At 3 a.m., the train to Washington D.C. stopped in Stamford. I boarded with many congregants. I marched in the front row with Martin Luther King, Jr., and then watched him as he delivered his “I have a Dream” speech. It was an important moment not only in Black and U.S. history, but also in Jewish history. The next year, when Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Jews were beneficiaries of newfound rights, along with African Americans.
Our National Scholar, Rabbi Hayyim Angel, published a new Book Review in Tradition (the journal of the Rabbinical Council of America) discussing the interface between religious Bible study and archaeology.
The core of Jewish liturgy traces back to the early rabbinic period. Over the centuries, Sephardim and Ashkenazim developed different nuances in their prayer liturgies. It is valuable to learn about the differences that emerged, to see how rabbinic interpretations and cultures shaped the religious experiences underlying prayer.
During the past several decades, policies on conversion have become highly publicized. Many who favor the lenient position become intimidated, and choose not to oppose the needlessly stringent policies that have gained credence within much of the rabbinic community. A situation of this kind is inimical to the interests of the Torah world.
Orthodoxy has defined itself as a single group having two faces. One is outward-looking, engaging with the outside world in all its complexity, while maintaining fidelity to Orthodox faith and commitments. The other is assertively parochial, defined by those commonly called Hareidim, who are assertively inward-looking, creating all sorts of ideological and behavioral barriers to acculturation.
Haham Gaon represented a balanced religiosity, deeply faithful to tradition while deeply sensitive to the needs and feelings of modern men and women. Haham Gaon was a model of dignity, compassion, and total commitment to the People of Israel and the State of Israel. As a proud Sephardic rabbi, he refused to compromise his own traditions in order to curry favor among others.
The rabbinic conferences in Morocco are the only example in modern times of a living halakha that responded to contemporary concerns with a united rabbinic front. These rabbis had confidence in their authority and didn't feel the need to look over their shoulders. Who knows what would have been achieved in Morocco had the conferences continued?
We are thrilled to report the ongoing programming of our Campus Fellows throughout the United States and Canada, as we promote our values and content through an inclusive, thoughtful Orthodoxy. Here are the latest reports of our fellows and their programming.
Our generation has witnessed a flowering of Orthodox women publishing on diverse facets of religious Tanakh learning, ranging from associative, insight-based derashot, to rigorous analytical peshat scholarship, to parshanut scholarship that emphasizes the contributions of individual commentators. In this essay, Rabbi Hayyim Angel briefly surveys the work of several outstanding scholars.
Increasing lights is an appealing concept, both aesthetically and spiritually. When we cast light on a problem, we clarify the issues. The more light we enjoy, the less we succumb to shadows and illusions.It is all too easy to make mistaken judgments by chasing shadows rather than realities.