Articles

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.

The Binding of Isaac: Extremely Religious without Religious Extremism, by Rabbi Hayyim Angel

The Akedah, or binding of Isaac (Genesis 22:1–19), [1] is a formative passage in Jewish tradition. It plays a central role on Rosh haShanah, and many communities include this passage in their early morning daily liturgy. What should we learn from this jarring narrative with regard to faith and religious life?

Euthanistic Prayer

Imagine this scenario. A person suffering in pain. Incurable. Depressed. Unable to eat. And the son or daughter attends synagogue every day praying that God should send this unfortunate person a refuah shelemah--a complete cure.
Here is the question: Should one pray to the Almighty to allow this person to continue to suffer, or rather should one pray for the beloved’s speedy death?

Paying to Pray? An Ongoing Dilemma for Synagogues

Shouldn’t all Jews who wish to pray be allowed to do so without having to pay premium prices? Does it seem ethical for synagogues to “sell seats” for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur? Doesn’t this process diminish the sanctity and idealism of synagogues? Yes, these criticisms certainly seem valid. In an ideal world, synagogues would not “sell tickets” or charge expensive dues for membership. But we don't live in an ideal world.

Sir Moses Montefiore's Life and Times

Sir Moses Montefiore Bart. was the most famous English Jew of his time, probably of all time. Passionate in his beliefs, both as a Jew and as an Englishman, he became a legend throughout the entire Jewish world in his own lifetime. He was respected by kings and potentates; and was venerated by impoverished Jews in the shtetls of Eastern Europe as well as in the mellahs of North Africa and the Middle East.

Rabbi Eliyahu Benamozegh: Israel and Humanity

Many Jews in our day, like many of our brethren of other tribes, are seeking to mend the fractures that divide us from ourselves and from others, and to find ways to heal the wounds that afflict us only seven decades after the Holocaust and the rebirth of Israel. Amid these efforts, an idealistic, scholarly nineteenth-century rabbi from Livorno seems, to some, to provide a beacon of hope and humanity.

In Appreciation of the Institute's Work

 The Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals reaches many thousands of people worldwide with a message of an intellectually vibrant, compassionate and inclusive Orthodox Judaism. We receive many emails and letters expressing appreciation for our work. Below are excerpts from some communications we've received.

 

*** We are honored to support the amazing work that you do. We always enjoy the open, vibrant voices and the compassionate, moral perspectives that your website and books present. (Seattle)