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/).
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?
Dr. Gloria Ascher writes about her Ladino group, and the Sephardic wisdom reflected in the Ladino tradition.
The goal of this paper is to argue for a halakhic outlook that includes within it a sensitivity for ethics rooted in traditional Jewish sources as larger meta-halakhic principles. Moral values derived from biblical sources lead to halakhic reality in nearly all spheres of life—economic, social, and marital.
Megillat Ruth is characterized by deliberate ambiguity. Not only are multiple readings possible; these ambiguities are precisely the vehicles through which the short narrative captures so many subtleties in so short a space.
Rabbi Yosef Hayyim unequivocally endorses a curriculum for Jewish education in which from the earliest age onward the student devotes hours of study to Torah and to general knowledge in parallel. He rejects the view that the rationale for such study is, to enhance understanding of Torah. Rather, he presents and endorses four valid rationales for study and acquisition of general knowledge:
Moshe Hecht, a member of our Institute's University Network, discusses how his early lessons in Jewish history focused on the persecution of Jews, anti-Semitism, Jews as victims. As his studies advanced, he began to view Jewish history in larger--more accurate and more nuanced--terms.
Rabbi Hayyim Angel reviews a new book on Psalms by Ronald Benun.
Dehumanization is poisonous to proper human interactions and relationships. It is not only destructive to the victim, but equally or even more destructive to the one who does the dehumanizing.
As we rejoice at the many successes of the State of Israel, our joy is dampened by the ongoing terrorism and threats lodged against Israel and the Jewish People. We must stay focused on the remarkable renaissance of the Jews as manifested in the re-establishment of a sovereign Jewish State. We thank the Almighty for having granted us the privilege of living at this special time.