The High Holidays signals time for our personal renewal. We commit to improving ourselves. But what about improving Judaism? Judaism needs an upgrade. Here’s an example.

A family friend passed away in Florida. I spoke with the surviving spouse. She was in distress over the funeral. The rabbi familiar with the family had just backed out of the funeral. Why? Because the decedent was being buried in a mausoleum.

There is NO explicit prohibition against burial in a mausoleum in the Torah. Yes, the Torah says that from dust we came, and dust shall we return. But this is not an explicit requirement of burial in the ground. Throughout Jewish history, we have buried our dead in crypts, caves, grottos, and graves. Mausoleums have been used and approved. Even Maimonides acknowledges the use of mausoleums.

We can honor the tradition by placing dirt in the mausoleum. But more important than keeping the tradition is honoring the living. A widow grieving the loss of her husband should not be further hurt by a rabbi upholding a mere tradition.

Some freely call this a measure of halakhah, often translated as the Jewish law. However, in my training as a rabbi, halakhah is a way, not the way.  Judaism must be mutable to honor God truly. I would never disgrace a family in mourning by critiquing their burial practice against a historically deaf standard.

Mausoleums may be necessary where the water table rises and shorelines flood.  Mausoleums can be a “greener” alternative, often using less land than traditional graves.

At this season of repentance, let’s encourage atonement for the Judaism that fails to honor God. We need a groundswell of interest in a renewed Judaism as a religion. We can hold fast to tradition or create a kinder, gentler Judaism that better reflects God’s love for us.

Rabbi Evan J. Krame

Some people think that religions are made of crazy stories. Admittedly, there are a lot of crazy stories in the Torah and Talmud. There’s a wild story in the Talmud quoted often to prove that people, and not God, have the final word on Jewish law. I believe this story also poses a challenge to our faith.

The story begins with a debate about whether a specific type of oven is kosher. Rabbi Eliezer alone claimed the oven to be kosher. The others said no. Eliezer was technically correct and called upon Heaven to prove it by uprooting a tree, making a river run backward, and bending the walls of a synagogue. The opposing rabbis said Heaven has nothing to do with this debate. Torah “is not in heaven.”  This is a clause from a sentence in a teaching in the Torah. The rabbis had a holy purpose. Their goal was to support uniform ritual practices. To do so, the Rabbis engage in sacred wordplay.

Here’s the whole paragraph: Surely, this Instruction which I enjoin upon you this day is not too baffling for you, nor is it beyond reach. It is not in the heavens, that you should say, “Who among us can go up to the heavens and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who among us can cross to the other side of the sea and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?” No, the thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe it.

More than an attempt to provide conformity to kosher laws, this story poses a challenge to faith. The rabbinic debate abstracts the Torah to pose a critical question. Who is the final arbiter of the Torah? Is Judaism merely inspired by God and crafted by people? Can Judaism advance without an ongoing revelation of the present and perceptible Divine? The danger of the “oven” story is that people surpass God’s role as decider in chief.

Add the onslaught of modernity and its impact on religion. Modern progressive Jews, especially post-holocaust, have difficulty accessing God. After the scientific age, people demand proof, data, and verification. How can we know what God intends when we can’t verify God exists? No lab test can prove God. No equation can explain God. To the scientific mind, God is a storybook figure.

Faith wanes as people claim technological superiority over the world. Are there more incredible miracles than vaccines, iPhones, and DNA testing? As humankind becomes masters (and destroyers) of the universe, we place faith in ourselves, human beings asserting themselves as arbiters of what God’s laws should be. Immanuel Kant projected that man had replaced God in the pursuit of morality.

God happens when there is faith.  Faith is the humility of not knowing.  Faith is the grace found in wondering. Faith is gratitude for the half-full cup of our lives. Humility, grace, and gratitude are the guiding qualities that expand faith beyond reason and science.

Perhaps our role is to exist in a world of faith rather than the pursuit of conformity and rules.  Faith is the path to peace. Belief creates the possibility of freedom. Conviction constructs justice unbounded by the ills of this world. Then, the interpretation of the Torah will follow the Godly paths of peace, freedom, and justice.

A crazy story about an oven and rabbis arguing is not necessarily about the laws of kashruth. It can be about applying our faith to expand holiness in this world. We can interpret the Torah as Godly inspiration to improve the world.

Rabbi Evan J. Krame

I recently participated in a conversion ceremony. As our newly dipped member of the tribe emerged, he recited the Shema. The actions of circumcision and mikveh (“the snip and dip”) create the conversion, but the statement of faith guides us for our lifetimes. Hear this, O’ Israel, the Holy One has a few other things Jews should say.

The Torah commands Jews to “do” many things. Rarely does the Torah tell us what to say. Torah does not even instruct us to say the Shema! But nearing the end, Torah offers an entire monologue. This monologue is a potent tool binding us to our history and humanity. Here’s how it goes.

Each year, we are directed to bring the first fruits of our produce to the temple. The delivery must be accompanied by a statement that connects to our liberation from Egypt and our commitment to care for others. The words relate a sampling of our bounty to the core tenets of Judaism. Perhaps we need verbal reminders that the fruits of our labor are to be shared and that our very livelihoods result from our freedom to pursue a living of our choosing.

Spend a moment with these words and imagine how they can impact your lives:

“When you have set aside in full the tenth part of your yield—in the third year, the year of the tithe —and have given it to the [family of the] Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat their fill in your settlements, you shall declare before your God יהוה: “I have cleared out the consecrated portion from the house; and I have given it to the [family of the] Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, just as You commanded me; I have neither transgressed nor neglected any of Your commandments: I have not eaten of it while in mourning, I have not cleared out any of it while I was impure, and I have not deposited any of it with the dead. I have obeyed my God יהוה; I have done just as You commanded me.

Look down from Your holy abode, from heaven, and bless Your people Israel and the soil You have given us, a land flowing with milk and honey, as You swore to our fathers.”

Notice that caring for the stranger, orphan, and widow takes precedence over delivering a tithe. Being a caring and engaged human is so important that we begin this required soliloquy by affirming that our commitment to people demonstrates our devotion to God. These words enliven the covenantal relationship. The act of sharing and the statement of dedication create an unending loop. We grow, we share, and we affirm. Plant, reap, donate, and repeat!

When you next consider a bonus or a financial boon, dedicate a portion to charity. Then, celebrate and affirm your demonstrated benevolence by telling others. You set in motion for yourself a holy pattern. You inspire others to follow your lead. And these are the words God wants to hear!

Rabbi Evan J. Krame

Amazon sells just about everything. You can buy a T-shirt that says “Jewish and Loving It.” The design includes tzitzit, one on either side of the shirt. These tzitzit do not dangle; they are merely a graphic. While I saw no reviews of the product, I wondered if this t-shirt was offensive or if I was “loving it”?

Torah at Parshat Ki Tetzaveh requires wearing tzitzit, fringes, on the four corners of our garments. Today, the most accessible place to buy tzitzit is Amazon. You can purchase white or blue tzitzit, undershirts with tzitzit, and clip-on tzitzit. I kept looking to see if there were tzitzit that changed color with your mood. However, Amazon offers a plastic device to keep Tzitzit from getting tangled in the laundry. And then there was the t-shirt that says, “My relationship with God comes with strings attached.”

I thought about how being Jewish has become “cool” recently. The New York Times reports that Hava Nagila is frequently played at ballparks to nightclubs. Hipster chic includes wide-brimmed black hats. The Black-Eyed Peas sang “mazel tov” in the refrain of their hit song “I Gotta Feeling.” And now graphic depictions of tzitzit are emblazoned on t-shirts sold on Amazon.

Perhaps, Judaism should be the antidote to hip. After all, Tzitzit are not shabby chic. Instead, they are reminders that Judaism is aspirational. Jewish rituals, and the trimmings, offer an escape from the raggedness of this world. Tzitzit are reminders of our connection to God and God’s commandments. Judaism proposes big ideas to the world about freedom, the dignity of everyone, and the role of Godliness in our lives.

Maybe I am too sensitive. Or am I being too dogmatic? After all, Judaism mandates that we connect with joy. In Deuteronomy 28, we learn to serve God with joy. Some of that pleasure comes from sarcasm and can be found on Amazon.

Perhaps humor is the way to draw more people to Jewish practices. Tzitzit aren’t only for orthodox men.  And loving Judaism isn’t reserved for those with a sense of humor. Ultimately, we might need to overlook some humorous jabs at Judaism. First, I’ll focus on the fact that I’m Jewish, and I am “loving it!”

Rabbi Evan J. Krame

An ugly and hard-fought battle over an appointment to the Supreme Court rattled the country.  The New York Times accused the nominee of being a radical.  The nominee’s religion was an additional issue. A close association with the President also made him suspect. The nominee attended the Senate hearings on the nomination.  After four months of scrutiny, the Senate confirmed Justice Louis D. Brandeis to the U. S. Supreme Court on June 1, 1916.  Brandeis later set a high standard for all future Justices to follow.

Upon retirement, the New York Times hailed Brandeis as one of the finest justices ever to have served. His Jewish identity, close association with Woodrow Wilson, and Zionist politics had little effect on the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court.  He offered our nation due justice.

Perhaps Torah inspired Brandeis. In Deuteronomy 16:18, at the beginning of Parshat Shoftim, Torah says to “appoint magistrates and officials for your tribes, in all the settlements that your God is giving you, and they shall govern the people with due justice.” Torah continues to say, “Justice, justice shall you pursue!”

Judges have the power to reshape a nation. Yet, the guidelines governing judicial conduct are hazy. The meaning of due justice is vague. The character of reasonably good jurists is left to our imagination and yearning. I believe that jurists should be honest, above reproach, and able to set aside their political beliefs. The consequences of appointing biased justices or those with conflicting interests weaken the entire justice system for our country or any country. In polarized societies like ours, Judges will be accused of acting for political causes. Just like the United States, Israel is grappling with issues of impartiality in the justice system.

Israel’s judiciary crisis is unique to parliamentary democracies.  Adding complexity to the problem is that Israel does not have a constitution. Without a governing document, Israel’s Supreme Court ascribed to themselves the power to review the Knesset’s laws per a standard of “reasonableness.” A right-wing Knesset is subduing a left-leaning judiciary with a new law eliminating the reasonableness standard. As there are only two strong branches of government, the Knesset’s attempt to limit judicial power requires scrutiny. Can elected politicians be trusted to dominate the judicial branch? When questioned, Bibi Netanyahu proclaimed that the crisis in Israel is no more problematic than the situation in the United States.

The United States faces two crises with the Supreme Court. While our Constitution governs the Court, its interpretation is subject to wildly different views; those who envision a living constitution versus those who are originalists. Moreover, the Court has no ethics rules. Its members can accept gifts and associate with political activists. Without ethical rules governing the Court, we rely on our moral sense and love of democracy to shame those justices. The moral purpose of a fair judiciary begins in Deuteronomy, seeking due justice.

Another Jewish justice, Abe Fortas, set a different standard than that of Louis D. Brandeis.  In May 1969, Fortas resigned from the Court after a controversy involving his acceptance of $20,000 from financier Louis Wolfson while Wolfson was being investigated for insider trading. Those may have been the good old days of the Supreme Court when even the appearance of impropriety was enough to shake a justice loose from their seat.

At least one current Supreme Court Justice has flaunted the ideal of due justice. Perhaps he should back up his RV to the Supreme Court door, pack up his belongings and head out to see America.  In the meantime, the public must continue to remind the Court’s current members to live up to the standards set by Brandeis and Fortas and Torah.

Rabbi Evan J. Krame


Dedicated to the memory of Sarah Brenner Rubin z”l

Three generations gathered to bury a matriarch at a funeral I attended last week. Tempering the sadness was an extended family finding comfort in each other’s arms and the joy of being together. Cousins embraced cousins, and grandparents held grandchildren. I thought about the Jewish family breakdown, how increasingly rare is the gathering of an extended Jewish family.

In Deuteronomy 12:7, the Hebrews are taught to worship as a family unit. “Together with your households, you shall feast there before your God יהוה, happy in all the undertakings in which your God יהוה has blessed you.”  This prescription for Jewish life is gathering with gratitude and engendering happiness as a family. I understand Jewish celebrations to be household events, and the household conceived by Torah is that of family.

My earliest memory of family engaged in Jewish ritual was the Passover seder at my grandparents’ home. I recall the house filled with people sitting at long tables. My grandfather mumbled his way through the Haggadah. I remember plates piled high with food.

For my grandparents, the family was the daily focus of their lives. Grandparents, parents, and children shared a home, went to synagogue together, and observed holidays. Aunts and uncles lived around the corner. My parents’ generation stretched the family into the suburbs. Family meals were relegated to once-a-week treks back to Brooklyn. When I visit Brooklyn now, I count the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike, wondering if they, too, are driving to be with family for seasonal visits.

Now, remote work enables us to move anywhere with an internet connection. Easy access to air travel encourages relocation. And the wandering child can proclaim, “Southwest Airlines has frequent flights from DC.” Celebrating holidays as a family requires factoring in secular holidays like time off for Thanksgiving and Christmas week. Every working person seems to be counting on vacation leave from work.

Geographic distancing is creating dire emotional challenges to the healthy function of families. A nuclear family living in the same metropolitan area is rare among my friends. Distance is a form of estrangement. Facetime calls can’t replace family dinners. Texting isn’t as personal as a visit. I’m nostalgic for the twentieth century’s close-knit Jewish family.

I can blame modernity for undercutting Torah. We benefit from life-changing innovations that contribute to the distancing of Jewish families engaged in Jewish life. For example, the internet has profoundly impacted how families celebrate Jewishly. We can stay home in our pajamas and watch Shabbat services online.  The covid pandemic taught us how to use Zoom for circumcisions and funerals, Passover seders, and High Holiday services. Your internet connection might be strong, but your family’s Jewish identity is likely weakened.

Judaism’s challenge in the 21st century is presenting compelling reasons for households to prioritize family gatherings. Our Shabbat dinners and Hanukkah celebrations must be joyful and infused with a holy purpose.

Judaism is best practiced as a family unit. We eagerly gather as a family for life cycle events, funerals, weddings, and b’nai mitzvahs. Yet, life cycle gatherings are only a starting point for fostering a healthy Jewish life. Ultimately, Jewish identity is best formed in the regular gathering of households, generally eating together.  A recent survey proved this point. Grandparents with frequent and consistent family relationships often determine whether grandchildren will engage in Jewish life.

It is not just for the sake of Judaism that family gatherings are essential. If blessed with loving family relationships, the physical embrace of siblings or children improves our mental health. Celebrating family events improve spiritual health, nurturing our souls. Tending to family relationships, in the context of Jewish life, measurably enhances our lives. Behind Jewish practices is brilliant psychology of how to increase happiness.

We can’t turn back time, disable the internet, and stop all air travel to restore the primacy of the Jewish family. However, we can cherish family time. In addition to life cycle events, we can pay special attention to gathering for holidays. Make building a sukkah an opportunity to engage grandchildren. Schedule family hikes on Shavuot. Prioritize family as critical to the future of Judaism and keep nourishing your life.

Rabbi Evan J. Krame


“Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?” said Groucho Marx to his wife when caught in bed with another woman. At least, that is what I believed was the quote’s origin. However, his brother, Chico Marx, said the line, and not in bed but in the 1933 movie “Duck Soup.”  The truth about the quote’s origins underscores the difficulty in discerning the truth. Ultimately, the quote resonates because, too often, we can be persuaded not to rely on empirical evidence we have witnessed. We now live in a world where facts sometimes give way to beliefs and misbeliefs.

Moses admonished the Hebrews on this very problem. Preparing the people to conquer Canaan, Moses reminded them to focus on what they knew was true. Why fear the Canaanites when God is on your side? Moses said they needed to recall “the wondrous acts that you saw with your own eyes, the signs and the portents, the mighty hand, and the outstretched arm by your own God liberated you.” Deuteronomy 7:19.

However, Moses’ approach was problematic. For the few remaining survivors of the Exodus, they must engage 40-year-old memory. The rest were born after the Exodus, and they did not see God liberate the people. Old memory and inherited memory are as good as lying eyes.

Israeli-born psychologist, Daniel Kahneman, taught the world about the irrational mind and the fallibility of memory. According to Kahneman, our memories are not accurate to the truth of the events. Instead, we remember a distorted version of the truth. Take a fallible memory and add altered reality, and you should anticipate disaster.

Moses, Marx, and Kahneman unwittingly anticipated the most recent iteration of the lying eyes, Artificial Intelligence. Today, the ability to alter what is true and create images endangers our civilization. Not only does AI belie belief and mar memory, but AI creates a new truth. With this power, everything is at stake. From personal interactions to international relations, facts are hostage to lying eyes and minds.

Our nation is reeling from our last presidential administration’s modern application of “the Big Lie.” Even without artificial intelligence, educated Americans were willing to believe altered versions of the truth about elections, politicians, and immigrants.  With AI, the problem is exponentially worse. Anyone can create facts divorced from truth. Imagine the unholy alliance of AI and criminal minds. Even more terrifying is the marriage of AI and anti-democratic forces.

Perhaps Moses had it right, but he didn’t go far enough.  Remember what you saw with your own eyes, but don’t rely upon what is set before you by lying eyes. Ultimately, our only protection from the abuse of artificial intelligence will be our ability to demand accuracy.  What you believe to be valid requires review. What you know to be true may be limited to the empirical evidence in your life. Seeing is no longer believing in the age of AI. And, like Moses cautioning the people, I am reminding the world to remember this warning and seek truth in all things.

Rabbi Evan J. Krame

This blog is devoted to the memory of Diane Harris Cline, z”l, an inspiring GWU professor and archeologist of the ancient Near Eastern world.

This summer is a blast furnace of heat domes and unbearable temperatures. Intense heat has transformative properties. Similarly, Torah says that Egypt was a blast furnace, both a factual and metaphorical description. Both interpretations have equal importance for us as we navigate our modern blast furnace.

Archeologists found the first depiction of a blast furnace on the wall of an Egyptian tomb dating to about 1500 BCE. The earliest iron implements were discovered in an Egyptian pyramid joint between two stones. Wrought iron metal improved the world when hammered into tools but led to destruction when made into spears, arrow tips, and daggers.

Around this time, the Hebrews were slaves in Egypt, possibly equipped with iron tools and weapons. After the Exodus from Egypt, Moses told the people, “God took you and brought you out of Egypt that iron blast furnace, to be God’s very own people.” Exodus 4:20.

Smelting iron was an essential process in the history of human civilization. Warring nations attacked each other with iron tools, and many nations collapsed. Aggressive sea people attacked Egypt. However, Egypt did not collapse, although Egyptian power ebbed in this period of unrest.

Archeologists and theologians debate the date of the Exodus. Yet, all agree that the Hebrew journey from Egypt to Canaan corresponds to the end of the bronze age and the beginning of the iron age. The Exodus was likely made possible by great changes in ancient civilization, like iron smelting. Yet, a more catastrophic transformation was unfolding.

The blast furnace of Egypt might also refer to extreme climate change in that era.  The extreme weather changes of the early iron age contributed to the collapse of civilizations. In his best-selling book, 1177 BC The Year Civilization Collapsed, author Eric Cline described a period of climate disasters on the heels of technological developments. Sound familiar? Ancient climate change caused widespread famine, contributing to migrations, war, upheaval, and societal collapse. Similarly, the climate change of modern times may portend the collapse of our civilization.

Technological advancements result in unforeseen consequences. The story of the Hebrews explains the concept. Once, we were slaves. Later we were free people refined to become a nation of priests, and our faithlessness smelted into conviction. Our lot was cast with God. And yet our nation-state was created with swords and plowshares made from refined metals.

The purpose of a blast furnace is to refine ore into metal and not cause war and suffering. Similarly, today’s technological advancements are changing the world in ways both good and bad. Modern technological advancements are a blast furnace spewing greenhouse gasses and toxic waste that imperils our civilization. Nothing short of the destruction of our earth is at stake.

There is hope.  After the collapse of 1177 BC the Jewish nation emerged in a Promised Land.  What will emerge from the unfolding disaster of our times? Let’s take the Jewish approach. From the modern technological blast furnace, we can “refine” ourselves. We can be activists for our earth and defenders of the planet. Let’s be warriors for our children’s future, to combat the blast furnaces of our times.

Rabbi Evan Krame



The air conditioning was not working. The temperature in the plane was at least 90 degrees. Hot air was coming through the vents, so I sat very still. Others were agitated. Lacking faith in the repairs, a dozen passengers stood in the aisle, demanding to be let off the plane. Rabblerousers! Shortly, a repair crew appeared. Of course, this reminded me of Torah.

The fifth book of the Torah, Deuteronomy, begins with Moses scolding the people. “How can I bear unaided the trouble of you, the burden, and the bickering!” Throughout the journey in Sinai, Moses overcame much bickering and many insurrections. But not all rebellions are negative. Sometimes, demonstrators are just impatient. Sometimes, protestors have a holy cause.

Back on the plane, the stewards were patient. The yelling subsided. Attempts to disembark were thwarted. Finally, the air conditioning was repaired.

How did I stay calm? I sat thinking about the miracles of flying. A plane weighs about 100,000 pounds, and yet it flies. I can send a text message from 30,000 feet high above the earth. Even the meal I was served was good.  I focused on these miracles even while stewing in my seat. Had the plane stayed warm, I would still benefit from the miracle of jet propulsion whisking me into the heavens and down again. I had calming faith. And I also wondered how long it would be before I stood in the aisle asking to leave! Passive or pugnacious, which would it be?

Had this been a continuing flight in the United States, I might have been less understanding. However, this was the last leg of my journey to Israel.  Whether by dint of psychology or spirituality, I was reflective, not reactive.

While in Israel, I witnessed another insurrection. Tens of thousands in the streets, some draped in the Magen David flag, all demonstrating against a craven and corrupt government. The ruling coalition is unholy in the Holy Land. They forget the meaning of the miracle that is Israel. To be patient and wait for repairs would not suffice. Israel is not a short flight. It is a journey of biblical proportions.

Israel is deeply flawed, running hot, and close to rebellion. Yet this Holy Land inspires me. The myth draws me in. The faith lifts me up. My mantra for this trip was to keep calm and stay positive. Yet, there is a boiling point. By the end of ten days, I was sad, anxious, and doubtful.

Israel is not unique as a nation grappling with power-hungry and disingenuous leaders. Back on a plane headed west, I thought about our own country. In the United States, we, too, are convulsing with demons of the past reclaiming authority. Our country used to be a beacon of hope. Do we remember the miracles of America as a haven for immigrants, an abundant land, and a leader in the sciences? Perhaps we need demonstrations in Washington, DC.

The protestors in Israel inspire me. I feel ready to take to the streets of our Capitol to rescue our nation from the abyss of racism, sexism, and gun violence. For the sake of democracy, we can’t remain calmly in our seats. For the sake of our children, we need to set aside patience and pick up the flag. For the sake of freedom, we cannot just wait for the temperatures to drop.

Rabbi Evan J. Krame

Remember the Rosenbergs? While working on an estate matter, I noticed a bequest to the Rosenberg Fund. The contact person’s name was Meeropol.  Robert Meeropol created the Rosenberg Fund for Children, a public foundation named in honor of his parents, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. As you may recall, the United States Government executed the Rosenbergs for conspiracy to commit espionage during the Cold War. Their sons’ charitable work creates a different sort of Rosenberg legacy.

Robert described the fund he runs as his “constructive revenge.” The fund “grants aid to children in the U.S. whose parents are targeted, progressive activists” and to “assist youth who themselves have been targeted as a result of their progressive activities.” The Rosenbergs might have left a legacy of trauma. Their son embarked on a legacy of healing.

I thought of this charity when reading Parshat Pinchas. During a census in preparation for war, the Torah reminds us of the sons of leaders of the Korach rebellion. Korach, Datan, and others who agitated against Moses and Aaron went down to Sheol as they were swallowed up in the earth — “and they became an example. The sons of Korah, however, did not die.”

The sons of Korah did not die. They thrived. They were also prolific authors of eleven psalms. Twice in the book of Chronicles, we read about the Korahites. 1 Chronicles 9:19 reports that “the Korahites were in charge of the work of the service, guards of the threshold of the Tent; their fathers had been guards of the entrance to the camp of the LORD.” The descendants of the rebel leader remained faithful in their service to God.

The sons of Korah lived their lives within the legacy of their father.  As a contretemps to his misdeeds, they dedicated themselves to holy work. In a startling verse from Psalm 49, they anticipate a better death than their father’s.  “But God will redeem my life from the clutches of Sheol, for He will take me.”

Korach, Meeropol’s parents transgressed in life and met an ignoble death. Yet torah teaches that legacy remains open to redemption.  With his charitable endeavors, Robert Meeropol reclaimed virtuousness from a tragic childhood. This example shows that inspiration to improve the world can come from the depths of heartbreak. How much easier it should be for the rest of us to commit to tikkun olam if our childhoods were less dramatic than the families of Korach or the Rosenbergs.

Rabbi Evan Krame