Health & Spirit

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

Why I won't be drawn into divisive political squabbles

Religion / God Squad /

Q: Blessings on you, Rabbi Marc. I have a very simple question. With the exception of Pope Francis, why has every clergy member, present company included, refused to speak of Donald Trump's behavior? He's the antithesis of Judeo-Christian values.

Thank you. -- From J

A: This is what I believe:

There has never been one city in America where ...Read more

'Praise God' could never be wrong in my book

Religion / God Squad /

Q: Why not gdsquad or g-dsquad? -- From S

A: After Edward Everett visited the Unitarian Church in Boston he remarked that the only time he heard God mentioned was when the janitor fell down the steps.

We tend to use God's name most often as a curse in front of the word "damn," and this is deeply distressing to me. God's name should be a ...Read more

Who is Sol? Why, let me tell you

Religion / God Squad /

Q: Who is Sol?

A: Before Tommy (ex-God Squad co-author Fr. Tom Hartman) died I asked him to send me a sign from Heaven that he was OK. This sign would settle a long-standing debate between us about whether or not it was possible to talk to dead people. It was also a way to settle my need to know that death was not the end of my best friend. ...Read more

A word for those struggling to accept God

Religion / God Squad /

Q: At 62 years of age, I am way past my youthful belief in the "God" most humans believe in. My pragmatic nature makes it impossible for me to believe as most of the world does. Quite frankly, I'm jealous. I wish I could. In my mind, it would be akin to convincing myself to like the taste of broccoli, even when I don't. How do you "make yourself...Read more

Live life for the glory of God in your retirement

Religion / God Squad /

From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Q: I am looking forward to retiring and enjoying life but my elderly parents tell me it isn't what it's cracked up to be. They don't do a good job at explaining why, can you? -- E.R.

A: Life is full of changes, but one of the greatest comes with retirement. Many look forward to it; others dread it. ...Read more

The God Squad Not Moving This Week

Religion / God Squad /

The God Squad will not move Wednesday, Sept. 19. We are subbing Rev. Billy Graham's My Answer column.

The swiveling menorah has come around to teach a lesson

Religion / God Squad /

For every journey there is a symbol that marks the journey. For Dorothy and the Lion and the Tin Man and the Scarecrow, the symbol was the Yellow Brick Road. For Christianity, the symbol is the cross. For Islam, the symbol is the crescent. What is the symbol for the Jewish journey? You might guess that the ultimate Jewish symbol is the Star of ...Read more

Satan's role has changed over time

Religion / God Squad /

Q: Hello Rabbi Gellman, I was one of your students at Temple Beth Torah. I have found myself totally confused about the book of Job, and some of my Christian friends have been using it to prove Satan exists. I was curious about your views. Thank you so much. -- From J

A: Great to hear from you, J. You must have missed my Satan Sermon at the ...Read more

Always remember to give thanks for your blessings

Religion / God Squad /

Q: A group of 100 or 1,000 people is hard for me to envision, and so when I read about millions and more who suffer hunger, disease and fear for their very lives and safety, I cannot begin to comprehend it. Why was I was chosen to live the life God has given me? Why was I chosen to have love, comfort, warmth, food, safety and the beauty of a ...Read more

While in need of serious reform, it's not time to lose faith in the Catholic Church

Religion / God Squad /

This may seem like a very bad time for someone who is not even a Catholic to defend priests, but that is what I need to do this week.

Tommy (My deceased friend and partner for many years, Fr. Thomas Hartman) and I lived through the first big pedophilia priest scandal in Boston, and at the time I remember that we did our best to condemn in the ...Read more

Arguments for -- and against -- the death penalty

Religion / God Squad /

Q: What do you think about Pope Francis' recent edict on the death penalty? Sincere thanks and God's abundant blessings! -- S from Buffalo, N.Y.

A: Following the lead of his two predecessors but going further, Pope Francis has altered the Catechism of the Catholic Church to eliminate all doubts about the Church's position on the death penalty. ...Read more


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