About Israel Drazin

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So far Israel Drazin has created 1164 blog entries.
15 01, 2021

An interesting and very thoughtful film

By |2021-01-15T07:40:39-07:00January 15th, 2021|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

I have seen many films made in the 1930s and I feel that “As the Earth Turns” is the best of the lot. Edmund Hartman produced the restored 45 minute film and composed the dramatic music for this silent sci-fi film. It was made in 1937 and he arranged for its distribution in 2020. The [...]

13 01, 2021

Esther in America

By |2021-01-13T06:37:27-07:00January 13th, 2021|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

The biblical book Esther made a significant impact upon Americans, Jews and non-Jews, as seen in the new book "Esther in America." As I described in detail in my book “Ruth, Esther, and Judith,” the biblical book Esther is in no way similar to what many think the book contains. Most noteworthy is that it [...]

12 01, 2021

Lessons from Buddhists

By |2021-01-12T07:32:29-07:00January 12th, 2021|Thoughts|

   While I am an Orthodox Jew, I recognize that I as well as all people of all religions can learn much from Buddhists and others. The greatest Jewish philosopher, the rational thinker Maimonides, reminded us that the truth is the truth no matter what its source. Not only rational philosophers, but even mystics stressed [...]

28 12, 2020

A good joke

By |2020-12-28T05:54:19-07:00December 28th, 2020|Thoughts|

Dr. Judith Rubenstein sent me this joke. It is said to have appeared in French churches in French.   It is possible that on entering this church, you may hear the Call of God. On the other hand, it is unlikely that He will contact you by phone. Thank you for turning off your phone. [...]

28 12, 2020

Why do bad things happen to good people?

By |2020-12-28T05:25:50-07:00December 28th, 2020|Thoughts|

In the first of my series of “Mysteries of Judaism,” I pointed out that all of the biblical holidays, such as Passover, and rabbinical Jewish holidays, as Chanukah and Purim, were changed over the years. Some, as Passover on Nissan 14, even disappeared even though mandated in the Torah. Some, like Rosh Hashanah and Yom [...]

13 12, 2020

Hanukah does not disparage Greek culture

By |2020-12-13T06:08:10-07:00December 13th, 2020|Thoughts|

                  Many people are mistakenly convinced that the Jewish holiday of Hanukah celebrates the victory of the Jewish religion over Hellenism and that the enemy was Greece. Neither supposed fact is true. The Jews in Judea, Egypt and other countries of the diaspora had a longstanding favorable [...]

8 12, 2020

Ingratitude

By |2020-12-08T06:29:24-07:00December 8th, 2020|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

Howard Rubenstein’s play “Prometheus Bound” is based on the play “Prometheus Bound” attributed to the famed Greek playwright Aeschylus (c. 525 BCE - c. 456 BCE), called the father of tragedy, from which it was freely adapted, and based on the epic poem “Origin of the Gods” by the Greek didactic poet Hesiod (c. 750 [...]

6 12, 2020

Erroneous views about Hanukah

By |2020-12-06T05:21:10-07:00December 6th, 2020|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

  Many Jews, even those who do not observe any Jewish practice other than Yom Kippur and Passover, observe Hanukah, mostly because their children want gifts, but they have wrong ideas about the history relating to the holiday. Even most observant Jews have wrong ideas, as do many non-Jews. Dr. Howard Rubenstein published a fascinating [...]

1 12, 2020

A very good play about an ancient legend

By |2020-12-01T05:17:43-07:00December 1st, 2020|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

Dr. Howard Rubenstein, who passed away a couple of months ago, was a physician, author, and a playwright. The Golem is one of his plays. It is an adaptation of a well-known rather disturbing, timeless, and exciting age-old Jewish myth based on the false allegation that Jews killed Christian children to use their blood in [...]

30 11, 2020

The Message of the Golem

By |2020-11-30T05:21:00-07:00November 30th, 2020|Thoughts|

It is possible that the legend of the Golem which is told in the Talmud, in many books, and even several films has a disturbing message. Let’s take a look at the recent 2019 film version.   The meaning of Golam The word Golem means an amorphous incompletely formed creation, usually thought to be made [...]

22 11, 2020

Was Chaucer an anti-Semite?

By |2020-11-22T05:16:52-07:00November 22nd, 2020|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

Jews have suffered much by being persecuted by people who hated them. Were these people anti-Semites? Or was there something else that caused the hatred? Let’s look at one example. One of the tales that is told in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales” is the controversial story told by a prioress called “The Prioress’s Tale.” [...]

19 11, 2020

A treasure of information

By |2020-11-19T07:15:41-07:00November 19th, 2020|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

Many readers of the Bible have mistaken ideas about the places mentioned in the Bible. The book "Places in the Parasha" is a very good book, with chapters for each of the more than fifty Torah readings in synagogues on the Shabbat as well as the special readings on holidays. It identifies the location of [...]

9 11, 2020

The Wisdom of Gersonides

By |2020-11-09T09:23:37-07:00November 9th, 2020|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

It is tragic even bizarre that most rabbis today sermonize by quoting Midrashim as if what the Midrash states, despite being contrary to nature, actually occurred. They also quote the views of mystics, but not rational thinkers such as Maimonides other than to quote a legal view of his that parallels those of mystics, leading [...]

8 11, 2020

A radical view about “truth”

By |2020-11-08T07:39:49-07:00November 8th, 2020|Thoughts|

I read some books and essays recently focusing on the “truths” that people of different religions have that differ with the “truths” held by people of other religions. The object of the books and essays is to find how we can improve interfaith relations when the lives of different people are based on ideas that [...]

27 10, 2020

The religious and Literary ideas of Nachmanides

By |2020-10-27T07:19:19-07:00October 27th, 2020|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

  The highly respected scholar Dr. Isadore Twersky (1930-1997) was a professor at Harvard University, a rabbi, the Chasidic Tainer Rebbe of Boston, and the son-in-law of Rabbi Dr. Joseph B. Soloveitchik. His works on Maimonides and other writings achieved high praise. In 1983, Harvard University Press published his book “Rabbi Moses Nahmanides (Ramban): Explorations [...]

25 10, 2020

Examining Jesus as a human

By |2020-10-25T08:06:52-07:00October 25th, 2020|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

“According to James” is an interesting and thoughtful book. Whether readers are Christians, Jews, Muslims, or something else, and even if they strongly disagree with the story Howard Rubenstein tells about James, an older brother of Jesus, they will find that the story prompts them to think about many aspects of religion. The story is [...]

20 10, 2020

Abraham ibn Ezra’s explanations of the Biblical Laws

By |2020-10-20T04:00:08-07:00October 20th, 2020|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

  In Abraham ibn Ezra’s masterpiece, the twelve chapters of “Sefer Yesod Mora Ve-Sod Ha-Torah,” Treatise on the Foundation of Awe and The Secret of the Torah, ibn Ezra gave some of his explanations of the biblical commandments. He felt that each command, without exception was rational. The following are some of his other ideas. [...]

18 10, 2020

More Biblical Obscurities

By |2020-10-18T10:07:55-07:00October 18th, 2020|Thoughts|

When I posted the article containing a long list of obscure items in the Tanakh on my website www.booksnthoughts.com, I heard from many readers who found the list interesting and thoughtful. Some even offered their own interpretation of the obscure item. In view of the interest. I am listing some more of the hundreds of [...]

14 10, 2020

The Brilliant Ideas of Abraham ibn Ezra

By |2020-10-14T04:59:38-07:00October 14th, 2020|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

One of the most brilliant ancient Jewish thinkers was Abraham ibn Ezra (1089 or 1092-1164). Being human, he, like all other people including the best of humans, without exception, made mistakes in his thinking, such as his belief that astrology is a true science. But overall. He ranks among the foremost thinkers of Judaism. His [...]

8 10, 2020

A radical theory about Sukkot

By |2020-10-08T03:38:33-07:00October 8th, 2020|Jewish Books|

   People who pay attention to what they read realize that none of the Jewish holidays are practiced today as the Torah mandates. Judaism today is not Torah Judaism but Rabbinic Judaism. The rabbis made extensive changes in Torah laws because of changes in human circumstances. Scholars think that the holidays were originally folk harvest [...]

30 09, 2020

An excellent very engaging novel

By |2020-09-30T06:15:58-07:00September 30th, 2020|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

Avraham Azrieli’s “The Elixirist” is excellent, so full of exciting events that it will make a wonderful motion picture. It is the story of a young boy of 16, Sall, who lived in the biblical time of the judges, before the Israel tribes united, when they sometimes engaged in war with one another, when Israelite [...]

23 09, 2020

Orthodox Jewish Burial Laws and Justice Ginsburg

By |2020-09-23T09:56:34-07:00September 23rd, 2020|Thoughts|

Is the delaying of the burial of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg by placing her in State for some days rather than burying her as soon as possible a violation of Orthodox Jewish law? It is not a violation. There is no biblical requirement regarding burial in the Torah. The practices [...]

22 09, 2020

A very good mystery

By |2020-09-22T06:31:09-07:00September 22nd, 2020|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

Ken Farmer’s “Three Creeks” is delightful. I read all of Ken Farmer’s books cover to cover, usually without the ability to put them down but needing to read them in a single day, and I enjoyed them all. I think that this one is his best. As I read it, I thought it compared very [...]

16 09, 2020

A book filled with knowledge

By |2020-09-16T03:53:50-07:00September 16th, 2020|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks is a world-wide respected religious leader, the former chief rabbi of the English Commonwealth, the author of more than thirty books, and the winner of numerous prizes. His new book "Judaism's Life-Changing Ideas," with a Foreword '"The Secret of Our Staying Power" by Bari Weiss, the award-winning author and op-ed editor [...]

15 09, 2020

Obscure biblical statements explained

By |2020-09-15T03:48:05-07:00September 15th, 2020|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

Rabbi David Fohrman published a book called “Genesis: A Parsha Companion.” In his book, he points out obscure and questionable matters in each of the twelve portions in Genesis and offers his view of what the lesson is that underlies the verse or event. The interpretations are usually based on his own ideas or ancient [...]

9 09, 2020

The Shofar Scares Satan, Keeping Him at Arm’s Length

By |2020-09-09T04:09:09-07:00September 9th, 2020|Thoughts|

It is absolutely certain that both the spiritual leaders of Jewry and the masses of uneducated Jews (or at least the majority of these) before, during and after the talmudic period believed that the shofar, the ram’s horn, was blown on the holiday of Rosh Hashanah in order to scare Satan and his demonic cohorts. [...]

1 09, 2020

More Obscure Items in the Torah

By |2020-09-01T04:16:14-07:00September 1st, 2020|Thoughts|

When I posted the article containing a long list of obscure items in the Tanakh, I heard from many readers who found the list interesting and thoughtful. Some even offered their own interpretation of the obscure item. In view of the interest. I am listing some more of the hundreds of obscure words and events [...]

24 08, 2020

The Bible is Generally Unclear

By |2020-08-24T04:29:50-07:00August 24th, 2020|Thoughts|

Listening to the clergy, priest, minister, rabbi or other religious leader, and hearing the interpretation they give of biblical events and verses, congregants become convinced that what they are hearing is exactly what the Bible is saying, not an imaginative interpretation of the clergy. The sermon, for example, may stress that the Bible states that [...]