The God Squad: Keeping the faith

Religion / God Squad /

Q: Dear Rabbi Gellman, I really enjoy reading your God Squad column. I am a Christian, but boy do I have questions.

I do believe in God, although I don't think we really understand God. At least I don't. I wonder how or why a perfect God could have created such imperfect people. We don't take care of our planet; we are not kind to animals or ...Read more

The God Squad: Ramadan Mubarak

Religion / God Squad /

Our Passover/Easter meditations of the past two weeks may have diverted our spiritual gaze. The glorious and unifying truth is that all three of the great Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are celebrating their formative holidays this springtime, namely Passover, Easter and Ramadan. It is always true that Passover and Easter ...Read more

The God Squad: Passover and Easter but mostly Easter

Religion / God Squad /

Last week we offered Passover blessings. This used to be Father Tom Hartman’s job but now I have to cover both our paths up the same mountain. This week, I offer my heartfelt blessings to all my Christian readers for a joyous Easter this Sunday, April 4. In the winter, it is just not possible to understand the Christianity by unpacking ...Read more

The God Squad: Passover

Religion / God Squad /

This week’s column is about what it means to eat a meal for God. Next week, we will focus on Easter and ask what it means to eat a meal of God.

When Father Tom Hartman was alive, he would write the Passover column and I would write the Easter column. It was our way of proving and sustaining the mission statement of the God Squad that, “We ...Read more

The God Squad: From the mailbag

Religion / God Squad /


In your column about God’s sense of humor you mentioned the verse in Ecclesiastes that was transformed into the song “Turn, turn, turn.” It was not Bob Dylan, but Pete Seeger who added additional words, wrote the music, and made the original recording, which was covered by the Byrds. I think God has a wacky sense of humor. Thank you...Read more

The God Squad: The hidden God

Religion / God Squad /

Q: What theological system says that "God is only 'transcendent' far off and aloof, uncaring? What is the trait that human beings have that leads them to ask big questions like “Who is God?” or “What is man?” or “What is the meaning of life?” Do all these questions belong to some specific field of study? (From M)

A: Thank you, dear ...Read more

The God Squad: All the good things he did will never be known

Religion / God Squad /

My remembrances of my best friend, Father Tom Hartman, have lingered past the actual fifth anniversary of his death on Feb. 16, 2016. I think of him every day and what I am thinking about now is the very best thing I think one can say about a loved one who has died, and that is this, “All the good things he did will never be known.”

I ...Read more

The God Squad: Make sure that all your good friends are actually good

Religion / God Squad /

Q: I do hope you answer this, as I count on your counsel and I am struggling with this. I have a friend of long standing who was not in the required categories for the COVID-19 vaccine but nonetheless, took advantage of the early confusion to cut the vaccine line, metaphorically pushing someone out of the lifeboat who is in much greater need. ...Read more

The God Squad: Some look up! Stories with a few angels sprinkled in

Religion / God Squad /

Thank you, dear readers, for your stories about angels who have helped you get through this pandemic by appearing in your life at just the right time. People wonder how I can believe in angels, but I do. The Bible teaches us that God needs to contact us, and angels are God’s post office. They are people bearing a message from God that we are ...Read more

The God Squad: A card from Tommy delivered by a homeless angel

Religion / God Squad /

I got a holiday card from Tommy this week.

Father Tom Hartman, my partner and pal, has been dead since Feb. 16. 2016, but the card came last week. It was mailed two days before Christmas this year to the wrong address by the people (also angels) at the Holy Apostles soup kitchen on 296 Ninth Ave, New York, NY 10001 (Yes, you can send them a ...Read more

The God Squad: When was the last time someone took your breath way?

Religion / God Squad /

You know I have been trying recently in all my columns to send to you, dear readers, a simple but deeply profound message: LOOK UP!

Looking up means spending at least as much time in gratitude as you spend in complaining — at least as much time taking in the power of our blessings as we do taking in the pain of our burdens. The advice to look...Read more

The God Squad: God’s sense of humor

Religion / God Squad /

Q: I’ve been a huge fan of yours since you and the Monsignor took the good news to the Imus show many years ago. Someone I know posted this on Facebook today, and although I vehemently disagreed with her, I was struggling for an appropriate response. Would you please comment on this? “I know one thing for certain ... God is laughing at ...Read more

The God Squad: Death is a reality that deserves honest articulation

Religion / God Squad /

Q: I look to you for information, peace in my heart and I just love your sense of humor. I am totally destroyed over the present conditions we're having to live in between the COVID-19 virus, isolation and the hatred in our country because of politics. I know I'm one of probably millions and sometimes I just don't know what to do to stay ...Read more

The God Squad: What happens at Jewish burials

Religion / God Squad /

Q: I have enjoyed reading your column for years and have learned a lot about the different religions in our world. A person I work with, who is Jewish, lost his mother recently. Due to the current pandemic, I had the opportunity to watch his mother's service via Zoom. I was surprised to listen to their version of the 23rd Psalm. But what ...Read more

The God Squad: New New Year’s resolutions from readers

Religion / God Squad /

I asked you, dear readers, to join me in the hunt for truly novel and spiritually impactful New Year’s resolutions. You flooded the inbox of my life. Thank you. Here is a sampling of some of the things some of you will sometimes try to sometimes do…

From S in Branford, Connecticut:

My resolutions are to be kind and to stay positive. I have...Read more

The God Squad: New Year’s Resolutions

Religion / God Squad /

Of all the popular secular rituals that sometimes enrich (Thanksgiving family meals) and sometimes degrade (Halloween vandalism) our public life, my favorite is the custom of making resolutions at the end of the year. I know that most of these resolutions are honored mostly in their abandonment and yet I still think they are a spiritually ...Read more

The God Squad: Some great ideas for spiritually acceptable gifts from spiritually acceptable readers

Religion / God Squad /

Hi, Rabbi Gellman, this year the adults in my family have decided, instead of gift to each other, we are donating what we would have spent to a veterans organization that helps homeless veterans with food, housing and provides other assistance as needed. Have a safe and happy 2021 — M

Purchase a subscription to a magazine or newspaper as a ...Read more

The God Squad: What the rabbi loves about Christmas

Religion / God Squad /

One of the oldest traditions that Father Tom Hartman and I created and preserved during the many years we wrote this column together was to write two holiday columns in December. In one, Tommy would tell what he loved about Chanukah and I would tell what I loved about Christmas. With his passing from this world to the world to come, the Chanukah...Read more



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