Articles

Sephardic Haskalah

From the second half of the nineteenth century, Haskalah ideas filtered into the Sephardic communities in Muslim lands, especially through the efforts of the schools of the Alliance Israelite Universelle—bastions of French culture. The influence of European colonial powers in North Africa and the Middle East was also an important factor in Sephardic intellectual life. The impact of the Haskalah could not be altogether ignored.

Darwin and the Rabbis: Understandings of the Divine Image in an Evolved World

Since the scientific revolution, people have expected from religion the kind of truth we have come to know from science. To elevate scientific truth as the only kind of worthwhile truth is a big mistake. In its stead, we must cultivate the awareness that we can benefit greatly from being able to encounter different kinds of truth in our lives, and appreciate each for the unique gifts it bestows.

Torah Truths and the Consilience of Human Knowledge

The Torah is a deep and exciting body of knowledge which embodies everlasting truths.  This is not simply a statement of belief but the result of millennia of proof. 

 

Although a revolution in its day when such things as human sacrifice were common, today the tenet of the ten commandments:  “Thou shalt not kill.” is a “creed” (a synonym for Tenet) for nearly the whole world.  And that is just the tip of the iceberg of truths found in knowledge gleaned from the Torah which today is part of common belief for the society that humanity has evolved. 

 

Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai and Rabbi Akiva: Two First-Century Models for Thinking about Zionism in the Twenty-First Century

The first and the twentieth centuries have probably been the two most tumultuous in Jewish history: the destruction of the Temple and the beginnings of exile and Diaspora on the one hand; the Holocaust and the foundation of the State of Israel on the other.

Chronicles: Perspectives in Prophetic History

When one is interested in ascertaining exact historical data based on the accounts in Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles, one first must reconcile the accounts and then combine the material into a composite picture. Far more important than attaining a historical portrait of the period, though, is addressing the question of how each biblical book uses history to teach its prophetic messages as an exhortation to its readers.

Rav Shagar: Navigating Between Relativism and Fundamentalism

Rav Shagar’s complex writings show that the path between relativism and fundamentalism is not an easy one. It requires a passionate religious faith that is not afraid of the real and profound differences that exist in this world. It may live on a razor’s edge, but it is the only place where true tolerance is possible.