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Author Rabbi Fred Guttman

In 1903 in Kishinev, which was then part of Russia, there was a terrible pogrom, an anti-Jewish riot. During that riot, 49 Jews were killed and more than 500 were injured.  In its aftermath, the Jewish community in the town of Odessa sent a well-known Zionist and poet, Haim Nachman Bialik, to Kishinev, who then wrote […] Read More

In the summer after the tragedy of Sept. 11, my family visited Stone Mountain, Ga., for the incredible laser show. I remember three songs from that show: Ray Charles’ “Georgia On My Mind,” The Charlie Daniels Band’s “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” and Lee Greenwood’s “Proud To Be An American. A most incredible thing […] Read More

Editor’s note: The column below is excerpted from the Rosh Hashanah sermon by Rabbi Fred Guttman at Temple Emanuel in Greensboro, N.C. This past summer during the debt crisis, I happened to hear Jackson Browne’s classic song “Running on Empty.” I asked myself whether we as a nation are “running on empty.” The answer was […] Read More

Editor’s note: The remarks below were given by Rabbi Fred Guttman on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, at Temple Emanuel in Greensboro, N.C. The Baal Shem Tov once taught: “Forgetfulness leads to Exile. Remembrance is the secret to Redemption.” We have gathered here this morning not only to remember, but also to work toward redemption. We […] Read More

The Jordan River has been the subject of many songs. “The Jordan River is deep and wide, Hallelujah.” Or “I looked over the Jordan and what did I see, coming for to carry me home.” With songs such as this one, one could imagine that the Jordan River is indeed a major and mighty river. […] Read More

The following is an imaginary letter from Mo Amramson to President Obama.  “Mo,” the son of Amram, is known to most as “Moses,” who led the Israelites out of Egypt and through the wilderness for 40 years. Dear Barack, You know I always felt that leading the Israelites was the most difficult public-service job in […] Read More

What I found most interesting about “Avatar” was its spiritual message and how the film spoke to my Jewish soul. The people of Pandora are called the Na’vi. In Hebrew, the word “navi” means “prophet.” I found myself wondering if director James Cameron is trying to make these people into “prophets” for us. Perhaps the […] Read More

Rosh Hashanah is the season wherein Jews are supposed to have great resolve and great hope. There are too many negative forces that tell us that we cannot do it. There are too many excuses for not being the type of Jews and human beings that we really and truly ought to be. We have […] Read More

‘Bee Season’

The recently released film “Bee Season,” based on the book by Myla Goldberg, is in many ways an extraordinary movie. I do not ever remember seeing a popular film that was based so much on Kabbalah or Jewish mysticism. The story is quite simple. Eliza, an 11-year-old girl, has an extraordinary ability to spell words […] Read More

The Real Wars We Face

I am appalled by the assertion that there is some sort of “war” against Christianity and Christmas in this country. This is one of the more bogus and ridiculous claims that I have ever heard. Once again, the strategy here is to make us fear an imagined enemy in order to take our minds off of our […] Read More