Rabbi Dr. David de Sola Pool: Sephardic Visionary and Activist

Rabbi Dr. David de Sola Pool (May 16, 1885-December 1, 1970) was the foremost Sephardic rabbi in the United States during the middle decades of the 20th century. Born and raised in London, he came to New York in 1907 to become assistant rabbi to his relative, Dr. Henry Pereira Mendes, at the historic Congregation Shearith Israel, the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue. Dr. Pool was associated with Shearith Israel for the duration of his life, except for three years that he spent in the land of Israel 1919-1922. In 1917 he married Tamar Hirshenson; they had two children, Ithiel and Naomi.

Upcoming classes with Rabbi Hayyim Angel

To our members and friends,

Here are some upcoming classes I will be giving that are open to the public:

On Mondays May 15 and 22, 1:00-2:15pm, I will give a two-part mini-series about Shavuot:

Torah holidays in peshat and in our religious observance

‘The Righteous Shall Live by His Faith’: The Message of Habakkuk and Shavuot.


It is with Lamdeinu Teaneck, located at Congregation Beth Aaron, 950 Queen Anne Road, Teaneck, NJ. To register, go to



Orthodox Isn't Enough

What could be a better place to work for a traditionally observant Jew than a Jewish organization? Jewish holidays are not considered vacation days, and there is little resistance, if any, to the need to leave early on a Friday to reach home and prepare before the start of Shabbat. So when I moved from the for-profit world to a Jewish non-profit 20 years ago, I never anticipated any Jewish dilemmas. In retrospect, that was a deliciously naïve perspective.

With Four Strings and a Bow: The Role of Music in Religious Expression

Zina Schiff, a concert violinist, has performed and recorded on five continents. Her first recording was the solo violin score for MGM's The Fixer, and a major focus of her 16 CDs is classical Jewish music. This article appears in issue 28 of Conversations, the journal of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals.

Demagogues and Pedagogues: Thoughts for Parashat Beha'aloteha

This week's Torah portion includes a strange episode. A "mixed multitude" (asafsuf) riled up the Israelites so that they complained bitterly about their situation. They longed to eat meat. They reminisced about the diet they had in Egypt--fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onion and garlic.  The miraculous mannah from heaven, that was delivered to them daily in the wilderness, did not satisfy them.

Choosing Our Blessings, Wisely: Thoughts for Parashat Naso

When we pray for blessings on ourselves and our families, do we really know if we are asking for the right things?

Sometimes, we may think we very much need a certain blessing—but ultimately, what we think we want actually turns out to be detrimental to us. A short-term “blessing” may indeed be the recipe for a long-term “curse.”

"Be a Blessing"

For the past 15 years, I have toiled in the vineyards of Jewish-Christian relations, trying to carve out an ennobling Torah path toward my interactions with non-Jews. Can I see Tzelem Elokim in the face of a gentile Other? If so, how does this shared divine endowment guide our relationship? And perhaps more important, how does it shape my religious commitment to the Torah's demand that Jews play a crucial role in sacred history?