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Conversations

Find out more about Conversations, the Institute's print journal, including how to get your copy. You can also review our Article Title or Author index.

 

 

When teaching the words of our Sages, we need to have the literary tact to know how they used language. If we teach hyperbolic statements as being literally true, then we not only misconstrue the teachings of our Sages, but we unwittingly mislead our students into believing problematic things. As they grow older and wiser, they may say to themselves: if our Rebbis were mistaken on this, perhaps they were mistaken on many other matters.

We are one nation, with many faces, and we have to learn to leverage our diversity and view it as a strength rather than a weakness. We might never be able to match China's demographics, but we can and should look for new opportunities for growth. That is why the time has come to undertake a concerted outreach effort to descendants of Jews.

We have a scandal in Israel relating to the evil practice that is spreading: the annulment or non-recognition of conversions performed by private rabbinical courts in their localities. These conversions are performed according to the halakha, with circumcision, ritual immersion in the mikva, and acceptance of the mitzvoth. This unprecedented aspersion of halakhically valid conversions emanates from Israel’s Chief Rabbinate.

Amtrak has the right idea – there’s a time and place for friendly conversation, but a Quiet Car and a minyan are not the place; a minyan certainly is not the time. Maybe we don't need rabbis to enforce decorum in shul. Maybe we should invite some Amtrak conductors and passengers to our minyanim. All aboard?

 

 

To our members and friends

I’d like to focus on the articles by Menachem Kellner on Rabbi Elhanan Wasserman and Rabbi Aharon Kotler. These two 20th century luminaries cast Rambam into the mold of a Hareidi sage. When they read Rambam, they understood him in a way that Rambam himself would have found problematic.