The IDEAS Campaign

Please support our IDEAS campaign and be our partners in creating a dynamic and compassionate Orthodoxy. Contribute now! Supporters are featured on our online Scroll of Honor.


Rabbi Marc D. Angel answers your questions on our YouTube channel!


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.



I do not believe that Orthodox Jews are more dishonest than other people, and I like to think that Orthodox Jews are more honest. But why are we not surprised when we read or hear about Orthodox Jews accused of cheating or bribing? Why do we laugh at the assumption that Orthodox Jewish sponsorship guarantees the trustworthiness and honesty of a business venture?

When praying as a congregation, we are a community. We are plural. Yet, we are also unique individuals who have different thoughts, feelings, talents and sensitivities. We come together as a “we” but when we begin praying, we do so as an “I.” The spiritual reality is created when the “we” and the “I” are in harmony, when the entire community senses oneness among themselves and in their relationship with God.

Rabbi Halevi was fairly conservative within classical sources, and deferential to his predecessors. At the same time, he emphasized the inherent flexibility in halakhah, since there are many options within the boundaries of halakhic discourse. If one shuts down legitimate options, one harms the Jewish people and observance.

Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch is a classic example of the knowledge-lishmah school of thought. Not only does he extol the spiritual value of secular studies, he explicitly derides those who see knowledge as a tool to advance one's career.

Our fall semester highlighted a communal symposium on October 21 on Conversion to Judaism, and you can watch the presentations at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GG17aaahdPQ. As of this writing, we have had nearly 1000 views! Please watch the video and send the link to your friends so that we can reach an ever-growing audience. Please join us at our upcoming classes and programs.

If we wish to understand the development of middot and derekh eretz, we must understand that there is no one method, factor, or place (such as school, home, synagogue and so forth) that, can by itself, assure the development of middot and derekh eretz in our children. The job is bigger than that. We must become aware of all relevant factors and how they interact—and keep them in mind when we educate our children.