Articles

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?

Thoughts on a New Book on Tanakh

Prof. Elitzur has given us the opportunity to upgrade our understanding of many elements in Tanakh, rabbinic teachings, and even folk traditions. This volume enlightens our learning, and will foster a more profound love of the Land of Israel through intimate knowledge of the settings for the eternal prophetic narratives in Tanakh.

The Tower of Babel: A Case Study in Combining Traditional and Academic Bible Methodologies

This article on the Tower of Babel offers a “textbook lesson” in combining traditional rabbinic commentary with contemporary academic Bible scholarship. These two approaches begin with different sets of assumptions, but each gives us access to greater meaning in the Torah. Taken together, we emerge with a fuller picture than with either one by itself.

Searching for Spirituality in the Yom Kippur Avodah Service

The centerpiece of Yom Kippur is the Avodah, a poetic review and, on some level, reenactment of the High Priest’s service in the Beit Hamikdash on that holiest of days. Our focus will be on searching for some of the Avodah’s spiritual messages often lost in its complexities. While some argue that spirituality and halakha are antithetical, I believe the reverse is true – spirituality gives halakha wings.