Rabbi Abraham Yitzhak ha-Cohen Kook (1865–1935) is, without doubt, one of the most celebrated rabbis of the twentieth century. He is known to most people simply as Rav Kook, the founder of Religious Zionism, and we frequently overlook the fact that the foundations of his teachings reflect a deep modernization of the Jewish faith itself and of its approach to an array of contemporary problems.
As we approach the upcoming High Holy Day season, we know that this year will be very different from past years. This is a good time for us to invest in those institutions and causes that strengthen Jewish life, so that we may build a better and stronger future for our community. Each gift to the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals is a vote for an intellectually vibrant, compassionate, inclusive Orthodox Judaism.
Please join us for a zoom class with Rabbi Marc D. Angel. We'll be studying Rambam's Laws of Repentance. Classes will be on Friday mornings, 10:30 am Eastern Daylight Time, beginning on August 7. Please register here: https://www.jewishideas.org/zoom-class-rambams-laws-repentance
In the story “Tehilla,” Agnon’s narrator is standing at the Kotel, contemplating prayer: “I stood at times among the worshipers, and at times among those who wonder.” That’s life for S.Y. Agnon, and that’s life in an Agnon story. Indeed, for people of faith who understand that faith is complex – that’s life.
This essay by Rabbi Benzion Uziel, and translated by Rabbi Daniel Bouskila, is entitled “You Shall Love Truth and Peace.” It originally appeared in Rabbi Uziel's classic work of Jewish thought Hegyonei Uziel (volume 2, pages 33–34). It is one of his most eloquent statements on unity, and beautifully encapsulates his creative blend of classic rabbinic scholarship with responsible leadership.
It is important for men and women together to seek halakhic solutions and build halakhically committed communities with an emphasis on seeking greater partnership between the sexes. This will perpetuate the integrity of a living Torah that continues to infuse and inspire our lives with the sense of the divine.
In 1966, the Nobel Prize for literature was awarded to S. Y. Agnon. This was a major event for the Jewish world at large and for Israel in particular. Agnon was the first Israeli to win a Nobel in any field, and he remains the only Hebrew-language author ever to have received the Nobel Prize in literature.
These are excerpts about Rabbi Yaacov Huli (1689-1732) drawn from Rabbi Marc D. Angel's book, Voices in Exile. Rabbi Huli originated the Me'am Lo'ez, a Ladino biblical encyclopedia that reached many thousands of readers throughout the Sephardic world. In recent years, the Me'am Lo'ez had been published in Hebrew translation. Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, of blessed memory, translated the Me'am Lo'ez into English.
Parallels between Hassidic rebbes and university professors should encourage us to realize that these two worlds need not always remain completely apart. The yeshiva world has much to gain from the keen insights of academics. Conversely, academics would benefit from utilizing the interpretations of traditional rabbinic commentary.
We applaud the historic decision of Israel and the United Arab Emirates to establish full diplomatic relations. We pray that other nations will have the courage and the wisdom to follow their example, and bring lasting and genuine peace to the Middle East and beyond.