Winding Through Music, A Luminous Journey

When I was in high school, a friend and I decided we needed to know whether God existed. It was a big public high school on Long Island, full of Catholics and Protestants who went to church and enough Jews to support a kosher bakery just around the corner from the football field. Everyone got along pretty well. But apart from bar mitzvahs, first communions, and the Civil Rights Movement—which galvanized much of the town’s clergy—daily life didn’t seem to have much to do with religion. God was mostly for holidays.

Growing Gender Issues within the Orthodox Community: A Psychohistorical Perspective

Development of Formal Jewish Education for Women in the Orthodox Community

The issues surrounding the education and status of women have been universal over time and cultures. As late as 1868, the English parliament was debating whether women could own property. One of its statesmen announced the following, which was picked up by The London Times, “giving women the right to own property will destroy marriages and society as we know it” (Munday, 2012). This issue, incidentally, was resolved by the Torah thousands of years ago in the divine decision relayed by Moses to the five daughters of Zelophehad, giving them the right to own land (Num. 27:1–11).

Challenges and Opportunities for a Robust Orthodox Judaism

The mid-nineteenth century was a heady era for Reform Judaism in America, with a strong influx of German Jewish immigrants for whom the modernity of Classical Reform resonated. By the middle of the twentieth century, the whole world seemed to be moving toward Conservative Judaism—certainly Orthodox Judaism was the odd man out, or so it appeared. The Jewish community fully embraced suburbanization, and whether in the city or in the suburb, new synagogues being built were almost entirely without mehitsot (partitions between men and women) and with large parking lots.

A New Analysis of "Kol B'Isha Erva"

There is no prohibition whatsoever of innocent singing; rather, only singing intended for sexual stimulation, or flirtatious singing, is forbidden. Although this distinction is not explicit in the early rabbinic sources, it closely fits the character of the prohibition as described in different contexts in the Talmud and the Rishonim, and it is supported by the language of the Rambam, the Tur, and the Shulchan Arukh.

Single Women Who Want to Have a Baby

Question to Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, Rosh Yeshiva of the Hesder Yeshiva of Petach Tikva:

I ask you to bravely write an answer to a question that has been disturbing me very much for quite some time. I am a thirty-six years old woman, rather pretty, educated and well taken care of, who has been attempting for over fifteen years to get married, but to no avail…

I want to have a child!!! I dream all the time about him and I want a child!!!

Text and Context: Reflections on Contemporary Orthodoxy

“Home” is a concept not easily put into words. It is our refuge, our sanctum, our institution for the whole. It evokes the pictures of the happy family, of children playing in security, and the nurturing environment in which people grow into themselves. It is the place you go back to, that you belong to.

When home is not where your heart is, and the individuals comprising that home have no cohesive identity, there is no belonging – and sooner or later, those individuals (since, after all, that is all they are) learn that their home is broken, and they therefore run away to the refuge of their castles in the air (of which their psychologists collect the rent).

End the Chief Rabbinate's Monopoly

It’s painful to have one’s rabbinic credentials challenged by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. But that’s exactly what’s happened to me. In truth, it’s much more hurtful to the many people I’ve been honored to serve over the years.

In recent days, I have been informed that letters I’ve written attesting to the Jewishness and personal status of congregants have been rejected by the office of the Chief Rabbinate. I’m not the only Orthodox rabbi to have his letters rejected – there are others.

I have chosen to go public because the issue is not about me, it’s about a Chief Rabbinate whose power has gone to its head. As Israel’s appointed rabbinate, it is accountable to no one but itself.

Learning to Say Thank You

There is probably no sentiment as fundamental to Judaism as recognizing the good that others do for us and expressing our gratitude to them (in Hebrew, “hakarat ha-tov”). God is reputed to have created the world in a burst of loving-kindness for which humanity and all living creatures should intuitively praise Him, and the Jewish people’s special relationship with God is predicated on His kindness in having redeemed the Jews from Egypt. The very word for Jew in Hebrew, Yehudi, comes from the verb le-hodot, to thank, and hearkens back to our foremother Leah thanking God for giving birth to her fourth son. Therefore, I was not surprised to recently come upon a poster in Har Nof (a largely Haredi, Jerusalem suburb) proclaiming that this Jewish calendar year is the year of Hakarat Ha-tov.