Rav Benzion Meir Hai Uziel and Rav Ovadia Yosef were two towering figures of the twentieth-century Sephardic rabbinical world. They seem to share much in common. Yet a closer look at their worldviews marks a sharp distinction in two important areas: 1) the definition of a posek (rabbinic decisor of Jewish law), and 2) the Sephardi-Ashkenazi divide.
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.
Rabbi Yamin Levy attended the wedding of a young couple, both raised in a strong Orthodox Sephardic community, yet religiously influenced by Chabad and Breslav. Their attempt at creating a ceremony that was true to their Sephardic heritage and reflected the Ashkenazic/Hassidic traditions of their rabbis inspired the writing of this essay.
THE INSTITUTE FOR JEWISH IDEAS AND IDEALS NEEDS YOU!
This article discusses some cases, reflective of the educational approach of many religious schools and individuals, that are symptomatic of serious problems in the way our community transmits Torah teachings. The fundamentalist, literalist position—so vehemently criticized by Rambam—still holds sway among many Orthodox Jews.
In this article, originally appearing in issue 10 of our journal Conversations, Dr. Zvi Zohar discusses the rise in extremist positions relating to conversion to Judaism. We are re-posting the article in light of ongoing tragic situations where halakhically valid conversions are being rejected or annulled.
Jews have had a continuous presence in Greece for over 2,300 years, dating back to the time of Alexander the Great. This ancient community, known as Romaniote Jews, has the distinction of the longest, continuous Jewish presence in the European Diaspora. Romaniotes possess a unique set of practices, poetry, songs, and traditions unlike any other Jewish community in the world. Yet this historic and incredibly rich tradition is under threat.
Tanakh is not a systematic theology, science, or history. We treat nearly all of Tanakh as historical, but God did not reveal prophecies to the prophets in order to teach science or history. God is speaking to us, and it is our religious obligation to hear, understand, and listen to that voice. We take all of the texts seriously, even if some of them may be understood as non-literal.
Rav Saban, like Rav Uziel, sought reasonable halakhic solutions to contemporary problems. Voices like theirs are very much needed today.
The Jewish Press has a bi-weekly feature in which questions are asked to a group of rabbis. Rabbi Marc D. Angel is one of the respondents and here are his answers to several of the recent questions.