Lawrence Goodman

Editor, The Jewish Experience Brandeis University Subscribe to The Jewish Experience newsletter !

The Jewish Courts That Judged Jews Accused of Nazi Collaboration

Jewish police arrest alleged Jewish Nazi collaborator

Shepsl Rotholc was a famous champion Jewish boxer in Poland in the 1930s. In 1941, two years after the Germans invaded, he became a policeman in the Warsaw Ghetto, helping to maintain order and enforce Nazi orders. Was Rotholc guilty of collaborating with the Nazis? Did he have any other choice? Should he be considered a hero for trying to save his family? These were the kinds of questions considered by a special "Jewish honor court" that tried Rotholc in 1946 for aiding the Nazis.

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L’chaim! A Jewish Anti-Death Penalty Group

Michael Zoosman at anti-death penalty rally

The grandson of two Holocaust survivors, Michael Zoosman grew up thinking capital punishment was justified. But thanks to a spiritual evolution that began when he was a student at Brandeis University and accelerated during a stint as a prison chaplain, Zoosman changed his mind.

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Chaplains: The Unsung Heroes of American Judaism

The chaplain at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, Rabbi Harold Stern, at a patient's bedside. (Courtesy Calvary Hospital)

As part of her job at Boston Children's Hospital, Susan Harris consoles grieving parents who've just lost a child, supports families with end-of-life care, and comforts children with terminal illnesses. But on Fridays, in anticipation of the Sabbath, she also gives out challah.

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Kapparot: The Yom Kippur Tradition of Chicken Twirling

A mother, father, son and daughter. The father holds a rooster over the son's head.

For some 1,000 years, many Ashkenazi Jews have observed the same ritual every Yom Kippur Eve — waving a chicken over their head. From the start, the practice was controversial among rabbinical scholars, and even today, it continues to ruffle feathers. (Sorry, couldn't resist).

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What Do Jews Mean by Repentance (Teshuvah)?

The sound of the shofar at Rosh Hashanah, the great 12th-century Jewish thinker Moses Maimonides wrote, is a wake-up call for the soul. Its message: "Arise from your slumber! Search your ways and return in teshuvah and remember your Creator!"

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5 Documents That Tell the Story of American Jewish History

Advertisement for Levy's Jewish rye bread

In coming to America, the people of the book also became the people of documents. In letters, contracts, laws and legislation, photographs, temple newsletters, and even advertisements for rye bread, the Jews' triumphs and travails were all recorded, reflected upon, and discussed.

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Have We Been Teaching Kids About Israel All Wrong?

Child wrapped in Israeli flag

"Love, first, details later" — that's how social scientist Sivan Zakai describes the traditional approach taken to teaching young children about Israel. And in her provocative new book, "My Second-Favorite Country: How American Jewish Children Think About Israel," she argues it risks doing more harm than good.

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