Dear friends, we seem to be living in a time of extremism. The news from the Middle East abounds in extremism. Groups like ISIS, Al Qaida and Hamas are willing to commit the worst atrocities in the name of their vision of truth, which they deem to be the only and exclusive truth. The spirit of extremism has entered our national political life as well. Political compromise in many quarters is a dirty word. Political leaders of all stripes are afraid to express their views less they arouse the wrath of the “true believers”. Worst of all, friendships and even family relationships are disrupted by political differences. The spirit of extremism which marks our age has, perhaps inevitably, entered our Jewish community as well. We are divided around political issues particularly around Israel but even more so around religious issues. The latest statistical information shows that the numbers of Jews who are completely estranged from Judaism has increased as have the numbers following the strictest of religious practices. More and more, Jews have almost no contact with or knowledge of Judaism, or alternatively live a kind of Jewish life which is cut off from the larger society as much as possible. What we are in need of in our political as well as in our religious life is the moderate center. I refer to the moderate center as traditional Judaism. It is practiced by Jews from all groups but I believe it is also exemplified by a group I have been associated with for many years called The Union For Traditional Judaism. As Jews, we have certain basic practices and observances such as keeping kosher, marking the Shabbat as a special day, observance of the holidays and prayer. We are however part of the fabric of society. We try to embrace what is current in society while retaining our own outlook and practices. Traditional Judaism is marked by adhering to our traditional way of life but with a moderate sensible and common sense approach. The great philosopher Maimonides echoing Aristotle wrote of the golden mean. He thought that one should strive for the middle in all areas of life and avoid extremes even in religious matters. At the present moment in history I believe that this is excellent advice to follow.