Rabbi Hayyim Hirschensohn (1856-1935), who lived and worked in Jerusalem and in the United States at the beginning of the Twentieth Century, was born in Tzfat. His thought has intrigued many Jews who strive to combine Judaism and modernity, religion and life, thereby seeking to resolve the conflict between their firm commitment to Halakha and their growing openness to the modern world.
Was my mother a success? Was she happy? Did she fulfill her mission in life? The answer to these questions depends on how we evaluate success, happiness and fulfillment in life.
People are greatly in need of a liberating religious message. We yearn for relationship with our fellow human beings; we reach out for a spiritual direction to the Eternal Thou. It is not easy to be a strong, whole and self-confident I; it is not easy to relate to others as genuine Thous; it is a challenge to reach out to the Eternal Thou. Yet, without these proper relationships, neither we nor our society can flourish properly.
How ought religion, including Modern Jewish Orthodoxy, interact with America’s political democracy? And can it survive our current culture? Not surprisingly, these simple questions simultaneously point in many directions. Although answers are complex, I do think that a few meaningful generalizations are possible.
Song of Songs contains some of the most tender expressions of love and intimacy in the Bible. On its literal level, the Song expresses the mutual love of a man and a woman. From ancient times, traditional interpreters have almost universally agreed that there is an allegorical or symbolic layer of meaning as well.
The Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals opened in the autumn of 2007. As we approach our 14th anniversary, we thank you for your continued loyalty and support. To mark this anniversary, we plan to include a Scroll of Honor in the autumn issue of our journal, Conversations.
1. Women: Tradition, and Thoughts for the Future
2. Intermarriage and Conversion
3. Universalism vs. Particularism: Sephardism and/or Sephardic Ethnicity
The laws of the Red Heifer are in the category of "hok," laws which transcend human comprehension. Yet, we can learn a lot from this kind of law.
Rabbi Alan Yuter describes the halakhic approach of his late teacher, Hakham Yosef Faur. Hakham Faur was a controversial figure who was both highly traditional and highly independent as a religious thinker.
Purim is a reminder that there is a fine line between reality and illusion. Blurring that line once a year underscores how easily one might lose sight of truth and authenticity. But after the day of masquerading, we are supposed to have come to a better understanding of who we are under the mask…and who we are when we don’t wear masks.