Thinking Jews should be standing up for a genuine modern Orthodoxy that insists on functioning in contemporary world-time. While facing modernity has its real challenges, not facing modernity will lead Orthodoxy into a cult-like existence-- out of touch with reality, out of touch with the needs of thinking and feeling human beings…out of touch with Torah itself.
There is a feeling among many Jews, including many Orthodox Jews, that worship in the synagogue lacks adequate inspiration and spirituality. Among the complaints: the synagogue ritual is chanted by rote; the prayers are recited too quickly; the prayers are recited too slowly; the service is not understood by congregants; people talk too much in synagogue; the services do not involve everyone in a meaningful way.
Can we learn from the story of religious persecution and humiliation that characterized Islamic Spain? Can we learn to shape a better, more harmonious world by insisting on genuine respect, equality, decency, and theological humility among all religions? Can we afford not to learn these lessons?
Rabbi Marc Angel reviews a new book by Rabbi Hillel Goldberg, "Across the Expanse of Jewish Thought: From the Holocaust to Halakhah and Beyond."
The Torah is teaching that even seemingly minor characters can have tremendous impact on the unfolding of history. Even people whose deeds are hardly noticed, whose names we don’t even know—even such people may be courageous beyond measure.
It is with great sadness that we've learned of the passing of Rabbi Dr. Abraham Levy, for many years rabbi of the Spanish and Portuguese congregation in London. A distinguished rabbi, he was a longtime friend and colleague of Rabbi Marc Angel, of New York's Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue. Rabbi Angel reviewed a book by Rabbi Levy several years ago, and we re-post it in memory of Rabbi Abraham Levy.
For the first time in history, the Torah presented a vision to the masses a vision with a radically different understanding of God and humanity. It introduced new understandings of the law, of political office, of military power, of taxation, of social welfare. What we find in the Torah is a platform for social order marked with the imprint of divinity.
Rabbi Hayyim Angel reviews Rabbi Marc Angel's new volume, a collection of articles, "Sephardim, Sephardism and Jewish Peoplehood." For information about ordering the book, please email [email protected]
In a traditional religious setting, there need not be a generation gap where alienation sets in between the generations. In some unique, mysterious way, the different generations see themselves as contemporaries. We share a spiritual outlook, a set of ideals, a style of living according to the mitzvoth.
We Jews, including Orthodox Jews, do not much use the word mission, having largely ceded the term to adherents of other religions. Yet a sense of mission is critical to giving our lives shape and meaning, and perhaps we ought to use the term more frequently and consider more thoughtfully the mission of our existence.