The Spiritual Revolution of Rav Kook: a Book Review

Rabbi Kook’s writings are generally, but not always very mystical and difficult to understand. However, Rabbi Ari Ze’ev Schwartz’s book “The Spiritual Revolution of Rav Kook” unravels the writings with a new translation, with each chapter being divided into clearly stated topic headings added by Rabbi Schwartz, such as the individual, Torah, God, teshuvah, prayer, creativity, Zionism, science, and vegetarianism.

Righteousness and Self-Righteousness: Reflections on the Nature of Genuine Piety

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. This article appears in issue 12 of Conversations, the journal of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals.

Let's Stop Preaching Only to the Choir

Over the last 50 years American Orthodoxy has managed to
create a national community that is successful in the realm of
imparting knowledge, Jewish commitment and continuity.
Over the past years Orthodox rabbis convinced entire communities to
change their eating habits by refraining from “eating out” and to raise a
generation of Jewishly literate and deeply committed youth by sending
their children, at great personal expense, to Jewish day schools. It is precisely
these rabbis, on the heels of these successes, who can galvanize the

Toward a Kinder, Gentler, More Tolerant and Flexible Orthodoxy, by Aryeh Rubin

Since the end of
World War II, both in America and Israel, Jews
have been at odds with one another for political, ethnic, ideological,
religious and/or denominational reasons.
That different groups have divergent worldviews has been the case since
Biblical times. But the competing
factions today appear more hostile than ever before. The Orthodox -- particularly the
ultra-Orthodox with their high birth rates, expanding schools systems, and

A View from Israel

Living as an observant Jew in Israel is comfortable - almost too comfortable .  The comfort level stems from the reality that Israel is, indeed, a Jewish state.  Its culture, its calendar, its rhythm of life is fundamentally Jewish.  These are the elements that express our national personality and which contribute to the feeli