Min haMuvhar

Rabbi Yaacov Huli: Author of the Me'am Lo'ez

These are excerpts about Rabbi Yaacov Huli (1689-1732) drawn from Rabbi Marc D. Angel's book, Voices in Exile. Rabbi Huli originated the Me'am Lo'ez, a Ladino biblical encyclopedia that reached many thousands of readers throughout the Sephardic world. In recent years, the Me'am Lo'ez had been published in Hebrew translation. Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, of blessed memory, translated the Me'am Lo'ez into English.

Grace Aguilar and Modernity

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.

Remembering Ike Cohen

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.

Conversion to Judaism: Halakha, Hashkafa, and Historic Challenge

The current policies of the Orthodox rabbinic/beth din establishment are causing anguish to thousands of would-be converts and their families; are turning would-be converts away from Orthodoxy; are de-legitimizing Orthodox rabbis and converts who do not subscribe to the "establishment" positions; are causing thousands of halakhic converts to fear that their and their children's halakhic status will be undermined.

Was Rambam a Hareidi Rabbi?

This essay focuses on the articles by Menachem Kellner on Rabbi Elhanan Wasserman and Rabbi Aharon Kotler. These two 20th century luminaries cast Rambam into the mold of a Hareidi sage. When they read Rambam, they understood him in a way that Rambam himself would have found problematic.