Review of Who Stole My Religion?

December 13, 2016

By Dov Peretz Elkins

WhoStoleMyReligion9789655242348 “Who Stole My Religion?” is a thought-provoking and timely call to apply Judaism’s powerful teachings to help shift our imperiled planet onto a sustainable path. While appreciating the radical, transformative nature of Judaism, Richard Schwartz argues that it has been “stolen” by Jews who are in denial about climate change and other environmental threats and support politicians and policies that may be inconsistent with basic Jewish values. Tackling such diverse issues as climate change, world hunger, vegetarianism, poverty, terrorism, destruction of the environment, peace prospects in Israel, and American foreign policy, he offers practical suggestions for getting Judaism back on track as a faith based on justice, peace, and compassion. He urges the reader to reconsider current issues in line with Judaism’s highest values in an effort to meet the pressing challenges of today’s world.

Right now the new Trump administration is on the cusp of deciding whether climate change is real, and human-created, or not. The President-elect should read this book, and he will be convinced beyond doubt that there is so much more that we humans and governments must do to save our planet.

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Amsterdam Spinoza Symposium: It Is Time to Lift the Ban

January 3, 2016

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by Nathan Lopes Cardozo

On Sunday, the 6th of December, a symposium on Spinoza was held under the auspices of the University of Amsterdam and the Crescas Jewish Educational Center, initiated by Ms. Ronit Palache and Michel Waterman, and chaired by Professor Irene Zwiep. The symposium, at De Rode Hoed Cultural Center, featured international scholars who discussed the specific question of whether the ban on Baruch Spinoza should be lifted. Over 500 participants attended, including Dutch Government officials, academicians and leaders of the Jewish Community.

Spinoza, the celebrated seventeenth-century Amsterdam Jewish philosopher, is known as the father of the Enlightenment and has influenced generations of philosophers to this day. At the age of 23 he was excommunicated by the Portuguese-Spanish Jewish community of Amsterdam because of his heresies, which included his denying the existence of the Biblical God as well as the divinity of the Torah. The ban was by far the harshest ever to be imposed on a fellow Jew by a Jewish Community. Spinoza left Amsterdam and settled in Rijnsburg, then Voorburg, and later in The Hague where he wrote his two most famous works, the Ethics and the Tractatus Theologico Politicus. Read the rest of this entry »