Truly, America’s enemies today are within her own borders. We do not need a George Washington to lead us against a foe from other lands. Today we need a George Washington to preserve our America from disrupting intolerance within our own borders, whether it be the intolerance of religion or the intolerance of irreligion.
Rabbi Morais understood that the bedrock of social justice is the brotherhood of mankind, and that this recognition carries with it the positive duty to make room actively for our fellow human beings. It is a message that has lost none of its freshness, and it speaks as much to our generation as to his.
We are off to an extremely productive year of learning and programming at the Institute.
My path to Orthodoxy was unorthodox, and that has made all the difference, I think, in what I hope for and expect as part of Orthodox Jewry...Reflections from Naomi Ragen
This article on the Tower of Babel offers a “textbook lesson” in combining traditional rabbinic commentary with contemporary academic Bible scholarship. These two approaches begin with different sets of assumptions, but each gives us access to greater meaning in the Torah. Taken together, we emerge with a fuller picture than with either one by itself.
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.
Before questioning the usefulness of the word “Orthodox,” let’s first acknowledge the need that this term serves. Congregations, like individuals, find benefit in affiliating with congregations of similar direction. Such affiliation provides the weight of numbers when larger issues, such as intermarriage and conversion, separation of church and state, recognition of homosexuals as congregants, and political positions on national and international issues, need to be addressed.
This article originally appeared in issue 7 of Conversations, the journal of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals. More than ten years have passed since its publication...and yet the issues raised in this article continue to be highly relevant today.
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 premise of economic growth has come under question, in many parts of the world today, from a variety of directions. We are aware, of course, that moral thinking in practically every known culture enjoins us not to place undue emphasis on our material concerns. But today there is more to it than that. With heightened sensitivity to the strains that industrialization often brings, including the possibility of permanent climate change, many people in the higher-income countries now question whether further economic expansion is worth the costs.