Away in a Manger?

Traditions have a funny way of morphing over time. Sometimes, the original meanings get lost or adapted to fit new circumstances. They end up taking on a life of their own. Such is the case with the Christmas story.

Visiting the “Holy of Holies”

A few weeks ago, I had a very rare opportunity.  I was able to go inside the Dome of the Rock to see the place where the Holy of Holies of the Temple once stood.  For those not familiar with the background, let me provide a very brief (and incomplete) background.  If you know the …

Four Days in Northern Israel

All incoming students at JUC are required to take “Physical Settings of the Bible.”  This is classified as a geography course, yet the content is much richer than simply studying the geography of the land of Israel.  The course covers the features of the of the land of the Bible with an emphasis on how …

Celebrating God’s Word

Yesterday capped the end of the High Holy Days celebrations.  As one of my professors said, “The Holidays were great, but it’s great that they were!” (it sounds better in Hebrew). After the 8-day festival of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), comes Simchat Torah–“The Joy of the Torah.” The Torah (first five books of the Old …