With regard to central values and religious orientations found in the writings of Sephardic rabbis of recent centuries: their import extends beyond Sephardim by birth, to all Jews attempting to chart a course for a personal and communal life in which authentic Judaism and humanity go hand in hand.
Rabbi Halevi was fairly conservative within classical sources, and deferential to his predecessors. At the same time, he emphasized the inherent flexibility in halakhah, since there are many options within the boundaries of halakhic discourse. If one shuts down legitimate options, one harms the Jewish people and observance.
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The plague of darkness might symbolize the need to periodically clear our minds and re-evaluate our assumptions. In the darkness and quiet of our inner selves, we can try to shed light on our opinions, values, attitudes and behaviors. An old proverb has it that “no one is so blind as the one who refuses to see.” We might offer an addendum to this proverb: “and no one sees so clearly as the one who has first experienced darkness.”
Rabbi Morais understood that the bedrock of social justice is the brotherhood of mankind, and that this recognition carries with it the positive duty to make room actively for our fellow human beings. It is a message that has lost none of its freshness, and it speaks as much to our generation as to his.
We are off to an extremely productive year of learning and programming at the Institute.
My path to Orthodoxy was unorthodox, and that has made all the difference, I think, in what I hope for and expect as part of Orthodox Jewry...Reflections from Naomi Ragen
Should Jewish law lose its ethical moorings, it will devolve into just another set of laws holding no more attraction than any other legal system. Only when halakhah manifests a deep passion for justice and human sensitivity will it secure the allegiance of Jews today. Moral integrity is, therefore, an existential imperative for contemporary halakhah.
Our Campus Fellows continue to do terrific work on their college campuses. Each runs two programs per semester sponsored by our Institute, with the goal of promoting our core values on campus and recruiting new members to our University Network. Please read about our latest campus programs!
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.