America is not just a powerful and vast country. It is also an idea, a compelling idea that has a message for all people in all lands. As American Jews, we are committed to the ideals of freedom and equality, human dignity and security, to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We have come far as a nation, but very much remains to be done.
The religious establishment is obligated to address cases of intermarriage, children of intermarriages, and people of Jewish ancestry. The key to Jewish unity is for Batei Din to recognize the rulings of others who follow different halakhic opinions, even when they vigorously disagree with their positions.
Amos’ great innovation on the biblical landscape is that Israel’s moral state directly affects its national destiny. Arguably, the Book of Amos is exclusively about morality and social justice.
As we commemorate Rabbi Hayyim Angel’s 25th anniversary of rabbinic service, we salute him not only for an amazing career as rabbi and teacher…but for being an exemplar of what a religious Jew should be. He is a clear-thinking and erudite rabbinic scholar, an inspiring educator, and a kind, sincere and thoughtful human being.
Rafael Medoff describes President Roosevelt’s dealings with Rabbi Stephen Wise as being manipulative, dishonest and expedient. Charmed by Roosevelt's commitment to progressive causes, Rabbi Wise (who helped found the ACLU, was a board member of the NAACP and was active in women's suffrage, labor and disarmament causes), found Roosevelt politically admirable.
The concept of the Chosen People is fraught with difficulties. Historically, it has brought much grief upon the Jewish people. It also has led some Jews to develop chauvinistic attitudes toward non-Jews. Nonetheless, it is a central axiom in the Torah and rabbinic tradition, and we therefore have a responsibility to approach the subject forthrightly. In this essay, we will briefly consider the biblical and rabbinic evidence regarding chosenness.
The Book of Genesis
The current policies of the Orthodox rabbinic/beth din establishment are causing anguish to thousands of would-be converts and their families; are turning would-be converts away from Orthodoxy; are de-legitimizing Orthodox rabbis and converts who do not subscribe to the "establishment" positions; are causing thousands of halakhic converts to fear that their and their children's halakhic status will be undermined.
How can an Orthodox Jew in today's world maintain faith in Torah in the face of the apparent challenges of natural science to that faith? Dr. Menachem Kellner examines Maimonides' approach to the issue and then proposes his own approach, one which relies upon reverting to what he understands as classic Jewish definitions of faith.
During the Covid 19 pandemic, synagogues have been closed for quite a few weeks. As we look forward to the re-opening of our synagogues, this is a good time to re-think the role of synagogues in our lives and how synagogues can more effectively serve our needs.
When we reach the end of days, the unity that we are currently missing will be manifest and the Great Faith will be the reality for all. Our task is to build toward that future by uplifting the world with our commitment to faith, to our connection to spirit, to love our fellow human beings and acknowledge doubt along the journey as a necessary companion.