Judaism features

Why Yom Kippur is a personal challenge

October 3, 2008

We asked five rabbis to recall from experience what the central concept of teshuvah - repentance or return - means to them 

Marcia Plumb


Your short guide to High Holy-Day terminology

By Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, September 24, 2008


"Man whose foundation is dust" (Musaf Amidah); the human being, composed of frailty and wonder; made of earth, yet in the image of God. We are susceptible to loneliness and fear, vulnerable to accidents, illness and violence. People we adore are torn from our lives; we realise that we too must die. So what is our existence worth? Yet our heart knows love and our soul recognises God. When compassion floods our being, when we feel joy and register beauty, when all our being sings, how marvellous it is to be human, what a privilege to be alive.


The rabbi who’s in the honey

By Simon Rocker, September 24, 2008

It is probably just as well that Rosh Hashanah takes place now rather in a couple of months' time. According to recent reports, stocks of British honey could run out before the end of the year.


A prayer you can eat

By Rabbi David Lister, September 24, 2008

Sir James Frazer, one of the founding fathers of modern anthropology, scrutinised the practice of sympathetic magic in his monumental work, The Golden Bough. His book documented in detail how primitive peoples believed that by performing symbolic acts, they could somehow influence events to obtain the outcome depicted by the symbolism.


The two faces of Kabbalah

September 19, 2008

INWARD BOUND - A GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING KABBALAH By Rabbi Nissan Dovid Dubow, Devora, £13.25

INTRODUCTION TO THE WORLD OF KABBALAH By Z'ev ben Shimon Halevi, Kabbalah Society, £18

Reviewed by Daniel Jonas


The battle over Rabbi Nachman’s bones

By Mordechai Beck, September 12, 2008

The campaign to bring the remains of the Chasidic master, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, from the Ukraine to Israel



Be honest: does their colour bother you?

September 4, 2008

All goyim are antisemitic." Which of us has not heard this sentiment voiced by a co-religionist; and even if we don't agree with its sweepingly unfair categorisation of most of humanity, find at least part of ourselves thinking that maybe it's true of quite a few? In recent months, a couple of incidents have made me wonder to what extent we are guilty of racism.


Why Britain needs an alternative Beth Din

By Jonathan Romain, August 28, 2008

If you think of a Beth Din, you will probably have in mind the image of an Orthodox rabbinic court. Think again. There is also a Reform Beth Din in Britain, which specialises in status issues surrounding conversion, divorce and adoption.

It is unique worldwide, in that no other Reform movement has a Beth Din that operates nationally, with others abroad having only local or regional jurisdiction.


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.