Articles

With Four Strings and a Bow: The Role of Music in Religious Expression

Zina Schiff, a concert violinist, has performed and recorded on five continents. Her first recording was the solo violin score for MGM's The Fixer, and a major focus of her 16 CDs is classical Jewish music. This article appears in issue 28 of Conversations, the journal of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals. It was reprinted in issue 35 of Conversations.

Amos: The Social Justice Prophet

Social justice lies at the very heart of the Torah. God holds all nations accountable for morality, including Israel. Israel’s being God’s Chosen People places additional responsibility onto Israel to serve as the model moral nation for the world. God rejects religious rituals when they are unaccompanied by a righteous, moral lifestyle.

Free Will?--Thoughts for Parashat Bo

The Talmud teaches that the reward of a mitzvah is another mitzvah while the consequence of a sin is another sin.  We set patterns for ourselves. We initially have free will to choose, and our first choice leads us to our next choice. If we set a positive pattern, we continuously improve ourselves. If we set a negative pattern, we “harden” our own hearts so that it becomes difficult to change for the better.