Articles

Sephardic Halakha, History, and the Israeli-Arab Conflict

Why is there such a stark contrast between the way these Sephardic and Ashkenazic chief rabbis speak about Israeli-Arabs and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? I believe that Sephardic piskei halakha should not be viewed in a vacuum: rather, they are reflective of a Sephardic approach to halakha throughout history, and are also influenced by the treatment and role of Sephardim in Israel.

Holiness: The Unique Form of Jewish Spirituality

In a list of new developments in Judaism in the twenty-first century, one would have to include the search for Jewish spirituality. This includes the discovery of spiritual practices such as meditation, yoga, and prayer—often adapted from Eastern religions. In this essay, I will examine this phenomenon by employing a method of investigation that attempts to address contemporary issues through textual study called “Textual Reasoning” (http://etext.virginia.edu/journals/tr/).

The Sefira Restrictions

During the Sefira period between Pessah and Shavuot, a variety of stringent customs have arisen. Prohibitions have emerged relating to listening to music, shaving, hair cuts and more. When did these practices arise and how are they to be observed today?