It is through the sense of Jewish identity, forged by an observant lifestyle, that one is more likely to feel that distinct sense of peoplehood and that non-severable bond to the destiny of the Jewish people and to the state of Israel. It is only then that one can find the courage to speak the words that must be spoken, the truth about our people's proud history and Israel's proud struggle to survive.
With the growing success and utilization of Assisted Reproductive Technologies, it is not at all surprising that halakhic discussions abound concerning their appropriateness, how and when they should be carried out and under what circumstances couples should avail themselves of ART.
This essay examines the halakhic import of praying in the synagogue. As many synagogues are now able to return to the normal activity and hustle and bustle of our synagogue life, it is important to re-confirm the significance of synagogues for our religious lives.
It is no coincidence that this Mitzvah of Bikkurim is read in the Torah two weeks before Rosh HaShanah, the special time of renewal. Every year, we are faced with the challenge of finding a new way to bring in the year.
Dr. Elliot Turiel writes of his experiences as a child in the Island of Rhodes during World War II. When the Jews of Rhodes were deported to Auschwitz in July 1944, the Turiel family was saved by the Turkish Consul in Rhodes, since Elliot's mother held a Turkish passport.
Religion produces the very best type of people: saintly, humble, compassionate, and genuinely pious. But we cannot help but notice that religion also produces—or at least harbors—the very worst type of people: terrorists, bigoted zealots, and self-righteous egotists. So religion has two faces: one that is righteous and compassionate; and one that is self-righteous and hate-filled.
Rabbi Abraham Yitzhak ha-Cohen Kook (1865–1935) is, without doubt, one of the most celebrated rabbis of the twentieth century. He is known to most people simply as Rav Kook, the founder of Religious Zionism, and we frequently overlook the fact that the foundations of his teachings reflect a deep modernization of the Jewish faith itself and of its approach to an array of contemporary problems.
Judaism is much about do-ing. But it is about much more than do-ing. It is do-ing plus. It is do-ing with care, it is do-ing with kindness, it is do-ing in a transcending manner; in a word - do-ing with heart and soul.
For Modern Orthodoxy to succeed in meeting its responsibility, it will be necessary for us to recognize that we are part of the contemporary world-time. We should have a blue ribbon panel composed of Modern Orthodox rabbinic scholars who will be willing to come up with specific halakhic rulings for our generation. If we have the confidence and good sense to lead, we may be surprised to find that many people are ready to follow.
Jake Nussbaum, a student at Yeshiva University, is summer intern for our Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals. Here is his Devar Torah on this week's Torah reading.