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.
We applaud the historic decision of Israel and the United Arab Emirates to establish full diplomatic relations. We pray that other nations will have the courage and the wisdom to follow their example, and bring lasting and genuine peace to the Middle East and beyond.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
We post this article in memory of Rabbi Nachum Rabinovich, who passed away on Tuesday night May 5, 2020. Rabbi Rabinovich, who served for many years as Rosh Yeshiva in Maale Adumim, was an outstanding rabbinic scholar who combined vast Torah erudition with general knowledge. His PhD was in Philosophy of Science. His views on the role of religion in society are discussed in this article.
Moses Maimonides died in early December 1204. He was a unique figure in Jewish history and has had an enormous impact on halakha and philosophy. He fostered a religious worldview marked by reason and clear thinking.
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.