he believes atheists are so angry. First, Atheists genuinely resent the evil that religion has caused in the world. Second, they are convinced that religion is a fairy tale that impedes science/progress/rational thought. Third, “there is an arrogant unwillingness to engage with religion’s serious thinkers.” And, finally, he argues that “there is sometimes in the atheist a want of wonder. In a world in which so much is still not understood, in which multiple universes are possible, in which we have not pierced the mystery of consciousness, to discount the supernatural is to lack the openness to mystery that should be a human hallmark. There is so much we do not know. Religious people too should acknowledge this truth.”

Perhaps websites like the Huffington Post and Beliefnet should offer a section devoted solely to atheism so that the atheists would no longer dominate the airwaves in the religion section with with their angst. Or perhaps, these individuals will continue to weigh in on the discussions surrounding religion, but will do so in a more civil manner that will actually move the conversation forward in a productive way. I know deep down that these individuals are still seeking. They are still interested in the conversation and have their fleeting moments of belief; otherwise I don’t think they’d spend the time engaged in the debate.

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | http://blog.rabbijason.com | Twitter: @RabbiJason | facebook.com/rabbijasonmiller

Newsweek Magazine Affirms Female Orthodox Rabbi

Newsweek Magazine released its annual list of the 50 most influential rabbis in America.

Now in its fourth year, Sony Pictures chairman and CEO Michael Lynton and Gary Ginsberg, an executive vice president of Time Warner Inc., list who they think are the 50 most influential rabbis in the U.S.

While the yearly ranking is merely based on the opinions of two Hollywood moguls and some unscientific criteria, it generates a lot of buzz. There’s also a certain amount of ego that becomes manifest among rabbis when the list is released each year, in addition to debate regarding who was ranked too high and who was missing from the list altogether. My teacher Irwin Kula, who ascended from #10 in 2009 to an impressive #7 this year, tweeted a link to the Newsweek list with the question “How can I not share this!”

What is most interesting in this year’s list is which rabbi was ranked as the 36th most influential rabbi in the U.S. She is new to the rabbinate and new to the Newsweek ranking. Her name is Sara Hurwitz and a lot of controversy surrounds her. Rabbi Avi Weiss (#18) ordained her as a rabbi a couple years ago giving her an acronym for a title and then changing it to “rabba,” a title that irked many in the Orthodox world. Earlier this year, under much pressure from the Right, he backed down and decided to not go through with creating women rabbis.

However, it would appear that Lynton and Ginsberg side with Avi Weiss on this one. And so Rabba Sara Hurwitz becomes one of the most influential rabbis in the country according to Newsweek Magazine, while among the people she is supposed to serve she is not even considered a rabbi.

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | http://blog.rabbijason.com | Twitter: @RabbiJason | facebook.com/rabbijasonmiller

My Rabbi Saved My Life

This past March, around the same time I began to blog for The New York Jewish Week, a banner ad on the Jewish paper’s website caught my attention.

The ad featured a head-shot of a man and the text “My Rabbi Saved My Life.” First, I thought “what a great ad since it grabs your attention and makes you want to click through to see what it’s all about.”

Clicking on the link took me to a website for The New York State Diabetes Campaign. There, I learned that this was part of a Faith Fights Diabetes campaign aimed at religious leaders and encouraging them to speak with their congregations about diabetes and general health. On the Faith Fights Diabetes campaign website, there are seven religious leaders including a guru, rabbi, priest, minister, pastor, and two imams (one male and one female).

My father was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when I was two-years-old, so this is certainly a cause that I am directly connected to and one that has my full support. But I also wondered whether it is the role of clergy to get involved in the medical lives of those in our congregations.

This subject truly resonated with me recently when the spouse of one of my congregants asked me to intervene in his wife’s eating habits. He felt that she, a diabetic, was eating poorly and putting herself at a great health risk. I thought of the Faith Fights Diabetes campaign and how rabbis (and other faith leaders) really could play a positive role in the health lives of our congregants. When I served an internship at a large synagogue in New Jersey, we had two congregational nurses on staff who served important roles for synagogue members. There, the rabbi might refer a congregant to one of the nurses, but I really don’t see a reason why the rabbi himself cannot speak openly about the importance of eating right, exercising and getting regular medical exams.

The campaign encourages clergy to learn how to fight the diabetes epidemic in congregations. It recommends that a poster about diabetes is hung in public areas of the church, temple, mosque, or faith-based organization. Some practical tips for clergy include serving healthier food at congregational events and discussing diabetes in a sermon (sample sermons are on the website).

As spiritual leaders, we have great influence on our congregants. Why shouldn’t we use our pulpit to promote healthy living and ensure that the people we care about are informed about Diabetes?

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | http://blog.rabbijason.com | Twitter: @RabbiJason | facebook.com/rabbijasonmiller

Rahm Emanuel’s Son’s Bar Mitzvah & Religious Pluralism in Israel

As I was preparing to board a plane home at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport a few weeks ago, I followed the news reports that Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s son’s bar mitzvah would be moved outside of Jerusalem for security concerns. Rahm Emanuel and his Hollywood agent brother, Ari Emanuel, brought their families to Israel on vacation and for their respective son’s Jewish rite of passage. Apparently, protesters were heckling the Emanuel family’s delegation as they toured Jerusalem’s Old City because of the Obama Administration’s purported views on Middle East affairs.

Ultimately, Zach Emanuel’s bar mitzvah went ahead as planned at Robinson’s Arch, the archaeological site along the remaining Southern Wall of the Temple at which Conservative and Reform rabbis are allowed to officiate at bar and bat mitzvahs. The two cousins had their b’nai mitzvah on a Sunday, perhaps to confuse paparazzi, and it was officiated by each family’s rabbi –Rabbi Jack Moline, of Rahm Emanuel’s synagogue (Congregation Agudas Achim in Alexandria, Virginia) and Rabbi Kenneth Chasen, of the Reform Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles where Ari Emanuel’s family belongs.

Having recently spent the early dawn hours of Shavuot at Robinson’s Arch, known as the “Masorti Kotel” since the Masorti/Conservative Jews can pray there freely, I was thrilled to read the op-ed in the Jerusalem Post by Masorti Movement CEO Yizhar Hess about the Emanuel boys’ b’nai mitzvah and the lack of religious pluralism in Israel, especially at the Western Wall (Kotel).

Hess took the opportunity of this newsworthy double bar mitzvah to focus on the Ultra-Orthodox control of the Western Wall, including the plaza. He writes:

The [Emanuel] family stood together, prayed together. There was no mehitza [separation between the sexes]. Some women donned a tallit [prayer shawl]. There was an abundance of Judaism, an abundance of Zionism and an abundance of love.

It is sad that one cannot pray in the same way at the main Western Wall Plaza. For a decade now, the Masorti Movement has been facilitating prayers at the Masorti Kotel. This is a forced arrangement. The majority of the world’s Jews pray without a mehitza, but when they come to Jerusalem, to the most symbolic site for Jewish prayer, they are forbidden from praying together. The Kotel, whose holiness has enthused Jews from all over the world, has been transformed into a haredi synagogue.

The Masorti Movement has never relinquished its right to pray at the Kotel, but has agreed, in compromise and with great pain, to hold its prayers at the [Davidson] archeological park.

With all of Israel’s international struggles right now, one would hope that it would strive to solve this matter of domestic disharmony. Here’s hoping that when Rahm Emanuel returns to Jerusalem for his daughter’s bat mitzvah, the family will be allowed to mark this rite of passage at any part of the Kotel they choose — and be free from protesters and paparazzi.

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | http://blog.rabbijason.com | Twitter: @RabbiJason | facebook.com/rabbijasonmiller

Shofar So Good

Another “Day of Atonement” has come and gone. While Rosh Hashanah is the official beginning of the new Jewish year, it always seems that it is not until the conclusion of Yom Kippur that the new year really commences. So, I say “Bring it on 5770!” you can’t be any worse than the past year that brought us the Madoff scandal, Swine Flu, and the death of so many celebrities including Michael Jackson, Ed McMahon, Patrick Swayze, Teddy Kennedy, Walter Cronkite, William Safire, Farrah Fawcett, Paul Harvey, John Updike, etc. etc.

While, traditionally, there are 100 shofar blasts blown on Rosh Hashanah, the call of the shofar to end Yom Kippur always seems to make headlines. There certainly is the pomp and circumstance that surrounds the powerful “Tekiyah G’dolah” signaling the end of the fast day.

When the Detroit Free Press informed me they would like to take my photo to accompany an article in which I was interviewed, they of course requested that I blow shofar for the photo. I forgot to bring one of mine and I couldn’t locate a shofar at my synagogue since all of our shofar blowers bring their own (“B.Y.O.S.” I suppose). So, I told the Freep’s photographer to give me a few minutes and I headed over to the Jewish Community Center where I borrowed a brand new shofar from the Judaica display.
(The Photo by Patricia Beck of the Detroit Free Press is above.)

Much more interesting than the photo of me blowing shofar is NPR’s profile of Dizzy Gillespie’s goddaughter, Jennie Litvack (at left), who blows shofar at Congregation Adas Israel, a Conservative synagogue in Washington, D.C.

The shofar player had a close relationship with the great jazz trumpet player Dizzy Gillespie, who called her his goddaughter. As for her relationship with Gillespie, Litvack says she got to know him when she was 12 years old.

“We developed a very special relationship.” Litvack says playing the shofar is something Gillespie would do, but she never saw him or heard him do it. “He was a Baha’i,” she says. “We used to have great conversations about Judaism and Baha’ism and the oneness of mankind. But I do say when I play, I also feel Diz, I feel his connection with me, and that feels really special.”

In the Free Press article, I was asked what the themes of my Yom Kippur sermons would be about. The reporter, Niraj Warikoo, seemed interested in the sermon I delivered on Yom Kippur morning about how we communicate with each other and ask forgiveness in the Digital Age. Using social media websites like Facebook and Twitter to communicate with the many people in our lives is fine to do, I explained, but when it comes time for performing teshuvah (asking forgiveness from our friends for our shortcomings) a personal connection is the ideal.

Right before Kol Nidrei services (the beginning of the Yom Kippur holiday) on Sunday, I noticed the following status update from one of my Facebook connections, Rob Kutner (former writer for the “Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and current writer for the “Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien”):

Rob Kutner asks forgiveness of anyone he may have wronged unintentionally this past year, and wishes Jews an easy fast, and everyone else an easy Monday. Sun at 6:55pm

Seems like the “easy way out” rather than picking up the phone or sending a personalized, carefully-worded email message to the individuals he wronged unintentionally. (I actually wonder if he wants forgiveness from those that he wronged intentionally.)

With the recent attraction of the six-word memoir and status updating “tweets” limited to 140 characters, we are downsizing our communication. While I’m a fan of these social networking sites, I certainly hope we’ll take the time to actually talk to those closest to us… especially when it’s forgiveness we’re looking for.

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | http://blog.rabbijason.com | Twitter: @RabbiJason | facebook.com/rabbijasonmiller

Economy & Faith

Many people are looking to religion and spirituality during this time of economic uncertainty (a euphemism for recession). The title of a recent article on the Time Magazine website asks: “Is it Okay to Pray for Your 401(k)?”

My friend and mentor Rabbi Danny Nevins (dean of the rabbinical school at the Jewish Theological Seminary) is quoted in the article.

“Daniel Nevins also recognizes the legitimacy of the ‘help me’ prayer, noting that the third of four prayers that religious Jews are expected to recite after meals asks God to ‘grant us relief from all our troubles. May we never find ourselves in need of gifts or loans from flesh and blood, but may we rely only upon your helping hand, which is open, ample and generous.’ “

Christian and Muslim religious leaders are quoted in the article as well.

Rabbi Nevins continues, “When I ask God for help, I’m not asking for an extra miracle, for a great hand to drop a wad of cash on my mortgage.” Such supernatural interventions may occur, he says, “but I just don’t know how to prove that.”

Rabbi Allan Lehmann (left), a colleague of mine who is the associate dean at the Hebrew College Rabbinical School, wrote a Hosha Na prayer for the economy. Since Monday is the Hoshana Rabba holiday and we could certainly use some saving during our country’s financial crisis, I include the prayer below with Rabbi Lehmann’s permission.

Hosha-na!– save our:

Accounts from Arrearages
Balances from Bear Markets
Credits from Crunches
Dividends from Downturns
Earnings from Erosions
Farms from Foreclosures
Grants from Going away
Homesteads from Hammering
Investments form Insolvency
Jobs from Jinxes
Keogh plans from Kicking the bucket
Loans from Losses
Markets from Madness
Net worth from Negativity
Options from Overheating
Pensions from Penury
Quantities from Quandaries
Retirement from Rollbacks
Scholarships from Screwups
Treasury form Trouble
Usufruct from Uncollectibility
Venture capital from Volatility
Wall Street from Welfare
X-dividends from Extirpation
Yields from Yukkiness
Zedaka from Zero sum games

Hosha-Na…Ani Vaho Hoshi’a-na!

UPDATE: I neglected to include another interesting article on this topic. Time Magazine also published an article entitled “The Financial Crisis: What Would the Talmud Do?” In this article, my Talmud instructor from The Jewish Theological Seminary, Rabbi Eliezer Diamond, raises a good point concerning the ethics of making money: “What any religious tradition calls on us to ask is, ‘how can I make money and simultaneously be a responsible member of the society in which I live, protecting the interests of both the buyer and seller?”

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | http://blog.rabbijason.com | Twitter: @RabbiJason | facebook.com/rabbijasonmiller