Articles

One Nation, Many Faces

We are one nation, with many faces, and we have to learn to leverage our diversity and view it as a strength rather than a weakness. We might never be able to match China's demographics, but we can and should look for new opportunities for growth. That is why the time has come to undertake a concerted outreach effort to descendants of Jews.

The Conversion Scandal

We have a scandal in Israel relating to the evil practice that is spreading: the annulment or non-recognition of conversions performed by private rabbinical courts in their localities. These conversions are performed according to the halakha, with circumcision, ritual immersion in the mikva, and acceptance of the mitzvoth. This unprecedented aspersion of halakhically valid conversions emanates from Israel’s Chief Rabbinate.

At'halta deGe'ulah: The State of Israel as Prelude to the Messianic Era

Rabbi Halevy’s writings reflect a conflict. On the one hand, he firmly believed that we were at the beginning of the period of redemption. On the other hand, he acknowledged that no one knew for certain how the redemption process would unfold. Rabbi Halevy evaluated sources about messianic calculations, natural vs. supernatural redemption, repentance during the period of redemption, and other matters relating to Divine Providence.

Was Rambam a Hareidi Rabbi?

I’d like to focus on the articles by Menachem Kellner on Rabbi Elhanan Wasserman and Rabbi Aharon Kotler. These two 20th century luminaries cast Rambam into the mold of a Hareidi sage. When they read Rambam, they understood him in a way that Rambam himself would have found problematic.

Modern Orthodoxy: A Crisis in Leadership

Dr. Sperber is President of the Makhon haGavoah leTorah at Bar Ilan University. Author of numerous works in Jewish law, custom and theology, he was awarded the Israel Prize by the State of Israel in recognition of his monumental contributions to Jewish scholarship. This essay, which appeared in our journal Conversations (issue 3, winter 2009), is based on a lecture delivered by Dr. Sperber in Los Angeles in May 2008.

Confronting Tragedy: Thoughts on Eikha

The biblical book of Eikha (Lamentations) provides an eye-witness account--by the prophet Jeremiah--of the period of the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. Eikha is chanted on the Fast of Tisha B'Av, so this is an opportune time to gain deeper insight into the meaning and message of this prophetic work. Rabbi Hayyim Angel provides a framework for our understanding Eikha...and dealing with tragedy in general.