One modern technique of responsible stewardship is the “stress test.” This technique forces leaders to consider the effects of undesirable and even unjust possibilities they might otherwise ignore. Can religious ideologies be stress-tested?
All groups need discerning judgment. Even Orthodox Jews who restrict their broader exposure and encounter mostly rabbinic influences must differentiate between more and less reasonable voices.
We need to get beyond the “victim mentality.” We need to do far more to foster a positive, confident and courageous Jewish people. We need to publicize and promote philo-Semitism.
Rabbi Hayyim Angel writes short book reviews on recently published books of interest. This article appears in issue 42 of Conversations, the journal of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals.
There is one supreme God who is the Creator of all nature, and there are no forces competing with God. God is absolutely free. God is timeless, ageless, nonphysical, and eternal. Nature is a stage on which God expresses His will in history. Rituals do not harness independent magical powers and do not work automatically.
Yom Kippur is a gift that God has given to those who follow the Torah. But its message is a gift for all humanity. “A free man, when he fails, blames nobody.” Nobody, that is, except oneself. When one can be honest before God, one is on the road to personal freedom.
Jewish tradition is passed on from one generation to the next. The mystery of Jewish survival is really no mystery: it is the result of incredible faith and commitment on the part of parents and grandparents; it is the result of the younger generations taking hold of the tradition with full hearts and minds.
The Book of Jonah is a larger-than-life story of every individual who seeks closeness with God. There is a paradoxical recognition that the closer one comes to God, the more one becomes conscious of the chasm separating God’s wisdom from our own.
The current policies of the Orthodox rabbinic/beth din establishment are causing anguish to thousands of would-be converts and their families; are turning would-be converts away from Orthodoxy; are de-legitimizing Orthodox rabbis and converts who do not subscribe to the "establishment" positions; are causing thousands of halakhic converts to fear that their and their children's halakhic status will be undermined.
Moses reminds us that recognition hunger can be satisfied to a great extent by our own internal validation. When we feel that our work is meaningful, we feel validated even if others do not praise us.