Judaism features

The holy hippy who got Arabs and Jews dancing

By Rabbi Gideon Sylvester, December 11, 2013

One of the most intriguing rabbinic characters of modern times was Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach; the charismatic outreach pioneer, storyteller, musician and hippy. His colourful career is the subject of a new biography by Natan Ophir.

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Daddy, can mummy light the candles too?

By Rabbi Natan Levy, November 24, 2013

Chanucah can celebrate insomnia. Last year, I returned home late from Trafalgar Square, to awaken a somniferous wife, who asked sleepily: “Why can’t I light for both of us?” Why can’t she? Gentle reader, let me tell you that story.

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Why turkey gave some rabbis a headache

By Rabbi Jeremy Gordon, November 17, 2013

The story is told that, after the tough winter of 1622-23, the pilgrim fathers of what became the United States of America, celebrated their survival with a feast of wild fowl. By 1790 the day had been enshrined by Congress as one of “public Thanksgiving and prayer”.

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How synagogues can go for growth

By Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, November 10, 2013

The experience of “Royal Jews” — those living in the royal borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, whose story I have just published — may provide an important template for other synagogues.

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Why I have a problem with going to Limmud

By Rabbi Daniel Levy, November 4, 2013

While much of Britain was awaiting the winner of The Great British Bake-Off, Jewish Brits were whipping themselves into a frenzy as to whether or not Chief Rabbi Mirvis should attend this year’s Limmud conference. The history of this debate is well-known.

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Why we should count our prophets

By Clive Lawton, October 27, 2013

In the 19th century, the early leaders of Reform Judaism detected the longstanding bias of the Jewish tradition towards the Torah section of the Bible and away from the remainder, in particular the prophets.

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The golden calf that Orthodoxy must slay

By Rabbi Dr Norman Solomon, October 20, 2013

After most of a century, I still get a thrill every time we recommence the Torah reading at the New Year, because I know it won’t be the same as last year. Partly it’s me — I’ve changed, I’ve learned something in the past year, so the way I read changes.

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The enduring legacy of Rav Ovadia Yosef

By Joe Wolfson, October 11, 2013

Who was Rabbi Ovadia Yosef? An aged rabbi responsible for countless offensive statements (on Arabs, Ashkenazim and countless others he saw as opponents) and the head of a political party with a reputation for corruption? Perhaps.

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Too much dancing is bad for the simchah

By Rabbi Harvey Belovski, September 25, 2013

Simchat Torah is an emotional day, concluding the Tishri Yomtov season and ending the entire festival sequence that started with Pesach. As its name, Joy of the Torah, indicates, it’s a day focused on the Torah, when we complete the annual cycle of Torah reading and begin it all over again amid singing, dancing and communal festivities.

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'There is no joy save in meat and wine'

By Dr Ben Elton, September 18, 2013

Succot is the Festival of Joy. The word simchah is used more often in the Torah in relation to Succot than any other Yomtov. In our prayers we call it zeman simchateinu, the time of our rejoicing. Joy is the leitmotif of the holiday.

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