Judaism features

To be a Jew is to swim against the current

By Lord Sacks, September 20, 2012

To those who fully open themselves to it, Yom Kippur is a life-transforming experience. It tells us that God, who created the universe in love and forgiveness, reaches out to us in love and forgiveness, asking us to love and forgive others.

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The limits of forgiveness

By Rabbi Gideon Sylvester, September 13, 2012

It’s the season of forgiveness, are we ready to forgive? It’s not always easy to let go of our resentment and bitterness towards those who have hurt us. Sometimes the scars are permanent. Can those who have suffered loss and injury in war and terrorism ever find it in their hearts to forgive? Should they even try?

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Positive thinking for Rosh Hashanah

By Simon Rocker, September 13, 2012

It is not always easy to get in the mood for Rosh Hashanah. The sound of the shofar piercing the hush of the congregation may stir something deep within us: or we may be roused by a haunting melody from the choir. But the liturgy can seem long and difficult and ultimately leave us struggling to find the high in the High Holy Days.

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The inside story of choosing a Chief Rabbi

By Dr Meir Persoff, September 7, 2012

In October 1988, some eighteen months before Chief Rabbi Lord Jakobovits was due to retire, the United Synagogue launched the search for his successor.

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Time to put the poetry back into our prayers

By Rabbi Dr Jeffrey Cohen, August 30, 2012

I love both English and Hebrew poetry, especially sacred Hebrew poetry, which has a very long tradition stretching back to the Bible.

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How do you sum up Judaism on one leg?

By Keith Kahn-Harris, August 21, 2012

When I was approached to write a short introductory guide to Judaism, my first reactions were merely practical: could I complete it by the deadline? Were the publishers offering enough money?

Did I know enough to write it without extensive research? And finding the answers to be yes, I accepted the commission without too much thought.

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The shuls where the rabbi says 'Let's dance'

By Simon Rocker, August 3, 2012

Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue is a byword for genteel respectability, zealously guarded by its inhabitants. The kind of neighbourhood where every bush is trim and no brick out of place. So the local United Synagogue, too, you might imagine would be a bastion of conservatism, the eptiome of the decorous traditions of Minhag Anglia.

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Religion without love is a recipe for disaster

By Rabbi Chaim Kanterovitz, July 27, 2012

Rav Kook, the Chief Rabbi of pre-state Isarel, once wrote “If we together with the entire world were to be destroyed due to unfounded hatred, then we must reconstruct ourselves and the entire world with unfounded love”.

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Was the Chief Rabbi right to speak on gay marriage?

By Simon Rocker, July 20, 2012

A wry smile might have crossed the lips of anyone who read the JC letters page last week. Not often do you find the chairman of the Reform movement jumping to the defence of the Chief Rabbi, after he had been attacked for opposing government plans to introduce civil marriage for gay and lesbian couples.

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The fearless champion of tolerant Orthodoxy

By Rabbi Gideon Sylvester, July 12, 2012

When an Israeli friend visited the Sephardi Synagogue in Lauderdale Road, she was shocked. “We were brought up viewing the Sephardim as the down- trodden, second-class citizens of Israel,” she said, “but here were Sephardim elegantly dressed in top hats, holding decorous services accompanied by a melodious choir. These were Sephardi aristocrats, something I never dreamed possible.”

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