THE INSTITUTE FOR JEWISH IDEAS AND IDEALS NEEDS YOU!
This article discusses some cases, reflective of the educational approach of many religious schools and individuals, that are symptomatic of serious problems in the way our community transmits Torah teachings. The fundamentalist, literalist position—so vehemently criticized by Rambam—still holds sway among many Orthodox Jews.
In this article, originally appearing in issue 10 of our journal Conversations, Dr. Zvi Zohar discusses the rise in extremist positions relating to conversion to Judaism. We are re-posting the article in light of ongoing tragic situations where halakhically valid conversions are being rejected or annulled.
Jews have had a continuous presence in Greece for over 2,300 years, dating back to the time of Alexander the Great. This ancient community, known as Romaniote Jews, has the distinction of the longest, continuous Jewish presence in the European Diaspora. Romaniotes possess a unique set of practices, poetry, songs, and traditions unlike any other Jewish community in the world. Yet this historic and incredibly rich tradition is under threat.
Tanakh is not a systematic theology, science, or history. We treat nearly all of Tanakh as historical, but God did not reveal prophecies to the prophets in order to teach science or history. God is speaking to us, and it is our religious obligation to hear, understand, and listen to that voice. We take all of the texts seriously, even if some of them may be understood as non-literal.
Genetic disease testing panels have expanded from just Tay-Sachs to include many more diseases common in Ashkenazi Jews, as well as those common in people with Sephardi and Mizrahi ancestry. These advances make screening relevant for Jews of all backgrounds, converts who do not have Jewish background, and people who do not know their ancestry.
Rav Saban, like Rav Uziel, sought reasonable halakhic solutions to contemporary problems. Voices like theirs are very much needed today.
Rabbi Yamin Levy attended the wedding of a young couple, both raised in a strong Orthodox Sephardic community, yet religiously influenced by Chabad and Breslav. Their attempt at creating a ceremony that was true to their Sephardic heritage and reflected the Ashkenazic/Hassidic traditions of their rabbis inspired the writing of this essay.
The Jewish Press has a bi-weekly feature in which questions are asked to a group of rabbis. Rabbi Marc D. Angel is one of the respondents and here are his answers to several of the recent questions.
Rabbi Hayyim AngeI recently published a book review in the Fall, 2019 issue of Tradition (the journal of the Rabbinical Council of America) on Rabbi Yonatan Grossman's new book on Genesis chapters 1-11. He combines classical commentary with modern literary analysis.