Why is there such a stark contrast between the way these Sephardic and Ashkenazic chief rabbis speak about Israeli-Arabs and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? I believe that Sephardic piskei halakha should not be viewed in a vacuum: rather, they are reflective of a Sephardic approach to halakha throughout history, and are also influenced by the treatment and role of Sephardim in Israel.
Megillat Ruth is characterized by deliberate ambiguity. Not only are multiple readings possible; these ambiguities are precisely the vehicles through which the short narrative captures so many subtleties in so short a space.
Rabbi Hayyim Angel reviews a new book on Psalms by Ronald Benun.
Great teachers impact mightily on the development of their students. Great teachers not only impart knowledge but provide the intellectual tools that enable students to learn for themselves and to think for themselves. Rabbi Marc Angel reminisces on some of the most influential teachers in his life.
It isn’t easy to pray from the heart every day. It isn’t easy to teach about it either. As for a great many things, the hardest thing is often to decide how to start. What is the very best “trigger” to use at the outset, to engage other people in meaningful study?
Dr. Richard Grazi wrote this article in 2016. Although he begins with a specific discussion of Zika, he goes on to describe the halakhic and moral issues relating to abortion. Given the current controversies on this topic, we are reprinting Dr. Grazi's article in order to provide a broader religious Jewish framework for discussing this issue.
Prayer is hard! Even for those of us who attend synagogue services regularly, there are a number of fundamental impediments to prayer.
In a list of new developments in Judaism in the twenty-first century, one would have to include the search for Jewish spirituality. This includes the discovery of spiritual practices such as meditation, yoga, and prayer—often adapted from Eastern religions. In this essay, I will examine this phenomenon by employing a method of investigation that attempts to address contemporary issues through textual study called “Textual Reasoning” (http://etext.virginia.edu/journals/tr/).
During the Sefira period between Pessah and Shavuot, a variety of stringent customs have arisen. Prohibitions have emerged relating to listening to music, shaving, hair cuts and more. When did these practices arise and how are they to be observed today?
Dr. Gloria Ascher writes about her Ladino group, and the Sephardic wisdom reflected in the Ladino tradition.