Judaism features

The new short way to bensch

By Nathan Jeffay, August 21, 2008

There is a constant stream of media interest in the ever-shrinking lunch break and its effect on health and worker productivity. But what about the religious ramifications?

The Shiloh Institute, an Orthodox research institute, "found that many people were not bensching, or avoiding bread altogether so that they did not need to bensch", said one of its scholars, Rabbi Yehoshua Buch.


Is it ethical to ‘hijack’ an Internet connection?

By Rabbi Harvey Belovski, August 14, 2008

We look at piggy-backing - using someone else's wireless web connection without their knowledge

In 2005, a West London man, Gregory Straszkiewicz, was fined £500 and given a 12-month conditional discharge for "hijacking a broadband connection". Using a laptop while sitting in his car, Straszkiewicz had connected to the Internet by piggy-backing on the wireless network of a local resident.


Why a bleak fast can still be called a festival

By Rabbi David Lister, August 7, 2008

The fast of Tishah b'Av this weekend is one of the most mournful days in the calendar. But the rabbis still found seeds of hope within it

Much of Tishah b'Av is designed to break our morale. On this bleak day we mourn the destruction of the First and Second Temples on Temple Mount in Jerusalem, along with many other tragedies that have befallen us in the centuries that have passed.


Why the credit crunch can have a silver lining

By Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet, July 31, 2008

The economic downturn may be hard but it can help free us from the slavery of materialism



Say a prayer before you fly

By Elisheva Katanka, July 24, 2008

Airport prayer rooms can help bring together people of different faiths

A rabbi and an Israeli bus-driver go to heaven. The bus-driver is let in first, but when the rabbi protests, an angel proclaims: "When you used to speak from the pulpit, you put congregants to sleep, but on the bus, everyone prayed!"


You need a barmitzvah renewal every 18 years

By Scott Shay, July 17, 2008

Why stop at 13? Scott Shay urges ‘bar- and batmizvah-plus’ celebrations throughout life — and shuls are taking him up

Like many Jews, I don’t procrastinate: I put things off right away. This is especially true of spiritual and ethical pursuits, because of heavy career and personal responsibilities. How many of us have made plans finally to sit down and read Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, but just never got around to it?


How rabbis take on the software pirates

By Rabbi Harvey Belovski, July 10, 2008

Is it permitted to copy software for personal use?


The slimline siddur with a touch of Bob Dylan

By Rabbi Dr Andrew Goldstein, July 3, 2008

The new gender-inclusive Reform siddur is both ‘more traditional and more creative’, with some radical new material

Forms of Prayer
Edited by Jonathan Magonet, The Movement for Reform Judaism, £24.95 (pocket £9.95)


Two United rabbis show disunity over conversion

By Rabbi Mordechai Ginsbury, June 12, 2008

Last month, Rabbi Naftali Brawer publicly condemned an Israeli court’s decision to annul thousands of conversions. Today, Rabbi Mordechai Ginsbury takes his colleague to task for his views

Dear Rabbi Brawer,

I read reports of your recent sermon on the conversion crisis in Israel with some sense of dismay. The Talmud (Ta’anit 4a) teaches that a rabbinic scholar who displays anger should be treated tolerantly, as it is the idealism and sensitivity engendered by the passion of his learning which drives him to anger.


Welcome to techno -Torah

By Rabbi Harvey Belovski, June 5, 2008

The people of the book now have a vast online resource to aid their study

A Jewish child is thinking of Moses about to receive the Torah. Moses ascends the mountain, and God’s hand reaches through the cloud and hands him not tablets of stone, but a laptop, a CD and some Hebrew keyboard stickers.