Judaism features

Would Louis Jacobs have made a difference as Chief Rabbi?

By Rabbi Dr Jeremy Rosen, July 7, 2016

Louis Jacobs was the last kind of Anglo-Jewish rabbi who was a rational thinker, an outstanding academic and a traditional talmudist; an alumnus of the Gateshead Kollel and a pupil of the outstanding Rav Dessler.

He was senior lecturer at the now defunct Jews' College, where Torah and academia co-existed. He was expected to follow Isidore Epstein as its head.


T​he DIY spirit that is defying the impact of religious recession

By Simon Rocker, June 23, 2016

The first night of Pesach conveniently fell on a Friday night this year, making it easier for many people to organise a Seder.


London is crying out for a new modern Orthodox high school

By Felicia Epstein, June 16, 2016

There is a crying need in the London Jewish community for a state-funded secondary school which is committed to a tolerant and inclusive modern Orthodoxy.


Ruth, the outsider who became a role model of redemption

By Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence, June 9, 2016

Among the themes of Megillat Ruth, which we read on Shavuot next week, we see an emphasis on names and lineage. In the aftermath of a devastating famine, a man called Elimelech, whose name means "my God is King", has left his home in Bet-lechem (Bethlehem), which means the "house of bread".

In exile, his sons die.


The reason why God spoke at the revelation on Sinai

By Lord Sacks, May 26, 2016

The pagan cultures of ancient times and today's science-based atheism have one thing in common. They hold that all there is, is bounded by the physical, essentially material world of nature.


Has neuroscience killed off the idea that we have free will?

By Rabbi Samuel Landau, May 20, 2016

A Texas court last week ruled that teenager Ethan Crouch must spend nearly two years in prison for killing four people in a drink-driving crash when he was 16. He had initially received a probationary sentence after his defence argued that he suffered from the psychological malaise, "affluenza".


The modern Orthodox rabbi who keeps the fire of Aish burning

By Simon Rocker, May 12, 2016

Rabbi Daniel Rowe, the new executive director of the Orthodox outreach organisation Aish UK, is widely regarded as one of the smartest young British rabbis around.


The last days of Pesach: keeping faith amid a sea of uncertainty

By Rabbi David Lister, April 27, 2016

To us, the departure from Egypt looks like a victorious conclusion to centuries of slavery and the story of the Ten Plagues. Broken by the death of their firstborn, the Egyptians pressed their wealth on the Jews and begged them to leave. The Jews left in triumph; not even a dog barked at them as they left (Exodus 12).

But God had another trick up His sleeve.


A question for your Seder table: why do we have three matzot?

By Rabbi Chaim Weiner, April 21, 2016

There is an almost universal custom to place three pieces of matzah on the Seder table. In the list of instructions at the beginning of the Haggadah the three matzot are always mentioned. Judaica shops around the world sell plates with three sections for each of the matzot. So it might come as a surprise that it is not at all clear why one should have three pieces of matzah at the Seder.


Why Israel should look east for a model of religious moderation

By Simon Rocker, April 14, 2016

When Eli Bareket was growing up in Israel, he reached the final of a pre-Pesach school quiz. One of the questions, about the Seder song Echad Mi Yadea, asked "who knows two"?

Two are the tablets which Moses brought down from Sinai, of course. But that was not what young Eli wrote. He put down "Moses and Aaron". "Wrong," said the teacher.