Every individual is capable of performing acts of great good and great evil; everyone is capable of causing great influence and making great change. Doing good deeds can be tremendously impactful even on the micro level. Acts as seemingly trivial as greeting a neighbor with a smile or holding the door for a stranger can completely turn around someone’s day.
As we commemorate Rabbi Hayyim Angel’s 25th anniversary of rabbinic service, we salute him not only for an amazing career as rabbi and teacher…but for being an exemplar of what a religious Jew should be. He is a clear-thinking and erudite rabbinic scholar, an inspiring educator, and a kind, sincere and thoughtful human being.
Nathan Weissler, a member of our Institute's University Network, has written a very important essay on the obligation of inclusiveness, especially in religious communities. His perceptive and personal account should inspire all of us to do our best to help our communities rise to the challenge.
For some critics, everyone in the world seems to have rights...except Jews. Every nation in the world has the right to defend its citizens...except Israel. These are positions which must be repudiated by all fair-minded people. These are positions which most surely should be repudiated by the victims of such views...the Jews themselves.
Social justice lies at the very heart of the Torah. God holds all nations accountable for morality, including Israel. Israel’s being God’s Chosen People places additional responsibility onto Israel to serve as the model moral nation for the world. God rejects religious rituals when they are unaccompanied by a righteous, moral lifestyle.
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. It was reprinted in issue 35 of Conversations.
The Jewish Press newspaper has a bi-weekly feature in which several rabbis are asked to respond to the editor's questions. Rabbi Marc Angel is one of the respondents, and here are several of his responses to recent questions.
The statement in Devarim that the nations of the world would exclaim “what a wise and discerning nation” was not merely descriptive—it was also prescriptive and obligated Am Yisrael to constantly maintain an image of being at the forefront of mathematical, scientific and theologico-philosophical thinking. Am Yisrael should never be seen as “backwards.”
Was my mother a success? Was she happy? Did she fulfill her mission in life? The answer to these questions depends on how we evaluate success, happiness and fulfillment in life.
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.