Maimonides: Essential Teachings on Jewish Faith and Ethics--a New Book by Rabbi Marc D. Angel

Rabbi Marc D. Angel has come out with a new book, published by Skylight Illuminations, a division of Jewish Lights Publishers. Entitled: "Maimonides: Essential Teachings on Jewish Faith and Ethics," the book includes an introduction to Maimonides' religious philosophy; an English translation of most of Maimonides' Book of Knowledge and his 13 Principles of Faith; and a running commentary by Rabbi Angel. This book allows the reader not only to learn about Maimonides, but to study his essential teachings in his own words (translated into English).

The book is available through the online store at Bulk rates are available by contacting [email protected] The book is valuable not only for personal study, but for group discussions and adult education classes.

New Family?

Together with some friends, I’ve established an organization called KayamaMoms. I’m religious, 40 years old and unmarried and I would like to have children. Like me, there are thousands of women in Israel and the rest of the world who have dreamed their entire lives about having a family but unfortunately have not yet found the right partner.

Urim and Tumim, Tohu VaVohu

Urim and Tumim
We live in times when the demands on intellectual conformity are increasing to the point where to challenge is to offend and to think in an unusual way is to court charges of heresy. This article is an invented midrash that presents uncertainty in a positive rather than a negative light.

A New Hearing for Kol Ishah


The topic of kol ishah, the halakhic prohibition on men from listening to a woman's singing voice, is obviously a matter of concern for religiously observant Jews. Yet, there are various interpretations as to what exactly constitutes the prohibition. The present essay aims to clarify the prohibition, demonstrating that it is far less restrictive than is commonly believed.

Installation of New Haham at Portuguese Synagogue of Amsterdam: Reflections from Rabbi Marc D. Angel

I had the honor of spending the weekend of March 16-18, 2012 with the community of Amsterdam’s famous Portuguese Synagogue, Talmud Torah. I was invited to install their new Haham, Dayyan Pinchas Toledano. The Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam is the “mother” Congregation of my own Congregation Shearith Israel, the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of New York City, founded in 1654. Our two Congregations share over 350 years of historical association and both maintain the Western Sephardic minhag. The installation of Haham Toledano underscored the historic connection of our Congregations, as well as the long-standing personal respect and friendship which Haham Toledano and I have shared over the years.

Rabbi Hayim Palachi (1788-1868)--Rabbi of Izmir

The Jewish community of Izmir was an important center of Sephardic Jewish life during the centuries following the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492. It boasted vibrant synagogues and communal institutions, as well as a host of learned Torah scholars and a respected rabbinical court (Beth Din).

Izmir’s Chief Rabbis enlightened the Jewish community by answering hundreds of questions in Jewish law. They answered the questions not only from ?zmir but also from the distant Jewish communities. Rabbi Shemuel Yitzhak Modeliani from Thessaloniki noted that the Jewish community of ?zmir was led by respected people.

Correspondence: Eli Haddad and Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo on Reviving the Halakhic Process

To Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo:

Dear Rabbi:

Your article the Spring 2010 issue of Conversations on “The Nature and Function of Halakha in Relation to Autonomous Religiosity” has inspired quite a bit of discussion in our family. Your comments have hit squarely home and crystallize the religious anomie of several of our recently married children. You issued a passionate call for responsible rabbinic leadership to meet the challenges of a less-than-dynamic halakhic process. This is vital to the authentic continuity of our traditions. Please grant me a few moments for a layman’s reflections on this matter.

Out of the Depths I Have Called Thee: The Vow of Rabbi Yaakov Yehoshua Falk

In an interesting footnote to Jewish History, we find the triumph of the human spirit.

Rabbi Yaakov Yehoshua Falk (1680-1756) was born in Krakow, the scion of a rabbinic family. Newly married and working as the inspector of the local school, Rabbi Falk became a respected community leader in Lemberg, Poland. But in 1702, the trajectory of his life was irrevocably altered. A powder keg explosion took the life of his wife, daughter, mother-in-law and her father. Trapped under debris, Rabbi Falk narrowly escaped himself. While still threatened by the specter of death, he vowed to compose an original commentary on the Talmud. He swore to find meaning and purpose in this tragedy.