A rabbi who introduces stringencies does not thereby gain the title of being “frum.” To declare something forbidden is far easier than to declare something permissible. A really frum rabbi (or lay person) is most often characterized by a spirit of compassion, intellectual openness, and a desire to expand, rather than contract, legitimate religious observance.
During the upcoming period of Elul and the High Holy Days, it is customary to increase our charitable giving. Do we have a philosophy that governs our charitable outlays? Or do we just make contributions randomly, based on who asks us first or who
approaches us most respectfully?
It’s important for all of us—not just synagogue rabbis and leaders—to work to maintain a sense of community. It may not be so simple these days to sit down together for a cup of coffee, but it isn’t so complicated to make a phone call, send an email, share a joke…to let others know that we care, that they matter to us.
There are, unfortunately, people of various religions and races who are indeed racists and/or anti-Semites. They are a threat to society, and a threat to themselves.However, there are people who are branded as racists or anti-Semites, but who are incorrectly stigmatized with these terms. One must think very carefully before labeling someone as a racist/anti-Semite.
(Statement of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals, prepared by Rabbi Hayyim and Maxine Angel)
Orthodox communities that wish to employ qualified women in rabbinical positions should be free to do so and should have our blessing. Dogmatic and divisive resolutions do not solve controversial issues. The Modern Orthodox community should not fear positive change, but should welcome it.
A Memorial Tribute to Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm
from Rabbi Marc D. Angel
We join the Lamm family in mourning the passing of Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm, one of the great American rabbis of our generation. His leadership to Yeshiva University and the wider community was marked by wisdom, eloquence, and courage.
Modern technology makes it quite easy for people to post hostile remarks against those with whom they disagree. These ad hominem attacks gain lives of their own, being forwarded to readers who then forward them to others etc. People feel that it’s fine for them to vent, to call names, to discredit others. In their self-righteousness, they don’t realize the gravity of their transgressions.
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!
Here are some thoughts about what we might institute as a way of saying that women are very much counted in the community; that their scholarship is admired; that their presence is critical.