Albert Memmi, a Tunisian-born Jew, became a prominent French intellectual, writing and teaching about anti-Semitism, Colonialism, and racism. He died May 22, 2020, at the age of 99. He suffered greatly as a Jew, and never made peace with his Jewishness. But perhaps his very alienation as a Jew allowed him to understand the predicament of oppressed people everywhere.
Grace Aguilar (1816-1847) was concerned that the wave of modernism was undermining the foundations of traditional religious life. Jews were seeking success in the secular world; the bond of religion was weakening. She was particularly aware of the spiritual crisis among youth, and she was a strong voice for women's spiritual development.
Nehama’s legacy will not be found primarily in her contributions to our understanding of the mefarshim; it is in her peerless ability to use the teachings of our Sages and commentators to guide us lovingly through every nuance of the eternally relevant Torah.
The fast of Tisha B'Av begins Wednesday night July 29 and ends after dark on Thursday night July 30. The Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Israel has ruled that covid 19 patients must not fast. Rabbi Moshe Zuriel has issued a ruling permitting pregnant women to eat and drink limited amounts during the course of the day.
The Talmud records a poignant story relating to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 CE. Although historians describe various political, sociological, and military explanations, the Talmud—through the story of Kamtsa and Bar Kamtsa—points to a moral/spiritual cause of the destruction:
This essay examines the halakhic import of praying in the synagogue even in the absence of a minyan. We hope and pray for a speedy and safe return to the normal activity and hustle and bustle of our synagogue life in all its form together with the return to the other areas of our spiritual and material lives.
Rabbis are expected to be teachers to their congregations. But it is not often enough realized that rabbis have much to learn from their congregants! When I think of the many synagogue members I have known over the past half century, I rejoice at how much I learned from them in so many ways. And I learned a great deal from Ike Cohen, a man of reason and integrity, a genuine friend.
Benjamin Nathan Cardozo (1870-1938) was one of the greatest American jurists. He served as Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals from 1926 until his appointment to the United States Supreme Court in 1932. He was known for his calm wisdom, personal dignity, and his commitment to social justice. His speeches and writings were characterized by clear thinking and graceful style.
There were two responses to the destruction of the Second Temple. One was to try to recover what was lost by force. That failed completely. The other was to create something new. That succeeded so well that the Jewish people far outlasted the Roman Empire.
The book of Eicha (Lamentations) is Jeremiah's eyewitness response to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the accompanying tragedies that befell the Jewish People.In this article, Rabbi Hayyim Angel elucidates the meaning of this poignant biblical book.