Judaism features

How slavery caused the Temple's loss

By Benedict Roth, July 12, 2013

The ninth of Av is the day we mourn the destruction of the two Temples, Solomon’s and Herod’s, as well as the fall, 65 years later, of the city of Betar. The land of Israel was depopulated and the city of Jerusalem ploughed over.

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The seductive appeal of the Talmud

July 7, 2013

I was first introduced to Talmud at around the age of 10 and by the time I was barmitzvah I was able to study it unaided, which I did assiduously during my teenage years.

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Orthodox feminism must know its limits

By Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet, June 23, 2013

JOFA, the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, is an organisation that was set up in order to encourage Orthodox women to be able to find more expression within the realm of Orthodoxy and traditional Judaism.

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How Orthodox women can be liberated in shul

By Simon Rocker, June 16, 2013

It was a problem few synagogues face but most would be delighted to have. On Sunday so many people turned up for a Rosh Chodesh service in London that some had to be turned away.

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It’s not over until the last chazan sings

By Simon Rocker, June 9, 2013

It’s a summer evening and the congregation is getting ready for the Kabbalat Shabbat service, the welcoming of the Sabbath, on Friday. Someone taps out a beat on a tabla drum, a guitarist tunes his strings, another person takes a flute from a case.

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Can Jewish life flourish if God is on the sidelines

By Simon Rocker, June 2, 2013

I once heard a rabbi say in his Shabbat morning sermon : “Without God, Judaism falls down like a pack of cards.” There was a time when such a comment would seem so self-evident that you would wonder why anyone would make it.

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Do Jewish schools create empty shuls?

By Rabbi Pete Tobias, May 26, 2013

We are now in May, the arbitrary date that signals the start of attendance at Shabbat services which count towards the gaining of priority points for admission to local Jewish schools. It continues until the end of October, or until the requisite eight synagogue visits that are deemed to demonstrate commitment to Jewish practice have been made.

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The Women of the Wall: should they be bothered?

By Simon Rocker, May 17, 2013

The Western Wall has lately become a battleground in the struggle for egalitarianism. The arrest of women for praying in a tallit at the sacred site has sparked anger across the Jewish world and fuelled demands from non-Orthodox Jews in particular for equal religious rights.

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The spiritual genius of eating cheesecake

By Dr Ben Elton, May 9, 2013

Early leaders of Reform Judaism thought that men and women had moved past ritual and ceremony. In the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in London and classical Reform temples in the United States the service was reduced to hymn singing, responsive prayers and a sermon. It soon became clear that this was leaving congregations cold.

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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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