Rabbi Michael Rothbaum

Rabbi Michael Rothbaum serves as rabbi/educator at Beth Chaim Congregation in Danville, CA, and lives in Oakland with his partner, Yiddish singer Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell. Rabbi Mike has received accolades for his efforts in religious school, b'nai mitzvah, youth group, and camp settings. He has worked extensively with faith-based social justice organizations, including Bend the Arc, JFREJ, and AJWS. He's appeared on WAMC, CNN and WABC-TV, and one of his sermons is included in the anthology "Peace, Justice, and Jews: Reclaiming Our Tradition."

News and Politics

Labor Day: Who Steps Up for Justice in the Death of Maria Fernandes & Too Many Other Innocent Workers

Maria Fernandes was a hard worker. Not just at her job. At her three jobs, including shifts at three different Dunkin’ Donuts. Our sacred text is clear: “measure the distance to the cities which are around him who is slain.” Measure the distance. The cities of the slain are our cities. The responsibility is on our elders. On our judges. On our leaders. On us. Who will step forward?

News and Politics

Poem for the Kansas Shootings

Then came the ox

who drank the tears

that fell from the eyes

that saw the slain

who fell from the bullets

shot from the gun

held by the hands

raised by the man

who stoked the hate

Read More

Life and Action

Hate Speech, Identity & the Importance of Asking Questions — Part 2: The Jewish Push for LGBT Rights

I was the victim of hate speech. I will never forget the day. It was nothing if not shocking. I am openly gay, a Jewish man — a rabbi — who wears a yarmulke in public. Amidst a crowd of people, from all walks of life, I was told to leave.

A t this point I probably should say that the establishment where this hate speech took place was a gay bar. And the man who insisted I leave was gay. And also Jewish.

Life and Action

Women Have a Seat at the Table. But Wait. Who's Clearing? (Ahem, Men)

The sad truth is that, even in Jewish communities that stand for egalitarianism on the pulpit and in the pews, gender-equality disappears in the home.

Faith and Practice

Exult! Rejoice! Wait, Who’s Bedding Whom? Listening to Leviticus post-DOMA

The Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA means that the remaining voices of bias and hate in the conversation are primarily religious ones. This is nothing less than a crisis, writes Rabbi Michael Rothbaum, for anyone who believes that religion remains a prophetic voice for justice. It’s time to look more closely at Leviticus.

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