Rabbi Daniel Lapin

Daniel Lapin (born 1947) is an American Orthodox rabbi, author, public speaker, and heads the American Alliance of Jews and Christians. He was previously the founding rabbi of the Pacific Jewish Center in Venice, California. and the former head of Toward Tradition, the Commonwealth Loan Company and the Cascadia Business Institute. Lapin currently hosts a daily television program with his wife Susan and provides spiritual advice to people through his website.

recent articles

Captivated by Death

This essay first appeared in the July 1996 edition of Crisis Magazine.   Millions of Americans sit out their lives in darkened rooms, enthralled by the gasps and groans, cries and screams, and by the accompanying images on the screen. Our free-market system is designed to provide efficiently that which people desire and for which … Read more

Judaism Today: That Old-Time Religion

May I introduce you to one of the most anti-Semitic songs in our popular culture? The lamentable lyrics can be heard in Fiddler on the Roof when Tevye strides center stage, flings his arms wide, and to a bewitching beat, bellows the word “Tradition.” I dislike that song because it offers a false explanation for … Read more

Judaism Today: Hellenized Again

One of the most baffling questions of the November 1996 elections is why so many Americans voted for a candidate for whom they had nothing but contempt. Polls repeatedly revealed that most voters intended to cast their ballots for the president while simultaneously considering him to be somewhere between a liar and a coward. Results … Read more

Judaism Today: Captivated by Death

It is now fashionable to denounce the sex and violence that saturate American entertainment. Rather than kissing babies, political leaders now thunder against the killing and the babes. Millions of Americans sit out their lives in darkened rooms, enthralled by the gasps and groans, cries and screams, and by the accompanying images on the screen. … Read more

Judaism Today: A Jewish Offering

Every now and then a book is published that makes me proud to be Jewish. This does not happen often, but Rabbi Samuel Dresner’s book, Can Families Survive in Pagan America? is one such book. Let me confess my prejudice right up front; I admire heroes. The American Jewish community, which seems to confront the … Read more

Judaism Today: Religion and It’s Fanatical Accusers

Left-leaning journalists and politicians are exploiting Israel’s trouble to further their own domestic agenda.  They warn that a faith centered world view encourages people to shoot abortionists and also contributed to the Rabin assassination.  This jeremiad combines three fallacies. The first we reject even from a five-year-old when he claims, “My sister made me do … Read more

Judaism Today: Darwin is Dead

The great 12th-century Jewish transmitter, Maimonides, described the early onset of agnosticism as a gradual process, untraceable to any particular individual. For centuries, humans had known God. They saw the wonders of rocks, rivers and mountains as natural manifestations of His power. In stages, they forgot the source of these creations, and embraced nature as … Read more

Judaism Today: “We Were Only Following Orders”

It is fascinating to speculate that in the final days of the Nuremberg Trials as the Nazi leaders angrily acknowledged their own defeat, the Third Reich posthumously dealt a blow that would seriously undermine the West for the rest of the twentieth century. Intentions are not nearly as significant as consequences when the time comes … Read more

Judaism Today — The Severed Flower: Conservatism Without God

Examine your left wrists: How many of us wear mechanical watches? I lament the passing of the mechanical watch. I know that electronic timepieces and digital watches probably enhance punctuality, but they lack the moral message of the mechanical clock. My father, who was also my teacher and my rabbi, used to encouraged me as … Read more

Judaism Today: Sailing on the Fourth

It is hard to find a parallel for the Fourth of July among any other nation. Some countries celebrate their special day by means of a military parade; others simply have no such day at all. Nobody else marks a national anniversary with such a beguiling mixture of fierce patriotism and innocuous pleasure: picnics in … Read more

Judaism Today: Men Marriage and the Military

Earlier this year I was invited to deliver a speech to the cadets of one of America’s few remaining military colleges, The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. I walked the portrait-bedecked hallways, redolent with American military heroism, and sensed the ghosts of the cadets that fought in the Civil War. Later, gazing upon the auditorium … Read more

Judaism Today: The Hatred of Hierarchy

As part of God’s promise that He would scatter Jews throughout the Diaspora (Deuteronomy 31 and 32), there was the mysterious notion that they would then serve as a barometer of their host country’s spiritual state. Spain’s golden age, for instance, was reflected by the religious devotion of Spanish Jewry. In contrast, the decadence of … Read more

Judaism Today: Why Jews Still Obey the Law

There are two key characteristics that for millennia have kept Halacha, Jewish Law, alive in the hearts of millions of Jews. These are its apparent immunity to the effects of time and space, and its image as a bestower of benefits rather than as a demander of discipline. There has always been a Jewish core … Read more

Judaism Today: The Outlaw’s Return

Our leading politicians have just declared a war on crime, but are they ready for the casualties that prosecuting and winning such a war will inevitably involve? Our experience in Viet Nam taught us what can happen when our leaders commit us to a war without the will to win. In order to test whether … Read more

Judaism Today: Shylock Redeemed?

Chanukah falls on the twenty-fifth day of the Jewish month of Kislev; this year, December 8. To most Americans, Chanukah is a vague Jewish analogue to Christmas. To many Jews, it commemorates a victory over Greek oppressors in 140 B.C.E. What gives Chanukah its enduring significance is not its history but its current message. This … Read more

Judaism Today: Parents versus the State

As we go to press, the people of California are deciding the fate of their education system. Because California is one of the nation’s trend-setters, the outcome of Proposition 174, the “school choice” initiative, will have implications in every part of the country. One important element in the California debate was so muted as to … Read more

Judaism Today: What’s So Funny About Rosh Hashana?

This year’s High Holy Days began on September 16 with two days of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and ended ten days later with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Talmudic tradition teaches that Rosh Hashana ushers in the month whose astrological sign is Libra — the scales of justice — in order to … Read more

Judaism Today: A Window on the Good Book

A Window on the Good Book It may seem odd but one of the nicest compliments to give a rabbi is that of comparing him to a clean window. You are acknowledging that he is faithfully transmitting that which his rabbis taught him and nothing more. His function is to be a link in the … Read more

Judaism Today: The Economics of Religious Faith

On a warm Boston evening a few weeks ago, 19 men alighted from a row of cabs and gathered on the sidewalk before crowding into one of the city’s few kosher restaurants for dinner. Only a handful were Jewish; the rest of the group comprised Catholic and Protestant theologians and economists. Among those attending were … Read more

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