Judaism features

Shavuot puts the meaning into mitzvah

By Rabbi Dr Ben Elton, June 1, 2014

The latest stir in America’s modern Orthodox community has come from an article by Jay Lefkowitz in Commentary, called “The Rise of Social Orthodoxy”. Lefkowitz considers himself to be social Orthodox, which means that he largely observes halachah, but not because he (necessarily) believes that God commanded him.

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Should faith schools be able to drop evolution?

By Simon Rocker, May 19, 2014

The children and their adult escorts have gathered beneath the long bony neck of Dippy the diplodocus, the giant replica skeleton which stands in the lobby of the Natural History Museum. Sunday morning cheder for these pupils from Belsize Square Synagogue is not going to be in class.

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Women should be able to carry the Torah, too

By Benedict Roth, May 11, 2014

Access to Jewish education for women was debated in the Mishnah nearly 2,000 years ago.

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Same-sex marriage will widen the religious rift

By Rabbi Zvi Solomons, April 27, 2014

Three years ago the internet was awash with pictures of two frum Jewish men under a chupah in New York, wearing white kittels. The headlines screamed that this was the first “Orthodox” gay wedding.

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Why did we sing when the Egyptians drowned?

By Rabbi Dr Raphael Zarum, April 18, 2014

With each of the Ten Plagues, God escalated the attack on Pharaoh, but it was the Splitting of the Red Sea which finally finished off the Egyptian menace. This occurred seven days after leaving Egypt, so we now read this story annually on the seventh day of Pesach. But why did Pharaoh and his army all have to drown?

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Why one is the Seder's special number

By Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, April 11, 2014

At the Seder table, we celebrate the fact that every single person can connect with our Torah tradition. We read in the Haggadah that the Torah addresses itself to four types of children who represent a cross-section of the Jewish people. “The Torah speaks to four children: one who is wise, one who is wicked, one who is simple and one who does not know how to ask”.

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Pesach frees us from the tyranny of time

By Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer, April 6, 2014

Last year during filming BBC1’s programme about the Seder, I was asked a question by one of the participants that challenged my thinking and enriched my Seder experience.

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The fruits of shmittah do not only grow on trees

By Rabbi Jeremy Gordon, March 23, 2014

A twig once delivered an epiphany. One warm Jerusalem evening I was part of an outdoor Friday evening prayer service. I felt a branch, from the tree next to me, brushing against my shoulder. I went to snap it off and stopped. It was Shabbat. On Shabbat I move and the twig lives to bud another day.

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The fateful rejection behind Haman's hate

By Benedict Roth, March 14, 2014

The nation of Amalek is presented in the Bible as a nihilistic, destructive force that attacks without mercy and without reason. Saul, Israel’s first king, had an opportunity to exterminate Amalek entirely but, whether because of compassion or because of greed, he stayed his hand and was punished for his hesitancy.

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Ritual is the DNA that defines who we are

By Rabbi Ismar Schorsch, March 10, 2014

The language of Judaism is ritual and, as quintessential moderns, we Jews have lost our appreciation for its expressive power. For one thing, we’re not very good at it and like normal adults we don’t like doing what we don’t do well.

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