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Hanukkah reminds us that the Jewish People have long faced enemies of all kinds…but that we have been able to prevail! With the help of the Almighty, and with our own personal commitment, we will continue to bring light, love and kindness to our world.

Rabbi Dr. David de Sola Pool (May 16, 1885-December 1, 1970) was the foremost Sephardic rabbi in the United States during the middle decades of the 20th century. While scholars can list his many accomplishments and publications, the distinctive religious worldview that animated Dr. Pool’s life has remained relatively unexplored. This article will examine basic themes in Dr. Pool’s thinking, so that his unique contributions—and failures—might be better understood.

The lesson of Hanukkah is that religion and spirituality need to rise above petty politics. The light of Torah is not spread through arrogant, self-righteous authoritarianism; it is not spread by those who usurp power and who think they are above the law. As the prophet Zechariah taught: "Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts."

How does the importance of personal character, the ethical quality of the individual, compare as between a secular judge - say a United States federal judge or a state court judge - and a religious authority, specifically a rabbinic leader or decisor?

Thank you for your support of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals. As we celebrate our 14th anniversary, we appreciate your partnership in our work to foster an intellectually vibrant, compassionate and inclusive Orthodox Judaism. If you have not yet participated in our End of Year campaign, please do so soon. Each contribution, large or small, is a vote for the Institute's continued service to the community.

Anyone who is even partially involved in the life of a traditional synagogue becomes aware, sooner or later, that there is diversity within halakha. It would be rare to find two congregations that follow identical praxis. Yet most people I know seem to live comfortably with such diversity. Isn’t this strange? After all, if there is one God who gave us one Torah, shouldn’t there be one norm for all observant Jews?