Health & Spirit

How do you love?

Religion / God Squad /

Valentine's Day is a holiday like Halloween that over time has been scrubbed of its religious origins and exists now as an annual national orgy of chocolate, flowers and cards with red hearts on them. However, its spiritual nougat center is love, and love is always worth considering.

I recently tried to explain why...Read more

Happy Chinese New Year!

Religion / God Squad /

This week marked the beginning of the Chinese New Year. It is a good week to consider with joy and praise the Chinese culture and calendar.

I have understandably focused my column on the Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam over the years, but the world cannot come together in understanding unless it begins to know...Read more

Let us pray for what we have, not for what we want

Religion / God Squad /

Q: The question I would most like to ask God is what is the purpose of prayer? When someone is sick, we are asked to pray for them. And if they die, it's often said that it was the will of God. But if they recover, the power of prayer is often given credit. Do you think enough prayers will change God's mind? It seems like that would give an ...Read more

God can be humorous, but always purposeful

Religion / God Squad /

Q: First, Rabbi Gellman, let me thank you for the wisdom, tolerance and kindness you share in your column. I look forward to reading it each week and have often been comforted by your perceptions. As for questions for God, I don't really have any serious ones. I trust Him. I trust that it will all be set forth for us in His time. I believe God ...Read more

Loving an enemy is a noble endeavor I can't align with

Religion / God Squad /

Tommy (Father Tom Hartman, my pal) and I would often joke about what would be the hardest thing for each of us to accept if we ever converted. For me, the hardest Christian belief to understand and accept was the Trinity. The idea of three Gods who were really one God but also three but really one ... was a mystery wrapped up in a riddle. For ...Read more

Death is nothing -- and everything

Religion / God Squad /

I want to thank all of you, dear readers, who took the time and the effort to send me condolences on the passing of my mom Rosalie. You did what any community of faith or friendship can do at its best; you convinced me that I am not alone in my grief.

Reader M told me of how her first great grandchild was born on the day my mom died. Reader T ...Read more

After the loss of my mother, a few notes on how to console a mourner

Religion / God Squad /

I am 71 and I just became an orphan.

My dad Sol died in 2007 at age 90 and now Mom has died at age 97. Rosalie died on Dec. 14, before the Sabbath. At that moment I became an orphan.

I have been thinking that the Bible speaks about caring for orphans often (Psalm 146:9; Exodus 22:22; Deuteronomy 16:14, 10:18, 24:17, 27:19; ...Read more

Not every Bible passage is true

Religion / God Squad /

Q: How do we know that the Bible is the word of God? -- From J, a devoted reader in Wilmington, N.C.

A: Your question, dear J, is at the root of every religion on earth. The path of every religion goes first through the experience of revelation of the founder (Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, etc.). They tell of their revelation and the ...Read more

What I love about Christmas

Religion / God Squad /

I recently tried to carefully remember what my former partner, Fr. Tom Hartman, loved about Hanukkah.

I want to thank so many of you, dear readers, who wrote thanking me for bringing Tommy to life. A very few (actually just one grumpy soul) was upset about the idea of a priest loving a Jewish holiday more than Christmas. Well, Mr...Read more

What do we look like in Heaven?

Religion / God Squad /

Q: I really enjoy your article here on Sundays. I will ask you a question that I am afraid my minister would be very surprised at my asking him. I am a Christian and believe I will go to Heaven, but I have often wondered what it will really be like. Will I really see my Mom, Dad and many close loved ones and friends? How will I recognize them? ...Read more

In Judaism, home is where the holidays are

Religion / God Squad /

This is my 71st Hanukkah but it is my second Hanukkah without Tommy.

Father Tom Hartman was my best friend and my partner in the God Squad. When he died on Feb. 16, 2016, I wanted to end this column that we always wrote together, but Tommy made me promise that I would continue to write it. I have ...Read more

A few reader additions on what we should be thankful for

Religion / God Squad /

Many dear readers sent me lovely notes about items that got thanked at their Thanksgiving tables. You were blessed in thinking of less-thanked and you have brought a blessing to us all. So before the spirit of Thanksgiving is swamped by other holiday tasks, here are some of my favorites...


-- Dear Rabbi ...Read more

An inside look at the five lost commandments

Religion / God Squad /

Q: No doubt you've see Mel Brooks' "History of the World." There is a scene where Moses comes down from the mountain with 15 commandments from God. He has three tablets and one falls and breaks, leaving us with 10. What do you think were the lost five commandments? -- From L and J

A: A Good Thanksgiving table question! I will ...Read more

Some appreciation for the less-thanked among us

Religion / God Squad /

Every Thanksgiving my column before the holiday is a list of things and people for which and for whom I am thankful. My list is always quirky and filled with things that are normally not thanked and not thought of on this great and universal national holiday (I am still getting thank you notes for including squirrels one year).

...Read more

The transcendental bonds of Veterans Day should bring us all together

Religion / God Squad /

Veterans Day occurs every year in America on Nov. 11. It originated as a celebration and memorial for those who fought and died in World War I, which was formally concluded on Nov. 11, 1918 at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. The holiday...Read more

Stand in unison to help Pittsburgh heal

Religion / God Squad /

The attack in Pittsburgh was the most violent attack on Jews in the history of America. More than 11 people might have been murdered had it not been for the towering courage of the police who always run into blood. I ask you to pray for the injured and pray for the families of the victims and pray for the souls of those who sleep now forever ...Read more

My dad was an anonymous Christian

Religion / God Squad /

Q: Your recent column alluding to the fact that Father Tom and your father could know of each other's presence in Heaven raised some questions for me. If the God of the Old Testament is the true God, would that not preclude the possibility that Father Tom would be in the same Heaven as your father? However, if Jesus is the true savior, would ...Read more


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