When we speak of imbuing children with good midot and derekh erets, we are speaking of the creation of the total mentch that he or she can become. This quest cannot be accomplished by measures that address only a part of that whole. We must address the whole person.
The Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals began as an idea, as a framework for reshaping the thinking within the Orthodox Jewish community and beyond. It has been a strong, steady voice for diversity, creativity, dynamism. It has been a strong, steady voice against authoritarianism, obscurantism, extremism and sectarianism. We thank our friends and supporters as we celebrate our 15th anniversary.
As Jewish days schools and Torah institutions, it is within the core of our ethos to make the character development of our children a fundamental aspect of their Jewish educational experience. This article by Rabbi David Teller continues this conversation with some suggested first steps.
Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks was the Chief Rabbi of the British Commonwealth.This excerpt is from his book, To Heal the World, and is reprinted by permission of Schocken Books, a division of Random House. This excerpt appeared in issue 2 of Conversations, the journal of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals. Rabbi Sacks passed away in November 2020.
The power of Jewish wisdom during the era of racial upheaval was perhaps most evident when Rabbi Joachim Prinz spoke right before King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech at the Washington Mall in 1963. In front of one of the largest civil rights marches in our country’s history, Prinz started by saying, “I speak to you as an American Jew.”
The Jewish Press has a bi-weekly feature in which a panel of Rabbis is asked a question. One of the respondents is Rabbi Marc Angel. Here are Rabbi Angel's responses to recent questions.
When we deal with others, it is essential to understand their non-verbal communication. Likewise, we need to be sure that our own non-verbal communication is in sync with our words. The line between authenticity and hypocrisy is easily blurred.
The people of ancient Egypt were fortunate to have a ruler such as Pharaoh. All nations--all communities-- could benefit from leaders who share Pharaoh’s wisdom, intellectual openness, “spaciousness of mind.”
Whereas the Psalmist refers to tzadikim and to yishrei lev, the ideal is to incorporate both qualities in our lives. Our steadfast commitment to truth and Godliness can be accompanied by the joy of warm-hearted relationships with others. One who combines the virtues of the tzadik with those of the yishrei lev is one whose joy is full.
Although the medieval recasting of Hanukkah as a celebration of the victories of the Maccabees is important, the core of the talmudic observance celebrates the Sages' stand against assimilation and religious zealotry.