Jewish teachings argue strongly for lenient absorption policies. But perhaps the most compelling Jewish argument for welcoming immigrants and refugees is our shared historical experience.
Rabbi Michael Knopf
Rabbi Michael Knopf is the Rabbi of Temple Beth-el in Richmond, Virginia, and is a Clal-Rabbis Without Borders Fellow. He is dedicated to engaging and supporting spiritual seekers; communicating the transformative power of Torah and prayer; and building welcoming, supportive, and inspiring community. These passions inspired him, prior to his ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in 2011, to help coordinate the nation’s largest preparatory program for conversion to Judaism; to work as a spiritual counselor at Beit T'Shuvah, a Jewish addiction treatment facility; and to serve several congregations and educational institutions in the U.S. and Canada. Rabbi Knopf is a regular contributor to Haaretz's "Rabbi's Roundtable" blog, Jewish Values Online, and other publications; has a weekly podcast featured on the JCast Network; produces a weekly video message. Rabbi Knopf is happily married to his best friend, Adira, and enjoys movies, traveling, and pizza.
Follow him on Twitter @RabbiKnopf
Knopf is a contributing blogger for Haaretz Jewish World.
A failed sermon is like a placid lake - pleasant, but static. A successful sermon is a ripple in still water, combining Jewish textual tradition with real-world issues.
Abandoning the fight for racial justice over one policy plank is wrongheaded and counterproductive. We must remember that we Jews stand for more than just the State of Israel.
Faced with dwindling congregations, synagogues should stop worrying about how community members pay, and instead focus on the term being used to describe what they get in return.
I find myself wondering what guidance the Jewish tradition would have for selecting our next leader. Just in time for Passover, I have found an answer.
We are leading the movement to protest the Republican frontrunner at AIPAC's conference because we feel compelled to stand on the other side of a great moral divide, in solidarity with those Trump has routinely denigrated: our Muslim, Mexican, Latino, immigrant, female, disabled and LGBTQI brothers and sisters.
We look to our leaders to articulate a vision for where we ought to go and to be models for who we ought to be. This Republican presidential candidate is anathema to both.
David Bowie taught me that it's okay to be strange. Simultaneously, Judaism taught me being different is sacred.
As AIPAC pulls one way and J Street the other, and as supporters are labeled Nazi-sympathizers and opponents are cast as warmongers, who is thinking about what will happen to our community after the dust on this battle settles?
What if Dolezal didn't fabricate her racial identity, but rather expressed an understanding of her identity that was more complicated than the typical social categories allow?
All it took for Ruth to become a Jew was to declarate her commitment to the Jewish people. Why then, do rabbis erect so many hurdles today?
Judaism offers plenty of advice for those looking for love besides marrying within the faith.
The 2,000-year-old tale of heroes and villains offers important lessons about successfully responding to hatred in our own time.
Richard Linklater's cinematic triumph acknowledges the suffering adults cause when they project their own needs onto children.
A Jewish tradition that has no mechanism for adaptation is at risk of becoming a fossil; United Synagogue Youth's leaders understood this when they decided to reword their rules on interdating.
I'm not a mohel or a physician, but when it came to my son's brit milah, I couldn't let fear get in the way of me and my spiritual growth.
Synagogues' attempts to discourage intermarriage have only ostracized Jews. Doing so is not only counterproductive for Jewish continuity; it is not what the Torah teaches us to do.
What would it take to make the synagogues of today appeal to the Jewish leaders of tomorrow?
Israel’s war with Gaza coincided with the anniversary of the destruction of the Holy Temple, Judaism’s most sacred shrine. What the rabbis did in the wake of that historical crisis teaches us how we can cope with the current one.
Synagogues have much to learn from the dominance of superheroes in modern pop culture.
Unless the Jewish community makes room for loving disagreement with Israel, we will all pay a heavy price.
Is synagogue affiliation worth the demands on our time and resources? Isn’t it easier to be alone?
They aren’t polar opposites, as many claim. Integration between religion and science is the key to our universe.
Haman’s money speaks louder than his reason for wanting to kill the Jews. Nothing has changed.
When the winter storms pushed multiple congregations into my synagogue, divergent communities were reminded that we are in fact all in the same business.
We want to believe that selfies are an innocent form of communication, but, really, they are a cry for validation.
The Jewish view: It’s a question of morality, not legality.
Distributing clothes to Bar Mitzvah guests is profoundly wasteful. The story of Rachel’s t-shirt that ended up in Kenya highlights just how long a road we all have to travel.
Last year people worldwide were diminished and oppressed. Let us make the new year about thinking globally and acting locally.
Without the influence of the outside world, Jews and Judaism fossilize.