Blogs

The question about saying Hallel with a blessing on Yom haAtsmaut has much broader implications. Is halakha a closed system that operates solely within its four cubits? Or is halakha a system of life that responds in a living way to the realities of our lives?

Many years ago, when I was still a young boy growing up in Seattle, a fund-raiser from Israel visited our home shortly before the Pessah festival. After receiving his donation, he wished us a “hag kasher ve-sameah”—a happy and kosher Pessah.  My mother was deeply offended!

Until 1968, Americans celebrated February 12 as Abraham Lincoln’s birthday and February 22 as George Washington’s birthday. These commemorations were then replaced with Presidents’ Day on the third Monday of February.

Should the music of Rabbi Carlebach—or any other composer—be banned because of alleged or real private moral failings? Or should the music stand on its own merits, regardless of the personal life of the musician?

The Jewish philosopher, Martin Buber (1878-1965) was among the most influential thinkers of his time. His writings had a powerful impact on the Swedish diplomat, Dag Hammarskjold (1905-1961), who served as the second Secretary General of the United Nations, from April 1953 until his death in a plane crash in September 1961. They shared a great dream for the U.N.

As the United States commemorates Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 15, 2018, here are several memorable quotations of Dr. King's that reflect his teachings, and his feelings for Jews and Israel.

 

Faith is taking the first step even when you can't see the whole staircase.

On December 6, 2017, President Donald Trump made it official that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the Capital of the State of Israel. That Jerusalem is Israel's capital should be obvious to everyone...and many thoughtful people rejoice at this acknowledgment of truth.

The lessons to be learned from this campaign run the gamut. And the fact that there are so many insights to be gleaned indicates that there is in fact one larger, meta lesson to be learned: Men, and particularly male educators, leaders and aspiring leaders, must listen before any of the larger lessons can be absorbed.

MK Aryeh Deri derided Modern Orthodoxy as “Borderline Reform” as reported by Israel TV’s Channel 2. This head of the Haredi Sefardic political party, Shas, has served a prison term for criminal corruption, hardly a badge of honor for an Orthodox spokesman we would expect to be committed as a matter of conscience to “doing what is right and good” [Deut 6:18].

Among the many essays and books that he authored was a work of translation and commentary entitled, “Restoration of Zion as a Response During the Holocaust: Em Habanim Semeicha” (Ktav, 1999) by Rabbi Yissakhar Shlomo Teichthal, hy”d, who himself was to be martyred during the Shoah.

The question about saying Hallel with a blessing on Yom haAtsmaut has much broader implications. Is halakha a closed system that operates solely within its four cubits? Or is halakha a system of life that responds in a living way to the realities of our lives?

Many years ago, when I was still a young boy growing up in Seattle, a fund-raiser from Israel visited our home shortly before the Pessah festival. After receiving his donation, he wished us a “hag kasher ve-sameah”—a happy and kosher Pessah.  My mother was deeply offended!

Until 1968, Americans celebrated February 12 as Abraham Lincoln’s birthday and February 22 as George Washington’s birthday. These commemorations were then replaced with Presidents’ Day on the third Monday of February.

Should the music of Rabbi Carlebach—or any other composer—be banned because of alleged or real private moral failings? Or should the music stand on its own merits, regardless of the personal life of the musician?

The Jewish philosopher, Martin Buber (1878-1965) was among the most influential thinkers of his time. His writings had a powerful impact on the Swedish diplomat, Dag Hammarskjold (1905-1961), who served as the second Secretary General of the United Nations, from April 1953 until his death in a plane crash in September 1961. They shared a great dream for the U.N.

As the United States commemorates Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 15, 2018, here are several memorable quotations of Dr. King's that reflect his teachings, and his feelings for Jews and Israel.

 

Faith is taking the first step even when you can't see the whole staircase.

On December 6, 2017, President Donald Trump made it official that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the Capital of the State of Israel. That Jerusalem is Israel's capital should be obvious to everyone...and many thoughtful people rejoice at this acknowledgment of truth.

The lessons to be learned from this campaign run the gamut. And the fact that there are so many insights to be gleaned indicates that there is in fact one larger, meta lesson to be learned: Men, and particularly male educators, leaders and aspiring leaders, must listen before any of the larger lessons can be absorbed.

MK Aryeh Deri derided Modern Orthodoxy as “Borderline Reform” as reported by Israel TV’s Channel 2. This head of the Haredi Sefardic political party, Shas, has served a prison term for criminal corruption, hardly a badge of honor for an Orthodox spokesman we would expect to be committed as a matter of conscience to “doing what is right and good” [Deut 6:18].

Among the many essays and books that he authored was a work of translation and commentary entitled, “Restoration of Zion as a Response During the Holocaust: Em Habanim Semeicha” (Ktav, 1999) by Rabbi Yissakhar Shlomo Teichthal, hy”d, who himself was to be martyred during the Shoah.