Articles

The Moral Impulse: Thoughts on Parashat Vaera, January 12, 2013

The tired, the poor, the huddled masses, the homeless: they make us uncomfortable.

Compassion demands that we care for them and help relieve their sufferings. But pragmatism pushes us in a different direction. The beggars and the needy are nuisances, impinging on our quality of life. They cost us money, effort and time. And they never seem to go away.

The needy are a weight on our consciences as individuals and as a society.

Amb. Ron Prosor addresses UN General Assembly before the vote on Palestinian Non-member Observer State Status

Mr. President,

Today I stand before you tall and proud because I represent the world's one and only Jewish state. A state built in the Jewish people's ancient homeland, with its eternal capital Jerusalem as its beating heart.

We are a nation with deep roots in the past and bright hopes for the future. We are a nation that values idealism, but acts with pragmatism. Israel is a nation that never hesitates to defend itself, but will always extend its hand for peace.

Modern Orthodoxy and Halakha: An Inquiry

In his book, The Perspective of Civilization, Fernand Braudel utilizes a concept that he calls “world-time.” Braudel notes that at any given point in history, all societies are not at the same level of advancement. The leading countries exist in world-time; that is, their level of advancement is correlated to the actual date in history. However, there also are countries and civilizations which are far behind world-time, whose way of life may be centuries or even millennia behind the advanced societies.

Frustrating--But the Best of Times

I must say at the outset that although my wife, Chaya, and I had some different motivations and experiences in our aliya process, we are both happy with our aliya. For me—and I am speaking about my own personal reflections and feelings—our aliya is the fulfillment of a dream I had since learning in Yeshivat Kerem beYavne in 1958–1959. It took more than 40 years—but it also took Bnei Yisrael 40 years to make it through the wilderness to the land of Israel. Personally, I am very happy with my aliya.

Thank You 508 Times

A year ago, the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals launched a campaign to raise $650,000. The goal was to raise funds to support the ongoing work of the Institute, and to begin an endowment fund to maintain the Institute in the future. This was a huge goal but vital to the work of the Institute.

We thank the 508 donors to this campaign, all of whom are listed in our Scroll of Honor. The Scroll can be accessed on our website. The campaign raised well over $500,000 in donations, and $161,000 in pledges. So we actually exceeded our goal!

Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik's Views on Orthodoxy in Israel

 

On Friday, September 27, 1935, the Boston Jewish Advocate published an extensive interview with Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, who had recently returned to Boston following a four-month stay in Palestine. In what is arguably the most comprehensive articulation of his early Zionism—if one takes seriously the citations of the interviewer, Carl Alpert—Rabbi Soloveitchik set forth in this interview his perspective on the role of Orthodoxy in Erets Yisrael.

Spirituality

The very term “Spirituality” has in recent years acquired negative connotations. In Judaism, it is often associated with an expression of religious fervor devoid of halakhic content or commitment. It conjures up New Age pseudo-religion, unreliable, inconsistent, flaky sentimentality. To borrow a Christian bon mot, “Mysticism,” it is often asserted, “starts in a mist and ends in a schism.” Nevertheless both rationalism and mysticism are equally integral elements in Jewish, indeed all, religious life. It is the relationship between them that I want to explore in this essay.