This post was originally published on this siteBy Siddiq Bazarwala   Why do Muslims pray so often? Why is there such a heavy emphasis on worshipping Allah ? Why does Allah need people to worship and praise him all the time? These are among some of the most frequent questions often raised by Muslims and non-Muslims alike.   This was the case during the early years of Islam when the religion

This post was originally published on this siteHey, look! I’m talking about disability again! I began doing this openly a few years ago when I first experienced the implications of having a chronic, degenerative health condition myself. Whether I want to or not, I’ve been talking about disability ever since. It seems to happen naturally when you have a child with special needs. My son has autism therefore I talk about

This post was originally published on this site(Follow on Twitter | Facebook | YouTube) Like many other things in this world, words too can have a lineage by which they can be traced. The continuously developing field of etymology helps us learn about the origin of words. Just as human beings import and export goods, so too do we import and export words. Oftentimes the goods, services, or ideas are

This post was originally published on this siteJourneys. Narrative, interpretive, and spiritual. That’s the theme of this week’s Torah reading. In Biblical Hebrew, the word for journeys is masei. Parshat Masei maps the journeys of the Israelites (Num. 33:1-36:13). From Egypt to the shores of the River Jordan, the Israelites wander the wilderness. Travelling for forty years, they make forty-two specific stops. Maybe it’s not exactly forty years. Sometimes, in

This post was originally published on this siteWant a ride to the other side of your vision of me so you can see who I really am? Beyond a fanciful procession of animals entering the ark bathed in light? I’m a head that’s one-third eyes a winged body that can soar power hides within I’m eyes of the horse round and profound a sense of recognition of things beyond a

This post was originally published on this siteThe arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. So said Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. But this arc doesn’t really look like an arc at all. More like a very jiggly line graph with lots of ups and downs. Trending upwards. The moral arc of the Torah is long, too, and it bends towards justice. Justice, reconciliation, compromise.

This post was originally published on this siteDon’t defame your enemies. That’s today’s lesson from the Biblical prophet Balaam. In 1200 BCE, mass media works like this: A famous person, a person of stature, speaks. Witnesses listen. Faithfully, accurately, they report what they heard. Person after person hears and repeats. Do you have a political enemy? Want to discredit them?  Fill the airwaves with defamation? Start at the top. Get

This post was originally published on this siteAs the crisis over children being torn from their mothers’ arms at the US-Mexican border continues we hear former first ladies, politicians, pundits and plutocrats proclaiming, “This is not who we are!” “Americans are compassionate people, etc.” While it is fair to say that there are many Americans who do not support the idea of ripping babies away from their mothers, enough do

This post was originally published on this siteThere appears to be a notion that has been very much present in our current global society, and it is that different groups of people can be worth more or less than others. Recently we have seen how Central American immigrants have been treated at the American border. We have seen children -sometimes infants- ripped away from their families. Some say these aren’t

This post was originally published on this siteDeath. A key theme of Parshat Chukat, this week’s Torah reading (Numbers 19:1-22:1). Moses shares rituals for letting go of grief. Miriam dies. Civilians die. Aaron dies. Soldiers die. Named people. Unnamed people. Famous people. Ordinary people. Israelites. Amorites. All are grieved. But only some are publicly mourned. Lately, I’ve been reading about death. Because I just led a conference on the topic.