The People of Israel Lives: Thoughts on Parashat Vayikra, March 20, 2010

Some years ago, my wife and I visited Rome. Among the historic sites we visited was the Arch of Titus--a monument to the Roman conquest of Judea in 70 C.E. The Romans destroyed Jerusalem, razed the Temple, killed and enslaved many thousands of Jews--and sent our people into an Exile that lasted until the rise of the State of Israel in 1948. On the inner wall of the Arch of Titus is a depiction of the Roman victory over the Jews, with the Romans carrying off the Menorah which had graced the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

University Network News

We are pleased to announce the three winners of the University Network essay contest.

GAIL (GILA) HELLER, Brandeis University: "Feminism, Orthodoxy and Spirituality: My Journey to Wearing a Kippah and Back Again"

NOAH LEAVITT, Bernard Revel Graduate School and Yeshivat Chovevei Torah: "The Ethical Impulse in Kabbalah"

BARUCH PELTA, Touro College South: "Judaism: To Thine Own Self Be True"

Listening for Our Inner Song: Thoughts on Parashat Lekh Lekha, October 31, 2009

(This Angel for Shabbat column is sponsored by Yossie and Linnie (Tovli) Simiryan, in commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the passing of Reb Shlomo Carlebach.)

After going to battle to save his nephew Lot, Abraham meets with the king of Sodom. The king offers Abraham the booty from the war but Abraham declines to take anything for himself. Abraham introduced his response with the words: "I have lifted up my hand unto the Lord, God Most High, Maker of heaven and earth..." Most commentators take this to mean that Abraham took an oath.

The Charisma Conundrum: Thoughts on Parashat Vayera, November 7, 2009

Some years ago, I learned about a doctoral dissertation that explored the nature of charisma. The author spent many hours talking with and observing individuals who were widely regarded as being very successful in their interpersonal relationships. Among the group of charismatic people were clergy, doctors, teachers, businesspeople, and a bartender.

What qualities did these individuals have that made others feel attracted to them? What was at the root of their charisma? Why were these men and women so highly regarded among their peers?

Thoughts for Thanksgiving 2009

online discussion group for University Network members

Shalom. I hope you had a good Thanksgiving holiday, and wish you a happy Hanukkah in advance.

We now have about 150 members in our University Network, with students from throughout the US as well as several other countries. Our group continues to grow, and we hope you'll invite your fellow students to sign up for the University Network by going to our website

Important Reminder

Our last University Network Newsletter offered you a free copy of Rabbi Marc Angel's new book, "Maimonides, Spinoza and Us: Toward an Intellectually Vibrant Judaism." The book is due out early in November. In order to receive your copy, you need to send an email to [email protected], and give your current mailing address with your request for a copy of the book. Many of you have already done this, so you need not do so again. However, if you haven't yet requested your copy, please do so asap. THIS OFFER IS GOOD ONLY UNTIL NOVEMBER 1.