When Leadership Fails: Talking to Our Children about Moral Failures in Our Leaders

How do we speak to our children about scandal—whether it is rabbis who have been convicted of sexual impropriety, or our nation’s leaders in the United States or Israel? This challenge presents an opportunity to clarify our thinking about our responsibility to foster the moral education of our children through direct discussion as well as awareness of some of the more subtle ways that children internalize our values.

Simone Veil: From Survivor to World Leader

Although she was fully and personally aware of human viciousness and cruelty, Simone Veil wanted very much to believe in the ultimate victory of a righteous, compassionate and humane society. She stressed the role of righteous French non-Jews who acted nobly during the war years. “I am convinced that there will always be men and women, of all origins and in all countries, capable of doing what is right and just."

Celebrating the Institute's 14th Anniversary: End of Year Campaign

Thank you for your support of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals. As we celebrate our 14th anniversary, we appreciate your partnership in our work to foster an intellectually vibrant, compassionate and inclusive Orthodox Judaism. If you have not yet participated in our End of Year campaign, please do so soon. Each contribution, large or small, is a vote for the Institute's continued service to the community.

The Unsung Heroes of the Exodus

Shiphrah-Puah, Yocheved-Moses’ sister, and Pharaoh’s daughter form the background of how Moses emerged as a paragon of morality. Moses came from them. People often quietly impact on others. The Torah’s emphasis on these brave individuals teaches that this sort of quiet impact can transform individuals and change the world.

The Binding of Isaac: Extremely Religious without Religious Extremism, by Rabbi Hayyim Angel

The Akedah, or binding of Isaac (Genesis 22:1–19), [1] is a formative passage in Jewish tradition. It plays a central role on Rosh haShanah, and many communities include this passage in their early morning daily liturgy. What should we learn from this jarring narrative with regard to faith and religious life?

Halakha and Diversity

Anyone who is even partially involved in the life of a traditional synagogue becomes aware, sooner or later, that there is diversity within halakha. It would be rare to find two congregations that follow identical praxis. Yet most people I know seem to live comfortably with such diversity. Isn’t this strange? After all, if there is one God who gave us one Torah, shouldn’t there be one norm for all observant Jews?