Judaism features

Head scarves: Why frum women have got wrapping

By Judy Silkoff, June 18, 2015

When I got married in the mid-1990s, it was obvious to me that I would be observing the mitzvah of covering my hair.What I didn't realise was that it would take me nearly 20 years to find a way of covering that I felt fully comfortable with.


The first woman rabba will not be the last

By Simon Rocker, June 10, 2015

In name, Rabba Sara Hurwitz is one of a kind. Six years ago she was the first woman to be openly ordained as a member of the Orthodox ministry. But she is not alone. Other women have followed along the trail she blazed, even if they do not carry the title "rabba".


Too much technology can switch off Shabbat

By Rabbi Ariel Abel, June 4, 2015

In recent months social media was buzzing with news of a revolutionary invention for Jewish homes: the KosherSwitch. A new frontier has been pushed back in halachic history - no longer may it be forbidden to turn on the electric lights on Shabbat and festivals. For observant Jews, reining in the everyday impulse to flick on a switch is a central pillar of how Shabbat is different from a weekday.


You don't have to be frum to study on Shavuot

May 21, 2015

At university one of the keenest consumers of our Jewish society's educational offerings was a practising Christian who would attend everything from Hebrew lessons to in-depth Talmud classes. I once asked him what the learning was like at church. He looked at me surprised, "We don't do learning".


The warning the Torah gives over settlements

By Benedict Roth, May 14, 2015

The two Torah readings for this Shabbat almost always fall on the anniversary of the Six-Day War.

This coincidence is deeply significant, for the Six-Day War marks the entry of the "Greater Israel" ideology into popular discourse, while this Shabbat's twin Torah readings declare the opposite: that no one may claim total ownership of the Land.


What's at stake in the battle for kosher beef

By Simon Rocker, May 8, 2015

It was like Chicago gang warfare during the prohibition, said the JC beneath the front-page headline "Knives out as kosher meat war hots up". When rival shochetim squared up to each other in the abattoir in 1986, it showed just how fractious disputes in the shechita trade can get.


Women must be heard within Orthodox shuls

By Felicia Epstein, April 30, 2015

How do you get a woman on to a United Synagogue pulpit?

The question sounds like the start of a good joke. Unfortunately, it is not.


Why the state of Israel is a blessing

By Dr Ben Elton, April 19, 2015

As we prepare to celebrate 67 years of Israel’s independence next week, religious Zionists will use particular forms to show their appreciation for the state. There will be special synagogue services. Many congregations will recite Hallel. The restrictions of the Omer period will be suspended to make way for parties, dancing and barbeques.


The place where we can weep with God

By Rabbi Gideon Sylvester, April 8, 2015

What should be done with the Nazi death camps? Primo Levi was sure that if they had asked the Auschwitz survivors at the moment of their liberation, their answer would have been: "Away with it all.


Pesach is no time to talk of a new exodus

By Julia Neuberger, April 2, 2015

The story of Pesach is of the journey from slavery to freedom, from suffering in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land. And colour is added to that story by the account of the Exodus itself. The Israelites left in such haste, they did not have time to let their bread rise and so they carried the dough on their backs and as a result we get matzah.