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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.


The Lion and the Compass

Maimonides (d. 1204) tolerated no idea that failed the test of reason. An ancient and robust tradition of superstition among the Jews did not deter him. Maimonides either ignored or rationalized scores of Talmudic halachot based on astrology, demonology, and magic.

Maimonides denounced astrology passionately, despite its popularity, calling the belief “stupidity” and its practitioners “fools.” His argument bears emphasis: Maimonides opposed astrology primarily on scientific rather than religious grounds. The Torah prohibits divination from the sky, he ruled, not because it displays a lack of faith in God, but simply because it is false.


Rabbis Gone Wild

RABBIS GONE WILD
RABBI STEWART WEISS

This has not been, to say the least, a banner year for the Rabbinic
profession. Almost every month - or is it week?! - some new scandal hits the
headlines, giving rabbis - and by extension, all of Judaism
- a black eye. And these are not just minor offenses, like getting a bit
tipsy at the Shabbat kiddush, or forgetting if the eulogy is for a man or a
woman, or even taking a few liberties with the Discretionary Fund. No, these
are actually culpable crimes we are talking about, peccadilloes that scrape
the bottom of the Cholent pot, from voyeurism to adultery to larceny for
stealing synagogue funds to pay off blackmailers ready to reveal an illicit
liaison with an underage boy congregant. With an occasional game of naked


Upgrading the Hareidi Education System with General Subjects

Israel’s new political reality—with the two main Ultra-Orthodox or Haredi political parties, the Sephardic-based Shas party and the Ashkenazi-based United Torah Judaism, inside the government won’t help the next generation of Haredi young people—in fact, on the contrary, it will perpetuate a broken system. While Shas and United Torah Judaism have negotiated financial windfalls for their constituencies, as well as a pull-back on the demand that Ultra-Orthodox young men serve in the Israeli Defense Force, this old style of conducting business could be harmful to our community’s young people.


Review of Rabbi Marc Angel's New Commentary on Pirkei Avot

The Kosher Bookworm
Pirkei Avot As An Intellectual Challenge
by Alan Jay Gerber

With Shavuot now behind up, we once again commence our learning of Pirkei Avot starting with the first chapter. Thus, it is most opportune to bring to your attention a new commentary by a former classmate of mine at Yeshiva University and the Director of The Institute For Jewish Ideas and Ideals, Rabbi Marc Angel. This commentary entitled, "The Koren Pirkei Avot" features a translation by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, and a publisher's preface by Matthew Miller. In this preface Miller asks and answers the following question:


The end of an era for Italy's Jews: Why young Italian rabbis are bowing to Israeli Orthodoxy

(This article, by Anna Momigliano, appeared in the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, April 27, 2015.

When Daniela Dawan’s first nephew was born, in late 2000, the family travelled from Milan to Rome to have Italy’s most prestigious rabbi, Elio Toaff, perform a giyur katan – newborn conversion – on the infant, whose mother wasn’t Jewish.

By the time Dawan's niece was born in early 2002, however, no Orthodox rabbi willing to perform such a conversion on the offspring of a mixed marriage could be found in the whole country. Toaff, the charismatic Tuscan-born rabbi who headed the Jewish community of Rome for half a century (1951-2001), had retired a few months earlier.


With A Little Help From Our Friends

My remarks are dedicated to my paternal cousin, Shlomo Guttman and to my wife’s paternal uncle, David Teitlebaum, who both fell in Milchemet HaShichrur. May their memories be for a blessing.

I would also like to thank Dr Jeffrey Gurock, professor of American-Jewish history at YU for his leads and encouragement in my research.


THE EVER GROWING TORAH MODEL: A portrait of Moses as a young man, national leader, and teaching model

This engaging monograph is a deceptively simple read. Written in a disciplined, clear diction, Rabbi Zvi Grumet writes and teaches like a High School Yeshiva rebbe, unflinchingly focusing on the received Torah’s text and message[s], as lucidly and probingly as he can, so that his student/reader may understand his content and internalize the Torah’s normative message. The superficially scholarly reader will likely be disappointed because Grumet avoids all jargon, esotericisms, and technical terms that might confuse, distract, or otherwise disturb the targeted “non-academic” Orthodox reader. He is not writing to, or for, the secular scholarly community, at least as his first audience.


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