Judaism features

What Rabbi Mirvis can do to make a difference

By Dr Ben Elton, January 3, 2013

The white smoke has gone up. Ephraim Mirvis is to be the seventh Chief Rabbi since the office was established in 1845. He is an unusual choice. He is 10 years older than most of his predecessors were when they started and is known as a pastor rather than a scholar. However, that brings certain advantages.

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Why United Synagogue women can chair their synagogue

By Rabbi Gideon Sylvester, December 24, 2012

Many years ago, my elderly aunt was desperate to know why so many of her friends were abandoning the United Synagogue and defecting to Reform communities. Hearing that the head of the Reform Movement would be speaking at a public meeting, she went along to pose her question: “How are you enticing so many Orthodox Jews to join your movement?”.

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The woman who cut off a general’s head

By Simon Rocker, December 13, 2012

Chanucah is the easiest festival to keep. What’s not to like about lighting candles and eating doughnuts? You don’t even have to go to the trouble of reading a book, as you do with Megillat Esther on Purim.

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What the rabbis think about war and peace

By Rabbi Reuben Livingstone, December 6, 2012

By the time the Talmud codified the festival of Chanucah as we know it, the significant military dimension of the Maccabean triumph had become an embarrassment.

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Are Jewish schools good for Judaism?

By Simon Rocker, November 29, 2012

In 1964 ITV launched a groundbreaking documentary, 7 Up, which interviewed a group of seven-year-old children from across Britain; seven years later the programme-makers went back to see how they were growing up and returned for subsequent series. Now comes what UJIA research director Dr Helena Miller is calling “our Jewish 7 Up”.

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How democratic were the children of Israel?

By Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, November 15, 2012

Michael Walzer is one of the world’s leading political philosophers. What has consistently given his work special interest for Jewish readers is the way he often uses biblical and rabbinic sources to illustrate and even formulate his arguments.

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Should Israel take away the vote from women?

By Rabbi Gideon Sylvester, November 8, 2012

"Women are forbidden from holding public office in Israel and ideally should not even vote in the general elections.”

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New deal on rabbinic training for UK

By Simon Rocker, November 1, 2012

When the London School of Jewish Studies — the reincarnation of the old Jews’ College — pulled out of rabbinic ordination a decade ago, it seemed a turning-point in British Jewry.

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Why the Bible should give food for thought

By Simon Rocker, October 25, 2012

When rabbis deliver their sermons tomorrow, many will take a passage from the weekly Torah portion and make some link with a contemporary issue or event. The assumption that the biblical texts have something to say to us thousands of years after they emerged is so natural to us that we hardly give it second thought.

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We must stop the rabbinic brain drain

By Dr Ben Elton, October 18, 2012

British Jewry is currently enjoying the race for the chief rabbinate, but it should be more concerned about the foot soldiers of the rabbinate than the field marshal. The mainstream Orthodox community in Britain is haemorrhaging rabbinic talent and unless that trend is stopped, it will sap our religious vitality for decades to come.

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