Thoughts on Friendship: by Rabbi Marc D. Angel

A while ago, I received a note from a friend with the following quotation: “Friendship isn’t about whom you have known the longest….It’s about who came and never left your side.”

Among the basic ingredients of true friendship are: loyalty, trust, mutual commitment, shared ideals. Friends are very special to us because we know that they are there for us, just as we are here for them.

The Chosen People: An Ethical Challenge

The concept of the Chosen People is fraught with difficulties. Historically, it has brought much grief upon the Jewish people. It also has led some Jews to develop chauvinistic attitudes toward non-Jews. Nonetheless, it is a central axiom in the Torah and rabbinic tradition, and we therefore have a responsibility to approach the subject forthrightly. In this essay, we will briefly consider the biblical and rabbinic evidence regarding chosenness.

The Book of Genesis

National Scholar December Report

To our members and friends,

It has been a very exciting fall semester. In the past month, I have served as a scholar-in-residence in Oak Park Michigan, Monsey New York, and Teaneck New Jersey.

I will give one more public lecture in December:

Wednesday, December 20, from 1:00-2:15 pm, at Lamdeinu Teaneck:

The Books of the Maccabees and Rabbinic Thought: Getting to the Roots of Hanukkah
For more information and to register, go to


Campus Fellows Report: December 2017

To our members and friends,

As National Scholar of the Institute, I now manage the University Network and Campus Fellowship as well. Since my October report, we have picked up two new Campus Fellows, so that we now have 25 Campus Fellows at 22 schools across the United States and Canada.


Campus Fellows run at least two programs per semester on their campuses, with the goal of promoting our Institute’s vision and enlisting participants in their programs in our University Network.



Thank you for your support and encouragement. You have helped the Institute in its work to foster an intellectually vibrant, compassionate and inclusive Orthodox Judaism. PLEASE KEEP THE INSTITUTE IN MIND WHEN YOU MAKE YOUR END-OF-YEAR CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS. Click on this link for more information about our work and about how you can contribute.

Rav Kook and His View on the Modernization Of Judaism

Rabbi Abraham Yitzhak ha-Cohen Kook (1865–1935) is, without doubt, one of the most celebrated rabbis of the twentieth century. He is known to most people simply as Rav Kook, the founder of Religious Zionism, and we frequently overlook the fact that the foundations of his teachings reflect a deep modernization of the Jewish faith itself and of its approach to an array of contemporary problems.

From Black Fire to White Fire: Conversations about Religious Tanakh Methodology

How can we mediate between the infinite word of God and our own finite understanding? How do we balance different approaches to biblical study? When teaching Tanakh to undergraduate students at Yeshiva University, I introduce several major issues in methodology early in the semester, and then my students and I continue the dialogue throughout the term and beyond.