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.
During the Six Day War in 1967, Israel regained control of East Jerusalem. This was a historic event that returned the ancient holy sites of the Old City to Israeli sovereignty. Yom Yerushalayim has become a day of religious and national commemoration.
In reading the Haggadah, we envision the vast crowd of Israelites who experienced the Exodus first hand. We identify with them and feel part of their peoplehood. At the same time, though, we envision the unique talents and aspirations of each member of the family and community. The goal is to raise all of us to a high level of understanding, solidarity and love.
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.
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?
It is a pity that Presidents' Day is simply treated as a day off from school or work; or a day for special sales. Wouldn't it be far more valuable for children to stay in school and learn about Washington and Lincoln? Wouldn't it be more sensible for all Americans to use the day to learn about the Presidents who helped make the United States a bastion of liberty?
At this historic moment when a visionary religious leadership is so urgently needed…we get, instead, divisive and extreme statements from Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef; divisive and extreme policies vis a vis halakhic conversion; divisive and extreme attitudes that serve to drive people away from Torah and mitzvoth.