About

I began this blog in October 2006 mostly to encourage conversation about the issues that tend to keep me up nights.  Blogging doesn’t cure insomnia, but it certainly beats tossing and turning.

A  few things:

- The opinions I express in Shalom Rav are mine and mine alone.

- I have another blog called “Yedid Nefesh.” You should read that too.

- Like all bloggers, I love to get comments.  Please join the conversation.

- Please try to keep your comments respectful. I welcome criticism, but I won’t let through any comments that I find offensive or inappropriate.

- I enjoy long comment threads, but I’ll end a conversation if it feels like it’s turning into a spitting match.

- Please check in frequently – or better yet, subscribe via email using the button on the homepage.

- Thanks for visiting!


52 Comments on “About”

  1. Karen Kaplan says:

    Great Website!
    I could spend hours with all this info and the great links!
    I will be a regular visitor.
    Mazel Tov!
    Karen

  2. Hi Brant….what a joy this erev Shabbat to read your blog, to be in touch with JRC, the progress of our new home, all of this from faraway Delhi, India.

    I’ll be back in Evanston soon, after 22 successful days of introducing Women Founders Collective to women founders of NGO’s (nonprofits) here in India as well as Nepal. I even managed to attend, here in Delhi, the 50th anniversary celebration of the Delhi synagogue, Judah Hyam (a congregation of 10 families)….what timing!

    Shabbat shalom. Sallie Gratch

  3. Addendum to the above message: the website for Women Founders Collective, for any women founders out there who want to be connected to a global support network for women founders is: http://www.womenfounders.org

    Sallie Gratch

  4. Mike Okrent says:

    I found your weekly blog on the Parshat Yitro particularly engaging. You dared to say what runs counter to many within the Jewish community would want said, and put it in a Jewish context. All people matter, and all can suffer.
    Thanks and keep up the good/bold work

  5. Paul Scott says:

    Concerning “The Genocide Olympics” – My mother was born the day WW1 ended. My grandfather, an immigrant from Austria, named his daughter Peace. In 1936, my mother joined in a boycott of the Berlin Olympics as there was no way my grandfather was going to allow any glorification of the Nazi regime. . Some Jewish athletes participated, some boycotted, The Head of the U.S. Olympic Committee, not wanting to offend Hitler, excluded some Jewish athletes from taking part in their events. It is interesting to note that African-American athletes who were living in a racially oppressive America did not boycott in 1936.
    When America entered the Second World War, my mother volunteered and rose to the rank of Captain, serving with the famed 101st Airborne Division. She witnessed and treated holocaust survivors.
    Should we be glorifying the People’s Republic of China? It is not just Dafur but also Tibet and repression in Xinjiang province.
    Beijing will be a stage-managed spectacle. My own family’s history fills me with pride. They did the right thing. We should not forget.

  6. great site (where can I learn to do this?), insightful commentary, nice concert footage, perhaps we’ll see a category on(Jewish)foods in the future.

  7. yourjewishmother says:

    Hello,
    Kim from Hormone Colored Days sent me your way. I’ve started a new blog called YourJewishMother.wordpress.com. It’s a work-in-progess and plans include posting stories and anecdotes by Jewish mothers about being a Jewish mother. Submissions can be cultural, religious, serious, irreverent, humorous. I’m not looking for rants about politics or rambles about kids, but for well-crafted tales of all things Jewish and all things mother, combined.

    If you know anyone who might be interested, they can reach me at JewishMotherBlog@aol.com.

    Thank you!
    Amy
    Your Jewish Mother

  8. I’m fascinated by to points you commentary on the “Crossing”
    at the Sea of Reeds. How poingnant you should choose the
    word “fragile”. When a mother is given birth to her child
    both mother and child are in an oh so very fragile state.
    How much fragile still is our God when he is giving birth
    to a people of whom will dedicate their lives and future to.
    How fragile too the circumstance that Hashem should choose
    water to protect Bnei Yisrael when it was water which was
    used to destroy mankind in the day of Noah. So too in the
    day of crossing that the violence in Pharoahs’ heart and the
    hearts of his armed men was washed away like the rising
    waters in the day of Noah.

    Second, you stated that we all possess the hardened heart
    of Pharoah to a certain degree. I too agree but you would
    be surprised just how much of our modern daily lives are
    deeply entrenched in the phenomenon that is “Pharoah”.
    Wherever we have been, wherever we go, there is Egypt until
    as the prophet Amos declares “the day of decision”.

    Baruch HaShem,

    Russell K. Shenn
    Augusta, Maine

  9. richards1052 says:

    I can’t believe you’ve been blogging for nearly 2 years (I’ve been at it for 5) & I’ve not previously heard of you or yr blog. My reader Shamai Leibowitz brought you to my attention. I’m so proud of rabbis who blog about I-P peace. Thank you.

    I hope you gib a kook to my own blog, Tikun Olam sometime.

    I’ll add you to my blogroll & hope you get a few hits fr. it.

  10. Candace Tesler says:

    Hi Brant – I really enjoyed your footage and commentary about JRC’s “move-in” day, February 10,2008. Even though I wasn’t there, I could feel what it must have been like. I’m so proud to be a member of this congregation and look forward to many future experiences like that of last Sunday.

  11. naan says:

    sallie gratch
    you are great to be success to coordinate between me from nepal and Brant.
    really you both are great communicaters for me.
    naan sharma

  12. Jay Shefsky says:

    Me again. I don’t know if you saw an earlier story I did about Rabbi Funnye and Beth Shalom, but I thought you (and your congregants) might be interested.

  13. Liesl says:

    Thought you might like to se this…

    http://unlitcandle.org/

    Found it over on the Velveteen Rabbi’s site.

  14. Cat says:

    If you haven’t come across this yet you might care for it…

    http://abrahamsvision.org/

  15. Rabbi Brant Rosen,

    I wanted to thank you for the shout out for the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC). As you know IFYC is building a global movement of religious pluralism among young people, and we couldn’t do it without friends and allies like you.

    Our trainer Hind really enjoyed presenting to your community, and we look forward to working with you in the future.

    Thanks again!

    Katya
    Interfaith Youth Core
    http://www.ifyc.org

  16. dan fenster says:

    Rabbi –

    I am a journalism student here in Chicago reporting on the movement of refugees from Bhutan in to our metropolis. I’d like to get together some time and talk to you about this. And perhaps my lack of knowledge of the JRC.

    Look forward to hearing form you, I believe you have my email address now. If not, it is normangreens@gmail.com
    -Dan

  17. Hello, Rabbi —

    What a treasure I’ve stumbled upon! I found your incredible site while searching for the source of this quote:

    “Rosa sat so Martin could walk. Martin walked so Barack could run. Barack ran so our children could fly.”

    Still haven’t found it, but I started reading about your experience in Grant Park on Election Night with joy and slight envy (I’m a native Chicagoan living West now), and one thing lead to another. Your work with the JRC and your current trip to Iran are tremendous! Thank you for sharing your insights (and photos). I will visit often! Travel safely —

    Kate Tarasenko
    Colorado

  18. Allen Teboul says:

    Hi,

    I cannot bring myself to address you as Rabbi and I could sit here and spew hate, but that is not my intention. It is a sad day when Jewish people think they can re-write the Jewish religion that we have carried down with pride and passion since the 2nd Bet Hamigdash was destroyed.
    It is amazing that you expend efforts to such great lengths in hopes of brokering peace with our mortal enemy, Iran. I am so sorry that you fail to realize that there will never be peace with the nation of Amalek. Iran shows it’s true colors as the nation of Amalek, because it is a nation that seeks nothing more than the destruction of Israel and Judaism. Iran is also a nation urgently pursuing a nuclear arsenal to use on the state of Israel. Don’t you care about what happens to Israel? If you are a Rabbi, haven’t you ever read about how the end days will be and how Moshiach’s army will descend upon our enemies? Unfortunately sir, you are a mere mortal and cannot overturn the will of Hashem. May Hashem have mercy on you and awaken your spirit so that you will be better prepared for the days to come. May Hashem bless your followers and open their eyes to true Judaism. There WILL be war with Amalek and it is likely to get very ugly before it gets any better. Those of us Jewsh people that are not meek like our ancestors that were hauled off to concentration camps in nazi Germany will rally together to fight Amalek (Iran). An interesting fact…more and more American Jews are becoming militant (in secrecy) realizing that being meek makes you a sitting target. More and more Jews have been purchasing arms for their protection and learning how to use them. When the old generation dies off (soon to come), we will be what is left…The young oppresed and angry living in an arab sympathizing world. Now our own people like you and your very confused congregation are committing treason against your own people. Chas V’Shalom! NO matter though, we are the new breed of militant and in some cases spiteful Jews that will step up to our arab enemies throughout the globe…Ba’zrat Hashem! There is nothing that your small egalitarian or reconstructionist congregation can do to stop the ancient energy and spirit of Hashem’s people. May Hashem bless you and keep you all. Join the fight against Amalek. Cha’g Samaiach.

    • Aisley Johanssen says:

      Mr. Teboul:

      With all the respect that every human being deserves, I must say that I have never seen someone so full of hate and anger. Well actually I have, but the comparison would be too offensive for me to make. As someone that has no side on the situation between Israel and Palestine I have a question, so here it goes:

      Palestinians have been fighting the Israelis, and the Israelis have been fighting the Palestinians; for how long has this been going on? IT IS NOT WORKING for either side!!! It’s way past time to try something different. The people of Israel has as much right to live in Peace as the Palestinians have, so come on and work for it; don’t fight against it.

      On a more personal tone Mr. Teboul, “housing hate in your heart is like drinking poison and wait for the other person to die”. Whichever the religious believe of anyone, a heart that houses hate, will never have space to house Adonai.

  19. martin j. says:

    Amazing! You have the courage to stand up and say the right thing. Conscience of the world is what being Jew means, or that what I have learned from my Jewish friends. Thanks

    Regards,

    Martin

  20. louisproyect says:

    Thanks, Rabbi. You are the kind of Jew that Isaiah wanted us to be.

  21. Grant, thank you for reflecting the universal Prophets – the nevi’im, the shouters.

    You deserve inspiration for yourself.

    So Google “Jewish Palestinian Success” to see over 500 messages with several thousand successes stories of Palestinian-Jewish and some interfaith relationship building.

    Too, Google “Jewish Palestinian Progress” to see several hundred outreach successes of one, local Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue in California.

    Grant, thanks for much for living the life of the Shema, listening to everyone.

  22. Shaleia says:

    50 years ago when I was 16, my father told my frantic mother that their daughter (me) was a “Reconstructionist”.
    He knew….

    So there you are. The rabbi I sought as a youth and thought to be a figment of my imagination. More than delighted to find you now. Your spark is palpable.

    Many thanks for your wisdom and courage. Religion and all else notwithstanding, we must rewrite this story…. and fast.

    Peace,
    Shaleia

  23. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29018112/

    Dear Rabbi,

    I tried to post when you first started your blog. I have a lot to say and, while I cannot do so now, I will.

    My heart breaks when I realize how far we Jews have strayed from being a “light unto nations.” Thank you for opening the door to let come light in … and back out into this broken world.

    I’m glad we stood together at Sinai. There is hope.

    More later,

    B’shalom,

    Barbara

  24. james munves says:

    re Jews and Non-Violence. found this sermon as latest JPF bulletin. You are perhaps familiar with Polner and Merkin”s Peace Justice and Jews? As a long-time non-violent practioner (while in NYC, before moving to Canada, associated with Congr. B’Nai Jeshurun and Kairos Community) my thinking has led me to associate peace with justice. Wars are nothing more than expressions of injustice and justice grows out of non-violence. Oseh shalom, jim munves

  25. Tzahal says:

    You should be calling yourself the Kapo Rabbi, that is what you are. A collaborator with Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Shame on you.

  26. Israeli Patriot says:

    Scum bags.
    Thats the only words I have in mind when I visit this disgusting website. Scum bags. Enemies of the people of Israel. Traitors.

    I hate you. I hate you with all my heart.

    Supporting this scum goldstone… this scum that denies us our most basic of human rights: to protect ourselves when battling terrorists. Goldstone would have prosecuted the jews fighting against the Nazis in WWII for crimes against humanity. What a fraud!

    I hope the Israeli state will mark all of you Jew haters as “Persona non Grata” so you can never come here and contaminate our precious and only home. You are not a part of us, you are not a part of the Jewish people. You are Amalek.

    We will never forget.

  27. Brenna says:

    Thank you for your work. This is very helpful to me. I am a convert and I converted to the beautiful faith of Judaism…not to a racist and apartheid nation. Why is it that Jews cannot separate that? I really struggled as I was studying and the values do not correspond with that nation in any way. Yet, the process of conversion has you pledging to support that nation. I really struggle in conversations with Jews and hesitate to go to temple. I hear racist comments and twisted history… How long before Judaism wakes up and sees the false messiah it is following in Zionism?

  28. Lewis Pinch says:

    Rabbi Rosen,

    I just ran across your name on a one year old website story. I want to thank you for all you do for Justice and human rights. You are indeed a light shinning in the darkness of man’s inhumanity.

    Bless you, L. Pinch

  29. Steve Feldman says:

    Rabbi Brant,

    I’m enjoying your work, learning of it from Mark Braverman’s book Fatal Embrace (you are quoted there). I’d love your take on this essay:

    http://acjna.org/acjna/articles_detail.aspx?id=529

    Best wishes!
    Steve Feldman
    sfeldman@wfubmc.edu

  30. Please share, if you find this article worthwhile. Thank you for your inspiring work.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-gouldwartofsky/through-the-looking-glass_b_596704.html

    Through the Looking Glass: The Myth of Israeli Exceptionalism

    In the bloody wake of the Mavi Marmara, with its righteous torrent of international outrage, and in view of a new confrontation impending at sea, a point of vital importance has gone missing. It is one that many Jews and many Gentiles grasp, but do not name.

    It is the myth of Israeli exceptionalism, and its contradictions go to the heart of the radical disconnect between world opinion – including growing swathes ofJewish and Israeli opinion – and the actions of the war party in Israel and in the United States. Yet most of us still see the conflict through the lens of some exceptionalism, as if through Alice’s looking glass.

    A new generation of Jews, as hawk-turned-dove Peter Beinart has observed, is refusing to accept this moral assimilation, for which ideologies of exceptionalism are but a mask. Many of them joined demonstrations this week in New York and Tel-Aviv. More and more refuse to see the conflict through the looking glasses of exceptionalism, through the blinders of extreme nationalism and tribalism.

    Our generation and others must now chart a course towards the only safe harbor there is: An end to the blockade. An end to all forms of terror. A port of peace and freedom. A beginning.

  31. asad123 says:

    Hi Rabbi Brant,
    I want to commend you for adding your name to petition condemning the bigotry standing in the way of the Cordoba House, a.k.a. the Ground Zero Mosque. Your support shows dedication to the essential value of religious freedom for all.

  32. Rabbi Brant,

    Please feel welcome to come to Australia, anytime!! The community here is quite conservative when it comes to Israel. Many in the Jewish community don’t realise that a ‘circling the wagons mentality’ is only going to hurt successive generations of Jewish-Israelis; not help them.

    Instead of compassion we see hardening if the hearts and closed minds. This is a sure recipe for prejudice and bigotry. People like yourself, Rabbi Brian Walt and other voices of conscience; offer a glimpse of the light that is to shine upon the nations.

    Shalom Salam Peace

    Stewart Mills
    Sydney, Australia

  33. Rabbi Rosen:

    I just read “Light a Candle for Gaza” on the Mondoweiss website. I just want to let you know what an important, courageous article (the version without the heavy, creative editing). I am an avid reader of your blog and just want to express my appreciation of the wonderful work you are doing. You are making the world a better place.

  34. Thomas Bauer says:

    Dear Rabbi Brant

    for sure you have followed the development in Israel about the Boycott law. I am deeply concerned about this slide of Israel society towards – yes, i don’t know any other word describing it: – Fascism: the interdiction to voice any other opinion than that of the majority. Silencing part of the society. As Bradley Burston writes in Haaretz (http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/a-special-place-in-hell/israel-s-boycott-law-the-quiet-sound-of-going-fascist-1.372881), this is a turning point of Israel society. Do you share my point of view?

  35. I was tracking down comments on Daniel Kahn’s “Inner Emigration”, and that led me here. A joy to find and to share. I have a weekly blog, tikkunista.com focussed on social justice, and Jewish issues, so it’s a pleasure to find a fellow traveller.
    Origin story: we were once the house newsletter for Tikkun Toronto, via Rabbi Lerner.

  36. Kaoutar says:

    Dear Rabbi Brant,

    I came across your blog by coincidence, and I am glad I did. People like you who reject the vetust tribal codes, and strive to reinforce the universal human values even in exceptional situations give me great faith in humanity. It takes exceptional intellect and courage to be constructively critical of one’s own people, when knowing that you may come off as a traitor and a sell-out. I hope you will not let these allegations cloud your moral judgement. I find myself in the same situation in that, as an arab, I am expected to harbor hate and anger towards israel, but i don’t. While not always agreeing with Israel’s political policy and leaders, I believe in its right to exist and coexist with its neighbors. I have been branded as a sell-out, but I refuse to let tribal mentality of “you’re one of us or against us” drag me into a vicious circle of hate and discrimination. If we all work on improving the respective mentalities of our groups, this conflict might stand a greater chance of being solved.

    You are very welcome to Morocco anytime,
    Shalom, Salam

    PS: I apologize if my english is incomprehensible at times :)

  37. David Moody says:

    Dear Rabbi Brant,

    I greatly admire your work. I have followed your blogs for some time — since having been introduced to them by some long-time friends who now live in Santa Monica. I have been an agnostic affectionate observer of Israel since well before the Mabovich era, and my heart is, of course, broken.

    That having been written, I’ve had some reflex hope that a 2-state solution, however temporary, might maintain an Israel separate from the demographics that would otherwise change it irretrievably. I understand, however, that you see some possibility in a one-state solution.

    I am interested in why you see what you see. Is it a change in demographics resulting from a true democracy that encourages the total community development of a prosperous middle class that reduces the need for reproduction as a form of social security? Or is it something else?

    If you do see any possibility (this or another), have you described whatever vision you have in some edition of the blog that I have missed? If so, could you please refer it to me? Or, if you haven’t done so already, could you please do so now?

    If possible, I would prefer that you consider this reply to be as personal and private as your policy and protocol permit. Whatever, thank you for reading it and considering my request.

  38. Michael Shaw says:

    Dear Rabbi Brant,
    I came across the poem “What would you do?” by Emitithal Mahmood. I have been asked to collate readings for Holocaust Memorial Day in Hertfordshire England. This is a reminder by school children of the events of WW2 and also genocide today. The poem would be ideal for our readings especially as it relates to children. I would like permission to include it in our evening taking place on 24th of January 2013. It is well attended by school children of ages between 11 and 18 and local dignitaries, parents and friends.
    Thank you
    Michael Shaw

  39. Spoke like a true disgusting KAPO

  40. I have been enjoying your wise posts, and often linking to them on http://tikkunista.com.

    Reading your interview in Truthout, I was struck at the similarity between your wrestling, and the wrestling with the relationship between Judaism and Zionism that Tikkun Toronto did in their “Israel Stories”. I thought you might be interested in your fellow travellers stories. Here was our summary:

    “The stories started from the simple question, “What was my relationship to Israel when I was a child; how and why did that relationship change?” But there are larger questions embedded in that. Robert Frost once wrote, “Home is that place where, when you go there, they have to take you in.” In some of these stories, Israel is a literal home, in others a spiritual home, in some the possibility of a home. But there is always a tension in your home: to stay there you may have to give up some of who you are, but if you leave you may lose your community. There is a tension raised in our lives when the clothes of our ancestors, passed down to us, do not fit who we are. And there is a tension when the truths we learned in childhood no longer seem true. These stories explore how we wrestle with those tensions in our lives, and we hope they inspire you to do so, wherever your path may lie. We share the stories in a spirit of dialogue, and in the hopes of a deep and shared nurturance for us all.”

    http://www.tikkuntoronto.com/israelstories.htm

  41. Raymond Deane says:

    I’m researching for an article on the film “The Gatekeepers” – less on the film itself than on the way it has been framed by the mainstream media in such a way as to rob it of any potential “game-changing” value – and came across your article on it. All I can say is: bravo, and thanks for your humane perspective. If I end up quoting you (and if I end up finishing the article!) I’ll send it to you.

  42. This comment is a result of a following a link in forward.com via buzzflash.com. The post was Brant Rosen, Suburban Chicago Rabbi…….
    I am not Jewish. In fact, I am an atheist humanist. I am also a supporter of anyone – and feel compelled to tell them so – who seems to genuinely care about, bravely speak out and take non-violent actions, to protect anyone(s) who is being treated unfairly, unjustly, and inhumanely.
    Since I regularly speak out against the tyrannical, greedy, corrupt, lying union bosses of my union, International Union of Operating Engineers (Operating Engineers), and other injustices as I find them, I feel a special relationship to others that also feel compelled to do the right thing, no matter the consequences to their own health and safety. I applaud Brant Rosen and those individuals and supporting groups that seek legitimate and humane fairness for (a)people.
    When I draw my last breathe on this earth, I want to feel that I have tried to do the right thing with my life.
    S Fred Higgins

  43. Gabriela Russek says:

    Dear Rabbi Brant,
    Thank you so much for this insightful and courageous blog. I found it via a link when reading about the recent travesty committed against the Tent of Nations,

    I share your struggle to come to terms with the contradictions between the emotional attachment to Israel that was inculcated in me while growing up in the American (Reform) Jewish community, and my growing horror at the oppression that Israel has perpetrated against the Palestinians in the process of creating and maintaining a Jewish state. I’m also trying to come to terms with the realization that maintaining the deeply Jewish Israeli society that made me feel so at home when I was there may be impossible without violating ideals of democracy and racial equality that are central to my ethical worldview. By sharing your evolving thoughts, you help the rest of us to find our way. Your combination of passion, compassion, and rational thinking is difficult to find in most of the discourse on Israel/Palestine

    I was briefly a regular attendee at your congregation when you were briefly in Albany Park, and I was in AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps nearby. I’ve never found another congregation that felt quite as much like home. This blog reminds me why.

    Best,
    Gabriela Russek

  44. paulcw16 says:

    Thank you for being a voice of peace and justice. I don’t feel so alone! Warm regards, Paul Hoffman paulmhoffman.com

  45. Rabbi Brant, I just heard that you resigned from JRC. It makes me sad, and it is sad for contemporary Judaism, that a person of your caliber and opinions cannot make a go of it as a congregational Rabbi. You are in inspiration to so many, and we need a Jewish community that can have Rabbis like yourself. I very much hope you can find – or found – a congregation of people who will be supportive of your approach.

    Very best wishes. Thanks for all you have done.

    Shana Tova


    Sydney Nestel

  46. aron ryan says:

    People that do not live in the State of Israel really have no right to comment on what the best solutions are to bring peace to the land. Until you have lived there and experienced the day by day issues, problems, challenges and neighbors attitude, ideas or concepts are just that. LIving in the land adds more credibility to ones remarks

  47. Ron Temis says:

    Good riddance, glad your synagogue is rid of a KAPO, you can always go to Gaza and be their “oh more moral Jew than the rest of us”

  48. Charles Feinstein says:

    I heard your next pulpit is in Ramallah. Don’t call the IDF when your new congregants express their dislike for your shiur.

  49. dj says:

    God Bless You Rabbi Rosen says this Jew.
    You are truly a man of God.
    My uncle was a concentration camp survivor and he would be turning in his grave, to see how we are treating others.
    I have been embarrassed. You make me proud.
    Thank You for your fearlessness, honesty, and open heart.

  50. Ramon Greenberg says:

    Dear Rabbi Rosen,
    I am a good friend of Joshua Hauser’s mother, Bobbie. She has been telling me about you and I must say it lifted my spirits to know that someone like you is out there and working so hard to save Israel from destroying itself and all we have valued in it since 1948. I am sorry that you were unable to sustain a relationship with your congregation although it sounds like you did a yoeman’s job in keeping it going as long as you did. I think we met once at some Harvard event within the last couple of years. Please keep up your great work.
    Ray Greenberg


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