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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.

In Appreciation of the Institute's Work

The Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals reaches many thousands of people worldwide with a message of an intellectually vibrant, compassionate and inclusive Orthodox Judaism. We receive many emails and letters expressing appreciation for our work. Below are excerpts from some recent communications we've received.

***You write that I received no goods or services in return for my contribution to the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals. No goods or services? Not true. The educational benefits from the Institute are immeasurable.

***I am writing this email as a thank you for starting the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals, and I want you to know that you are making a profound impact upon lives.

Rabino Alfredo Goldschmidt on his rabbinic work

Rabino Alfredo Goldschmidt of Bogota, Colombia, describes his rabbinic work

Study links synagogue affiliation to better health

Study links synagogue affiliation to better health
January 14, 2015 6:50am

(JTA) — Regular synagogue attendance may make you healthier, a new study indicates.
A study of four large American Jewish urban communities by Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion found that “adults who affiliate with a Jewish religious denomination and attend synagogue report significantly better health than secular or non-practicing Jews,” Jeff Levin, director of the institute’s Program on Religion and Population Health, said in a statement issued Tuesday by the Texas university.

History or Heresy

Students of the Talmud may encounter some strange and troubling passages, especially within its aggadic sections.

This is hardly a new phenomenon. Skepticism regarding Talmudic realia — scientific, historical, and other non-legal observations recorded in the Talmud — far predates the modern period. The reliability of Talmudic medicine, for example, was questioned by the Geonim of Babylonia as early as the tenth century.

Much of this material can be understood only in historical context. When the sages commented on nature they drew on popular beliefs or used the limited observational techniques of their age. The rabbis acknowledged their own scientific shortcomings; they conceded, for example, that Gentile astronomers had bested them in a debate about the sun’s path at night.

A nice review by "The Kosher Bookworm"

The Kosher Bookworm
The Study of Bible Commentary--Fascinating
by Alan Jay Gerber

This past week the Young Israel of Lawrence Cedarhurst hosted one of America's
leading interpreters of the Bible text and commentaries, Rabbi Hayyim Angel.
Rabbi Angel's presentments that Shabbat to a total of over 700 attendees was
both impressive as to their attentiveness of the listeners as well as to the
comprehensiveness of the content of his message. As reflected in his literary
output over the past decade Rabbi Angel's message is to parse the inner workings
of the text of the holy writ, to define to "amcha" the methodology of peshat and
derash, so as to enable the average layperson to better understand the basic

Rav Kook and His View on the Modernization Of Judaism

Rabbi Abraham Yitzhak ha-Cohen Kook (1865–1935) is, without doubt, one of the most celebrated rabbis of the twentieth century. He is known to most people simply as Rav Kook, the founder of Religious Zionism, and we frequently overlook the fact that the foundations of his teachings reflect a deep modernization of the Jewish faith itself and of its approach to an array of contemporary problems.

From "secular" to "getting religious": an important story for modern Jews

If, ten years ago, someone had told me that I would be a member of the board of a religious, rabbinic organization, that I would attend synagogue services every Shabbat, that I would put on tefillin, and that I would even write an article for a religious publication – I would have laughed and explained how severely mistaken that person was: I, the proud member of Hashomer Hatzair, who is secular in every fiber of his body?! Nevertheless, something no less than a revolution took place in my life, and a substantive change in my worldview. Like many revolutions, the change began with something small. But, if I may, I would like to begin at the beginning.

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