The Bible has a singular vision for Jews and humanity. Beginning with the unprecedented declaration in the first chapter of Genesis that all people are created in God’s Image (Genesis 1:26–27), the Torah and prophets present a program for Israel and humanity that can bring about a redeemed, harmonious, religious-ethical world.
Rabbi Hayyim Angel offers words of tribute in memory of Stephen Neuwirth.
Zina Schiff, a concert violinist, has performed and recorded on five continents. Her first recording was the solo violin score for MGM's The Fixer, and a major focus of her 16 CDs is classical Jewish music. This article appears in issue 28 of Conversations, the journal of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals. It was reprinted in issue 35 of Conversations.
The Torah broke new religious ground by taking existing Egyptian images and symbols and transforming them into an entirely new religious worldview that fostered worship of one God of supreme power. It used images and language that would have resonated with the Israelites of ancient Egypt, but used them in such a way as to lead them away from idolatry and toward monotheism.
It is with great sadness that we record the untimely passing of Stephen Neuwirth, board member and major supporter of our Institute since its inception in 2007. Stephen was a well-respected attorney, a community leader, philanthropist…a really fine human being.
When teachers explain Midrashim as literal and as binding traditions, they misinterpret the biblical text, the intent of the rabbis’ statements, and the breathtaking diversity of rabbinic interpretations.
Although it surely is important to have a proper base of knowledge, a person should not forego the right and responsibility of making individual evaluations and decisions. After careful thought and study, one has the right—and responsibility—to express a personal opinion.
Mordechai is universally recognized as a hero, but it wasn’t always that way. Like many heroes, his acts of greatness were extremely controversial at the time. Were it not for the benefit of hindsight, many of those who admire Mordechai today would have opposed him.
Jews have been the world’s scapegoats for many centuries. We want to notify the world: We resign, we no longer will serve as your scapegoat. From now on, please take your fears and feelings of inferiority to your mirror. Instead of projecting evil on Jews — or any other group — heal yourself.
In modern times, Tu B'Shvat has been revitalized as a time to celebrate the fruitfulness of the land of Israel, the remarkable achievements of modern Israeli agriculture and environmentalism, and the re-foresting of the land. The day is marked by eating fruits grown in Israel.