February 14th: Comic Books As Social Change

In the 1930s, it was nearly impossible for Jews to get jobs in the entertainment industry (or any industry, for that matter). Nobody wanted to hire someone who was such a cultural “other”. As a result, talented and passionate Jews had to go out and figure out how to break into the industry on their…

February 9th: Between Politics and Sport

The Winter Olympics begin this week, as the global community joins together in South Korea to celebrate the unifying joy of sports. More so than in past years, this Olympics puts into sharp relief the politics going on between the nations present and the goals for the competition as a whole. At a time when…

January 23rd: 1984 Is Just Around the Corner

In 1949, George Orwell wrote his idea of a dystopian society, constructed around an all-knowing and oppressive society. His book, 1984, has remained a classic for nearly 70 years. What we didn’t know at the time was just how timely it would end up being today. This winter, my brother, father, and I decided to…

January 2nd: Journalism Is Here to Stay

For the past ten years, or so, adults have been predicting the demise of journalism with comments to college students sounding something like: “Why would you want a degree in a dying industry?” On some level, it is true. Newspapers all across the country have been struggling to sell their product, and the internet has…

December 27th: Looking at Ourselves in The Mirror

Over the course of this past semester, I watched the Netflix series Black Mirror. As a tech enthusiast and having studied social media in college, I was particularly intrigued by a show that handled the post-utopian challenges of how own advancement as a society. The format of the episodes, each as a stand-alone mini-movie, allowed…

November 29th: Sean Hannity Isn’t What Some Think He Is

The New York Times wrote a story this week on Sean Hannity, calling him one of America’s most influential TV personalities. The fact that Hannity even agreed to participate was shocking enough, considering the crusade he and his friend Donald Trump have undertaken against the “liberal” media. Within the story, though, was a line that…

November 8th: One Year Later

One year ago today, our country chose a direction. A nation watched as half of the country celebrated triumph and half mourned a devastating loss. One year ago, we went to bed knowing our country had picked a direction, but certainly not our destination. Now, I ask: how have we done? This isn’t a political…

Rosh Hashanah Morning Sermon 2017

Below is a transcript of the sermon given by Austin Zoot at Temple Oheb Shalom in Sandusky, Ohio on September 21st, 2017. When the year 5776 began two years ago, I was living in Israel, beginning my rabbinical school journey. During that year, I was learning about the basics of our faith, the history of our…

September 6th: True American Greatness

We were promised in 2016 that Donald Trump would “Make America Great Again.” At the time, plenty of people wanted to answer a few questions. During which period was the greatness Trump wanted to return to? What is it that makes America less than great right now? How do we do this exactly? It is…

September 5th: What is a “Traditional Family” Anyway?

This weekend, I took the bait, and clicked on a link for a political personality test. It was a 70 question quiz that was going to show me how my political beliefs fit onto a spectrum of ideology. One of the questions stopped me in my tracks. I was asked whether or not I believe…

August 23rd: Football Can’t be Football Anymore

During a preseason football game last week, two of the game’s most exciting young players made a powerful statement. While teammate Khalil Mack kneeled for the national anthem, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr placed a hand on his shoulder, a symbolic gesture of support. This week, about a dozen Cleveland Browns kneeled in a prayer circle…

July 20th: Broadening Our Horizons to Deepen Our Understandings

When was the last time you read an article written by someone with a different skin color than your own? When was the last time you read a blog post offered by someone of a different sexual orientation? Have you ever read a sermon by someone who practices another faith? We, as a society, have…