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Meet Our 2013-14 University Fellows


ANGEL PARA SHABAT ~ Reflexiones Sobre las Porciones Semanales de la Torá

A partir del año 2008, el Instituto de Ideas e Ideales Judíos ha venido publicando una columna semanal “Angel for Shabbat” escrita por el Rabino Marc D. Angel. Muchos miles de lectores han disfrutado de estas columnas en el sitio web del Instituto (jewishideas.org) y a través de su distribución por correo electrónico.
Este volumen recopila en forma impresa una colección de estas reflexiones sobre la porción de la Torá de la semana.

Film Review: "Ida"

The Film Ida
A review by Roger Mesznik; July 14, 2014

Today, Lynn and I saw (with friends) the film IDA, a Polish film provided with English subtitles.

I was moved and puzzled, induced to think and grieve, and left a bit cold. I am very glad to have seen it, and I recommend it.



Rabbi Hayyim Angel


The past generation was blessed with the sui generis Professor Nehama Leibowitz (1905-1997), who revolutionized Tanakh education through her systematic treatment of classical commentary and interpretation of the biblical text. Her work continues to play a prominent role in religious Tanakh learning today. [1]

Our generation has witnessed a flowering of Orthodox women publishing on diverse facets of religious Tanakh learning, ranging from associative, insight-based derashot, to rigorous analytical peshat scholarship, to parshanut scholarship that emphasizes the contributions of individual commentators. In this essay, I will briefly survey the work of several outstanding scholars.

Thoughts on Spirituality, Prayer, Life and Death

What is the most significant thing that ever happened to you, and what did it teach you?

"Peshat Isn't So Simple"-- a Book Review

Review by Israel Drazin

Peshat Isn’t so Simple
By Rabbi Hayyim Angel
Kodesh Press, 2014, 311 pages

For over two millennia most Jewish Bible commentators did not explain the Bible’s plain meaning, called “peshat” in Hebrew, but used the biblical verses and events as sources for homiletical lessons. Some exceptions existed, such as the writings of Maimonides, Abraham ibn Ezra, and Rashbam. Unfortunately many people thought that what rabbis told them in sermons was what the Bible actually states. They believed imaginative stories, such as Abraham destroying his father’s idols, are events told in the Torah.

Mourning the Three Murdered Israeli Teenagers

The Torah records the reaction of Aaron when he learned the sad news of the tragic deaths of his sons: “Aaron was silent,” vayidom Aharon. Commentators have offered various explanations of Aaron’s silence. He may have been speechless due to shock; he may have had angry thoughts in his heart, but he controlled himself from uttering them; he may have been silent as a sign of acceptance of God’s judgment.

Within biblical tradition, there are a number of phrases relating to confrontation with tragedy.

“Min haMetsar Karati Y-ah,” I call out to God from distress. When in pain, it is natural to cry out to God, to shed tears, to lament our sufferings and our losses. To cry out when we are in distress is a first step in the grieving process.

When Bigger is Better

Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo has penned a powerful critique that justifies a vigorous response. The critique: Establishment synagogues are on the way out. Most are “religiously sterile and spiritually empty.” God has abandoned them and moved to smaller unconventional locations where people are thinking about Him and searching for Him.

Summer Book Sale and Summer Essay Contest

SUMMER BOOK SALE: We are offering a number of books at the special price of $10 per copy (includes shipping within North America). This sale is valid until August 20, 2014. To order, please email mdangel@jewishideas.org indicating the title/s, the quantity of each title, and the address to which the book/s should be mailed. You may pay by contributing the appropriate amount online at jewishideas.org; or by sending your check to Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals, 8 West 70th Street, New York, NY 10023. These books are great for your own library as well as for gifts to friends and relatives.

The Orphaned Adult: Confronting the Death of a Parent, by Marc D. Angel

Through an Opaque Lens, by Hayyim Angel

The Religious Zionism of Rabbi A.I. Kook, by Pinchas Polonsky

Book Review: The Crown of Solomon and Other Stories

The Crown of Solomon and Other Stories, is a second work of fiction by Rabbi Marc Angel. His first work of fiction, The Search Committee, is a series of thirteen monologues delivered by eleven people to a search committee seeking a new Rosh Yeshiva for Yeshivat Lita, pictured as a hareidi yeshiva located in Manhattan. In it, Angel creates eleven different voices all arguing their case in favor of one of two candidates for the position, one candidate representing the history of the yeshiva, the other a candidate for change. The novel is a novel of ideas which, though of broad interest, are particularly relevant in the Orthodox community

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