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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.

John Galt Meets the Master of Prayer: Conflicting Visions of Utopia

On this coming Rosh HaShana the Shmita (Sabbatical) year (5775 – 2014-15) will begin. According to its laws, routine agricultural activities are prohibited and its produce is ownerless, free to be taken by all. At the end of the year, Shmitat Kesafim (the remission of debts) also takes effect. If we look at this also in the context of the (currently inapplicable) Yovel (Jubilee) year, which in addition to the Shmita laws also frees the slaves and includes massive agrarian reform as all land that had been bought and sold in the previous fifty years reverts to its original owners, we witness a massive societal change with utopian overtones.

AIDS and Circumcision


Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen (z’l)

Question: Does the current widespread occurrence of AIDS in any way affect the performance of circumcision?

Identification and Dislocation: the Breakdown of Worshipful Expression

Identification and Dislocation:
the Breakdown of Worshipful Expression

by Michael Haruni

One of the dilemmas we faced during the preparation of the Nehalel siddur was over the instructions, or “rubric”. For on the one hand there is, undoubtably, tremendous value in the detailed instructions appearing in the major contemporary English-language siddurim on how and where to bow in Amidah, where to kiss tzitziyot during and after Keriyat Shema, how to wave the lulav, and so forth. Baaley teshuvah especially have, since the advent of the ArtScroll siddur, found themselves able as never before to participate competently and confidently in shul procedures. The frum-from-birth users have benefited too, it must be said, filling in finer details previously eluding them.

Some of My Best Friends: a Book Review

Some of My Best Friends
A Journey through Twenty-First Century Anti-Semitism
By Ben Cohen
Edition Critic, 2014, 215 pages

Will Our Boys Fight Again?

Throughout the centuries, historians, philosophers and anthropologists have struggled with the concept called Israel more than with nearly any other idea. While attempting to place Israel within the confines of conventional history, they experienced constant academic and philosophical frustration. Any definitions they suggested eventually broke down due to significant inconsistencies. Was Israel a nation, a religion or an altogether mysterious entity that would forever remain unexplainable? By some, it was seen less as a nation and more as a religion; others believed the reverse to be true. And then there were those who claimed that it does not fall into either of these categories.

Rabbi Israel Drazin Reviews Dr. Daniel Sperber's New Book

Review by Israel Drazin

On the Relationship of Mitzvot between Man and his Neighbor and Man and his Maker
By Daniel Sperber
Urim Publications, 2014, 221 pages

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.

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