Articles

The Proselyte Who Comes

THE PROSELYTE WHO COMES[1]

by Rabbi Dr. Isaac Sassoon

(Rabbi Dr. Isaac Sassoon is a faculty member at the Metivta, the Institute of Traditional Judaism. Among his publications is his commentary on Torah, "Destination Torah.")

“We are gereem before Thee” (1Chr 29:15)

Single Women Who Want to Have a Baby

Question to Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, Rosh Yeshiva of the Hesder Yeshiva of Petach Tikva:

I ask you to bravely write an answer to a question that has been disturbing me very much for quite some time. I am a thirty-six years old woman, rather pretty, educated and well taken care of, who has been attempting for over fifteen years to get married, but to no avail…

I want to have a child!!! I dream all the time about him and I want a child!!!

New Book of Short Stories by Rabbi Marc D. Angel

Rabbi Marc D. Angel has just come out with a book of short stories, "The Crown of Solomon and Other Stories." Published by Albion-Andalus Books, the 150 page soft cover book is available through the online store at jewishideas.org

Here are some comments on the book:

These wry parables of Jewish wisdom and ignorance touch a nerve. We find ourselves thinking about these characters long after we've put the book down—this one timid and self-demeaning until she suddenly is not, that one stubborn and aggressive, another, hesitant beyond reason. The stories quietly ambush assumptions of many kinds. —Jane Mushabac, CUNY Professor of English, author of "Pasha: Ruminations of David Aroughetti."

Acceptance of the Commandments for Conversion

In the State of Israel, the topic of conversion frequently emerges at the top of the country’s agenda. The successful immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union, who lived for decades behind the Iron Curtain, created a complicated halakhic situation regarding the identities of some of these immigrants. According to the plain halakha, more than 300,000 of these immigrants are categorized as non-Jews, despite the fact that they descend from Jews (Jewish father, grandfather, etc.) There is no doubt that, in order to solve this problem, there is a need to convert these immigrants in consonance with Jewish law.

In Appreciation of Mr. S. Daniel Abraham

When our Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals was established in October 2007, we knew we wanted to publish a journal--but did not know how we could make this happen.

But then we met Mr. S. Daniel Abraham.

Mr. Abraham immediately understood the need for an Orthodox journal that was high quality, open to new and diverse ideas, and challenging to readers. He promptly "invested" in our Institute, and became the founding "angel" of our journal, "Conversations."

The first issue of "Conversations" appeared in spring 2008. Thanks to Mr. Abraham, we were able to publish and circulate thousands of copies to readers throughout the world. The reception was so positive that we expanded the format of "Conversations" so as to include more articles and generate more reaction.

Safe Jewish Homes

A few years ago, I spoke about domestic violence on Yom Kippur. Afterward, two very sweet members of my synagogue came up to me and said, "Rabbi, you shouldn't speak about such ugly things from the pulpit. That doesn't happen here."

I thought to myself, "Two rows behind you and a little to the left, it does."

Domestic violence happens in Jewish homes. This article is the reopening of the conversation, because we need to confront this issue. I wish we didn't have to. But this isn't only an issue in the Catholic Church. It is much closer to home than we'd like to admit.

Abuse happens within Jewish families. Physical and verbal abuse happen in Jewish families.

The Conversion Crisis--a New Glitch

Questions of personal status are among the most sensitive issues in Judaism and thus require responsible rabbinic leadership.
That is one reason why there was such an outcry last year when Israel’s Chief Rabbinate refused to allow my teacher, Rabbi Avi Weiss, to vouch for the Jewishness of a couple marrying in Israel. While the Chief Rabbinate ultimately backed down and agreed to accept Rabbi Weiss’ word, there are still unanswered questions regarding this episode.

On Jan. 4, 2014, the Rabbinical Council of America — a leading Orthodox rabbinic association — issued this statement: “Recent assertions that the Rabbinical Council of America advised the Chief Rabbinate of Israel to reject the testimony of RCA member Rabbi Avi Weiss are categorically untrue.”

Tampering with Tradition

(A Devar Torah relating to Parashat Shemini - Leviticus 9:1 - 11:47)

There are times when the Torah tells us a story that serves as a metaphor for issues that we face today. This week's Torah Portion - Parashat Shemini - relates the strange story of Aaron's sons Nadav and Avihu. As sons of the first Kohen Gadol (High Priest), Nadav and Avihu were also Kohanim who received instructions from their father on how to conduct the sacrificial services inside the newly inaugurated Mishkan. When they entered the sacred space designated for the Kohanim to offer sacrifices, the Torah relates a peculiar incident:

Update from Rabbi Hayyim Angel, National Scholar of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals

The Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals has been co-sponsoring a ten-part series of weekly classes with Lincoln Square Synagogue in the First Book of Samuel (68th Street and Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan). Wednesdays from 7:15-8:15 pm from January 29-April 2. With this series winding down, we are discussing the possibility of future classes. Stay tuned for further announcements.