Judaism features

We must take a stand against settler violence

By Simon Rocker, April 27, 2013

Acouple of months ago a young Arab woman from Qalansuwa in central Israel set off to do what we would consider a mitzvah. She was a teacher of Arabic in a Jewish school and she went with a Jewish friend to go to the shivah of a colleague in Jerusalem.

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Why a 'divine' messiah was not beyond belief

By Simon Rocker, April 22, 2013

One of the more intriguing trends in Jewish circles is growing interest in Jesus. The work of scholars such as Geza Vermes who have explored the Jewish background of the Christian messiah has filtered into the mainstream. Shmuley Boteach published his book Kosher Jesus last year; Naomi Alderman’s recent novel The Liar’s Gospel was an alternative version of the Jesus story.

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Why Zionism remains a spiritual imperative

By Rabbi Gideon Sylvester, April 13, 2013

Should Israel’s hottest supermodel Bar Refaeli be the public face of the Zionism? Recently, Israel’s Foreign Ministry invited her to star in a video promoting the country. She’s an internationally recognised brand and a strong patriot, but some were offended by the choice.

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A Pesach Love Story

By Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, March 29, 2013

Shir Hashirim, the Song of Songs, is the strangest book in the Hebrew Bible, one of the strangest ever to be included in a canon of sacred texts. It is written as a series of songs between two human lovers, candid, passionate, even erotic. It is one of only two books in Tanach that does not explicitly contain the name of God (Esther is the other) and it has no obvious religious content.

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The charity that has taken the fight to the slave trade

By Simon Rocker, March 29, 2013

Slavery may have changed since the Pharaohs conscripted the Israelites into pyramid-building. But its evils persist.

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Why do we have to eat matzah on Pesach?

By Mordechai Beck, March 24, 2013

On a number of occasions in the Torah, the festival of Passover, Chag Hapesach is called Chag Hamatzot, the Feast of Unleavened Bread (eg Exodus 34:18; Leviticus 23:6, Deuteronomy 16:17). Pesach becomes transformed into korban pesach, an everlasting memory of that first night of freedom.

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3,000 years of culture in 10 volumes

By Simon Rocker, March 17, 2013

Just over a century ago Chayim Bialik, one of the forefathers of modern Hebrew literature, co-edited a book that was to become a standard text for generations of Israeli schoolchildren. Sefer Ha’Agadah, The Book of Legends, was a compilation of stories from the Talmud and Midrash.

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Torah can bloom through the internet

By Rabbi Alex Chapper, March 8, 2013

Why do Jewish people always answer a question with a question?

Why not?

Judaism is a religion of questions and questioning. Abraham, the first Jew, began his first conversation with God by asking a question, Moses, the Jewish people’s greatest leader, asked God to show him His ways and the Talmud, the central text of Judaism, is replete with questions and answers.

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Locking up abusers is not the answer

By Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet, March 4, 2013

Reports about child sex abuse in the Orthodox community seem to be emerging with ever increasing frequency. A recent high-profile prosecution in Australia and yet another in New York involve cases of child sex abuse that began many years ago. So why have they come to light only now rather than being reported by victims, or their families, around the time the offences were committed?

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Queen Esther and the flap of a butterfly’s wing

By Rabbi Dr Moshe Freedman, February 21, 2013

In the summer of 1666, the English physicist and mathematician Sir Isaac Newton is said to have pondered the falling of an apple while in the gardens of Woolsthorpe Manor, his family home in Lincolnshire. This apocryphal story describes the seminal moment which prompted him to realise that there must be a force acting on the apple which draws it to the centre of the earth.

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