Judaism features

Women's learning is a vital link in the chain of tradition

By Rabbi Dr Adam Mintz, November 12, 2015

I walk into a shiur, and the 12 students open their Gemara Gittin. An internet connection allows us to include two more students, a Londoner and a Bostonian, in the learning experience. Asked to read, one student begins with the Gemara and continues with a flawless reading and explanation of Rashi.

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Revealed: The secrets behind the UK’s super synagogues

By Simon Rocker, November 5, 2015

When American sociologist Professor Steven Cohen came here to carry out a study of British synagogues, he had to learn a new word: “rota”. Was it some kind of food, he wondered, “like roti”.

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How synagogues can make transgender Jews feel welcome

By Rabbi Leah Jordan, October 29, 2015

In the past few months, transgender people have moved from the twilight into the spotlight.

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Could this woman lead a revolution in British Jewry?

By Simon Rocker, October 29, 2015

Hampstead Synagogue welcomed a much larger crowd than usual on Friday night. It was not only because of Shabbat UK: the community's new scholar-in-residence Dina Brawer was making her debut.

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Shabbat is more than taking a break from a busy week

October 21, 2015

In 1844 the American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne was relaxing at a clearing in the woods near Concord Massachusetts at a place called Sleepy Hollow. He recorded in his notebook his experience of utter stillness and tranquillity: "Sunshine glimmers through shadow, and shadow effaces sunshine, imagining that pleasant mood of mind where gaiety and pensiveness intermingle."

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Modern Orthodoxy needs the courage to confront difficult questions

By Rabbi Dr Michael Harris, October 15, 2015

My new book, Faith Without Fear, is about modern Orthodoxy.

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How Abraham founded the biblical school of mindfulness

By Rabbi Samuel Landau, October 8, 2015

The world of psychology has fallen in love with mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness is the intentional focusing of one's attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment, with acceptance and compassion.

What does Judaism have to say about this form of meditation? Do we have anything similar in our traditions?

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Why Succot shouldn't leave you out of pocket

By Rabbi Jeremy Gordon, September 24, 2015

Hiddur is the concept of making Jewish observance glorious or beautiful. The aim of living an observant Jewish life isn't taking every short-cut and looking to get away with every least-demanding option.

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Is Yom Kippur really all about repenting?

By Rabbi Jeremy Rosen, September 17, 2015

People are often surprised when I say there is no actual command in the Torah to repent. You might compare it to the afterlife. It is something that was so obvious on a spiritual level and so universally accepted by every civilisation at that time that it did not need to be stipulated in a book concerned with living life in the present.

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Is breaking Shabbat worse than stealing?

By Rabbi Dr Raphael Zarum, September 10, 2015

I thought it was a simple enough question: which are the worst sins in Judaism? In many synagogues the rabbi's High Holy Day sermons encourage their community to "do a little more", or "take on just one more mitzvah". This is because they are realists and understand that change happens slowly.

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