Chanucah is the easiest festival to keep. What’s not to like about lighting candles and eating doughnuts? You don’t even have to go to the trouble of reading a book, as you do with Megillat Esther on Purim.
In 1964 ITV launched a groundbreaking documentary, 7 Up, which interviewed a group of seven-year-old children from across Britain; seven years later the programme-makers went back to see how they were growing up and returned for subsequent series. Now comes what UJIA research director Dr Helena Miller is calling “our Jewish 7 Up”.
Michael Walzer is one of the world’s leading political philosophers. What has consistently given his work special interest for Jewish readers is the way he often uses biblical and rabbinic sources to illustrate and even formulate his arguments.
When rabbis deliver their sermons tomorrow, many will take a passage from the weekly Torah portion and make some link with a contemporary issue or event. The assumption that the biblical texts have something to say to us thousands of years after they emerged is so natural to us that we hardly give it second thought.
British Jewry is currently enjoying the race for the chief rabbinate, but it should be more concerned about the foot soldiers of the rabbinate than the field marshal. The mainstream Orthodox community in Britain is haemorrhaging rabbinic talent and unless that trend is stopped, it will sap our religious vitality for decades to come.
Nothing is such a test of our humanity, and religion, as whether we can be true to the first mention of the human being in the Bible. It’s not a commandment, just a statement: God makes man in God’s image.
At Simchat Torah, death and life are linked by just two beats of the heart. Our Torah reading cycle reaches its final episode, the death of Moses. A single heartbeat later, we are once again “In the beginning”, as we restart the cycle, affirming life through Bereshit, the Creation of the world.