Please join us for a zoom class with Rabbi Marc D. Angel. We'll be studying Rambam's Laws of Repentance. Classes will be on Friday mornings, 10:30 am Eastern Daylight Time, beginning on August 7. Please register here: https://www.jewishideas.org/zoom-class-rambams-laws-repentance
In the story “Tehilla,” Agnon’s narrator is standing at the Kotel, contemplating prayer: “I stood at times among the worshipers, and at times among those who wonder.” That’s life for S.Y. Agnon, and that’s life in an Agnon story. Indeed, for people of faith who understand that faith is complex – that’s life.
Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks was the Chief Rabi 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.
These are excerpts about Rabbi Yaacov Huli (1689-1732) drawn from Rabbi Marc D. Angel's book, Voices in Exile. Rabbi Huli originated the Me'am Lo'ez, a Ladino biblical encyclopedia that reached many thousands of readers throughout the Sephardic world. In recent years, the Me'am Lo'ez had been published in Hebrew translation. Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, of blessed memory, translated the Me'am Lo'ez into English.
The religious establishment is obligated to address cases of intermarriage, children of intermarriages, and people of Jewish ancestry. The key to Jewish unity is for Batei Din to recognize the rulings of others who follow different halakhic opinions, even when they vigorously disagree with their positions.
Grace Aguilar (1816-1847) was concerned that the wave of modernism was undermining the foundations of traditional religious life. Jews were seeking success in the secular world; the bond of religion was weakening. She was particularly aware of the spiritual crisis among youth, and she was a strong voice for women's spiritual development.
The fast of Tisha B'Av begins Wednesday night July 29 and ends after dark on Thursday night July 30. The Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Israel has ruled that covid 19 patients must not fast. Rabbi Moshe Zuriel has issued a ruling permitting pregnant women to eat and drink limited amounts during the course of the day.
The Talmud records a poignant story relating to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 CE. Although historians describe various political, sociological, and military explanations, the Talmud—through the story of Kamtsa and Bar Kamtsa—points to a moral/spiritual cause of the destruction:
Rabbis are expected to be teachers to their congregations. But it is not often enough realized that rabbis have much to learn from their congregants! When I think of the many synagogue members I have known over the past half century, I rejoice at how much I learned from them in so many ways. And I learned a great deal from Ike Cohen, a man of reason and integrity, a genuine friend.
Benjamin Nathan Cardozo (1870-1938) was one of the greatest American jurists. He served as Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals from 1926 until his appointment to the United States Supreme Court in 1932. He was known for his calm wisdom, personal dignity, and his commitment to social justice. His speeches and writings were characterized by clear thinking and graceful style.