It seems as though Hollywood just can’t get enough of the Torah these days.
With Noah only recently being a box office hit, the latest attempt at biblical commercialism, Exodus: Gods and Kings, is due for release here today. The same director who brought us the epic battle sequences of Gladiator, Ridley Scott, has now attempted a faithful translation of the Exodus story to the big screen.
The proposed Jewish State Bill has been one of the most hotly contested pieces of legislation in Israeli memory and the controversy - along with considerable ego - has led to the current government's dissolution. Depending on whom you ask, it either corrects or upsets the delicate balance between Judaism and democracy that lies at the heart of Zionism.
'M ai Chanucah? - What is Chanucah?", asked the rabbis of the Talmud. They asked the question, not because they didn't know, but because they had a problem with it. Chanucah earns just three pages in Tractate Shabbat (21b-24a), most of which are concerned with rituals relating to the kindling of the lights and the place of this minor festival in the liturgy.
Yosef Mendelevitch, who is coming to next month's Limmud conference, is one of the heroes of the refusenik movement who defied the oppressive yoke of Communism. His Jewish activism did not stop after his release from Soviet jail. He became an Orthodox rabbi in Israel, sporting a long, white beard.
It is not every day that diaspora Jews are encouraged by Israelis to intervene in their country's affairs. But a few weeks ago an advertisement in this newspaper urged readers to petition the Israeli government.
'No more heroes anymore," sang the Stranglers in the 70s; their song became an instant hit, tapping into the disillusionment that we feel when our leaders let us down. Sadly, this applies in the Jewish world too. Our latest scandal involves a distinguished American rabbi, who is accused of mistreating potential converts and planting cameras in a mikveh to peek at women as they showered.
While thousands celebrate Shabbat UK this weekend, many frum teenagers will be texting their friends on Saturday. "Half-Shabbos", as it's called, is widespread and reflects the reality of how many young observant Jews today balance keeping Shabbat with their constant need to stay in touch via social media.
Since the dawn of humanity mankind has gazed at the stars in wonder, contemplating our place in the cosmos. As the holiday season draws to a close and the dancing and celebration of Simchat Torah comes to an end, we recommence our routine Shabbat Torah reading with the story of Genesis.
Jules Benjamin, a close friend of my father, used to say, "Money doesn't buy you happiness, but I don't mind being miserable in comfort."
We live in interesting times. On the one hand, never in the history of the human race have our lives been physically easier and more comfortable, and on the other, never has emotional dysfunction been so prevalent.