As Jewish days schools and Torah institutions, it is within the core of our ethos to make the character development of our children a fundamental aspect of their Jewish educational experience. This article by Rabbi David Teller continues this conversation with some suggested first steps.
The power of Jewish wisdom during the era of racial upheaval was perhaps most evident when Rabbi Joachim Prinz spoke right before King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech at the Washington Mall in 1963. In front of one of the largest civil rights marches in our country’s history, Prinz started by saying, “I speak to you as an American Jew.”
Although the medieval recasting of Hanukkah as a celebration of the victories of the Maccabees is important, the core of the talmudic observance celebrates the Sages' stand against assimilation and religious zealotry.
In a sense, we each are two people: our heavenly ideal self; and our earthly self. The heavenly self is an ideal to which we should aspire. We are each born with unique talents, sensitivities, opportunities. If we strive to develop to our maximum potential, we can approach the heavenly ideal of ourselves.
The people of ancient Egypt were fortunate to have a ruler such as Pharaoh. All nations--all communities-- could benefit from leaders who share Pharaoh’s wisdom, intellectual openness, “spaciousness of mind.”
Dealing with Intermarried Family/Friends; Sitting on the Floor; Owning Guns--Rabbi M. Angel Answers Questions from the Jewish Press
The Jewish Press has a bi-weekly feature in which a panel of Rabbis is asked a question. One of the respondents is Rabbi Marc Angel. Here are Rabbi Angel's responses to recent questions.
When we deal with others, it is essential to understand their non-verbal communication. Likewise, we need to be sure that our own non-verbal communication is in sync with our words. The line between authenticity and hypocrisy is easily blurred.
Whereas the Psalmist refers to tzadikim and to yishrei lev, the ideal is to incorporate both qualities in our lives. Our steadfast commitment to truth and Godliness can be accompanied by the joy of warm-hearted relationships with others. One who combines the virtues of the tzadik with those of the yishrei lev is one whose joy is full.
The tale of the Ben Hecht can help remind us that Israel is a moral and humanitarian enterprise. It took the bravery and the sacrifices of so many to build a country where refugees could rebuild their lives in freedom and allow their dynamism to contribute so much to the well-being of the world.
The Torah does not insist on democratic rights; the Torah antedates modern democracy. Torah-observing Jews have survived under many other sorts of political entities. The Torah clearly wants us to create a virtuous society, in which the powerful protect the weakest and most vulnerable, who represent the “image of God” as well as powerful people do.