Judaism features

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.


The need to break out of our inner Egypt

By Rabbi Dr Raphael Zarum, March 26, 2015

'We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt." So begins the heart of the Haggadah. But what is the particular significance of the location of our oppression?


The Israeli rabbi fighting the religious status quo

By Simon Rocker, March 19, 2015

Many Israelis were disappointed when Rabbi David Stav failed to win election as the country's Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi last year. There had been high hopes of him prising the institution from its Charedi grip and introducing a more modern Orthodox outlook.


Why women shouldn't be called to the Torah

By Rabbi Dr Harvey Belovski, March 12, 2015

Partnership services have existed in some places in Israel and the United States for a while, but have only recently appeared in the UK. They offer Orthodox liturgy and traditional seating - men and women are separated by a partition - but differ in that women, as well as men, lead parts of the prayers and read from the Torah.


The hamantaschen tasted good in Dubai

By Simon and Sharon Eder, February 26, 2015

When seven years ago we said we were moving to Dubai for work, our north-west London family and friends had reservations. Why would we choose to be strangers in a strangers land? The reality was quite different. Sharon, whose parents came from the Middle East, felt an immediate affinity. We were drawn into the "tent culture", enjoying warm hospitality and genuine acceptance.


Don't let the broigeses boil over

By Rabbi Gideon Sylvester, February 19, 2015

As investigative journalist Stephen Fried followed the fortunes of an American synagogue in search of a rabbi, he was taken aback by some of the behaviour he saw. The search was supposed to take one year, but it ended up taking three.


Why doctors can heal on Shabbat

By Dr Nina Collins, February 19, 2015

None of us would think twice about a Jewish doctor rushing off to hospital to perform an emergency operation on a Saturday morning rather than going to shul. We take it for granted that pikuach nefesh, saving life, takes precedence over the prohibitions against work on Shabbat.


Farewell to driving cars, flying and eating meat

By Rabbi Natan Levy, January 29, 2015

In Israel, this Tu Bishvat will be a strangely quiet affair. No children planting new trees, no rabbis digging new forests. It's the Tu Bishvat of shmittah, the sabbatical year; with our spades at rest, it's time to consider big questions of eco-halachah


Are Jewish weddings sexist and outdated?

By Dr Harry Freedman, January 22, 2015

Same-sex marriages are back in the news, following the Masorti movement's recent decision to offer partnership ceremonies. Supporters of the Masorti move feel that the traditional Jewish concept of marriage doesn't take account of social change or of life in the modern world, that people in same-sex relationships have the same right as heterosexual couples to have their union celebrated in shul.


The battle to pray on the Temple Mount

By Mordechai Beck, January 15, 2015

When Jerusalem's Old City and its eastern neighbourhoods were captured by Israel in 1967, it was obvious, for Israelis at least, that the city would never again be divided. A law was passed by the Knesset "legalising" the unity of the city, although it was never recognised by the rest of the world.