University Network Update

Shalom. I hope you've been having a good summer, and I wish you all the best. Here are a few items of importance for members of the University Network of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals.

1. Please make sure that we have your correct mailing list on file. You may go to our website,, and check your My Account page. We plan to mail out the new issue of Conversations (Orthodoxy and Ethics) in early September, and it's important that we have your correct mailing address.

Spiritual Yearning:Thoughts on Parashat Eikev, July 31, 2010

I recently attended Shabbat morning services at a synagogue that was having a "Carlebach Shabbat". A group of "Carlebachians" led the services, and sang many of the prayers to music composed by the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach.

I happened to be sitting next to one of the organizers of this Shabbat event, and I asked him: what does a "Carlebach Shabbat" service provide, that seems to be lacking in the "regular" synagogue service? He pondered for a few moments, and then answered in one word: "Yearning".

I have been pondering this response ever since.

Sanctifying God's Name, Sanctifying our own Lives:Thoughts on Parashat Devarim, July 17. 2010

We recently returned from a wonderful trip to Israel. As we sat in the waiting area of the BenGurion airport terminal before the flight, we noticed a young family nearby--a husband and wife and their little children aged 12 and under. As could be expected, the children were restless and wanted to run around and play.

The mother, in a soft voice, spoke to the children: It's fine to play, but please remember: everything you do should be a "kiddush Hashem" (a sanctification of God's name). The children understood their mother's message, and they played nicely and quietly.

Updates for University Network of Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals

Shalom uvrakha. I hope you all had a good Pessah. Best wishes to you as the academic year draws to a close. Here are a few reminders.

1. The next issue of our journal, Conversations, is due out in mid-May. The theme is: Orthodoxy and Diversity. Please make sure that we have your correct mailing address by going to your My Account page on the Institute's website:

Think Carefully, Then Speak: Thoughts for Shabbat April 17, 2010

The Talmud (Gittin 67A) reports a conversation between Rabbi Yehuda haNasi (the great compiler of the Mishna) and his son Rabbi Shimon. The rabbis had established a hierarchy of authorities; in case of disagreements, the opinions of certain sages were considered more authoritative than the opinons of their colleagues. The sage who usually prevailed was Rabbi Yosei. Rabbi Shimon asked his father: why do we rule according to Rabbi Yosei, when some of his colleagues were known to be more incisive?

Rivets, Kashruth and the Jewish Future: Thoughts on Parashat Shemini, April 10, 2010