Off the Pulpit


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Spiritual Fractals

The cauliflower explains a lot about the Jewish tradition. A fractal is a self-similar pattern, whose scale or size differs. Things in nature display different degrees of such self-similarity — break a cauliflower apart and a piece will look like a whole. Much of the modern interest in fractals is due to the work of Benoit Mandelbrot, a Jewish mathematician born in Warsaw who left before the war and went on to have a very distinguished career. Our sages teach that the deeds of the ancestors are signs for the children. In other words, Jewish history repeats itself, and if…

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New Year Resolutions

Resolutions for the New Year: 1. To laugh often, but in amusement, not in derision. 2. To pray often, but with appreciation, not avarice. 3. To lift my eyes from screens and remind myself of the variety, beauty, occasional savagery and sublimity of God’s created world. 4. To try listening without simultaneously preparing a response. 5. To believe that opinions other than my own, especially on things Jewish and things American, deserve the dignity of serious appraisal. 6. To recognize that as a fortunate person I cannot permit myself the luxury of exhausting my compassion for others. 7. To push…

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