Judaism features

Why people are like trees

By Dr Ben Elton, January 12, 2014

Tu Bishvat in my Jewish primary school was celebrated as a largely Zionist festival, emphasising the importance of planting trees in the state of Israel. That was not an inappropriate slant; after all, Tu Bishvat was originally concerned with the trees and the produce of the Land of Israel.


Can friends argue without falling out?

By Simon Rocker, January 5, 2014

God chose the Jews because He likes a good argument, the Emeritus Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks joked. Jews are a quite an argumentative lot, said Simon Schama in his recent TV series.


Are religious labels past their sell-by date?

By Matt Plen, December 27, 2013

I’m about to head to the Limmud conference, where thousands of Jews of every conceivable stripe will spend five days learning, debating, celebrating and socialising together. Coming hot on the heels of that other winter highlight, Chanucah, Limmud sets out a particularly fashionable message about contemporary Jewish existence.


Classic bedtime tales to keep children listening

By Simon Rocker, December 16, 2013

When my son was a young boy, I wanted to read him some stories of Jewish interest besides the favoured pirate adventures. After all, Judaism has generally communicated its ideas and values through stories rather than systematic creed so where better than to start at bedtime?


Who's on at Limmud

By Simon Rocker, December 12, 2013

The Limmud conference, which starts in just over a week, includes a large cast of Torah teachers, educators and religious scholars from abroad.

Here are just a few of the guests:

Rabbi David Wolpe:
named as America’s most influential rabbi by Newsweek in 2012, the Conservative leader is author of book such as Why Faith Matters.

Rabbi Yuval Cherlow:


The holy hippy who got Arabs and Jews dancing

By Rabbi Gideon Sylvester, December 11, 2013

One of the most intriguing rabbinic characters of modern times was Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach; the charismatic outreach pioneer, storyteller, musician and hippy. His colourful career is the subject of a new biography by Natan Ophir.


Daddy, can mummy light the candles too?

By Rabbi Natan Levy, November 24, 2013

Chanucah can celebrate insomnia. Last year, I returned home late from Trafalgar Square, to awaken a somniferous wife, who asked sleepily: “Why can’t I light for both of us?” Why can’t she? Gentle reader, let me tell you that story.


Why turkey gave some rabbis a headache

By Rabbi Jeremy Gordon, November 17, 2013

The story is told that, after the tough winter of 1622-23, the pilgrim fathers of what became the United States of America, celebrated their survival with a feast of wild fowl. By 1790 the day had been enshrined by Congress as one of “public Thanksgiving and prayer”.


How synagogues can go for growth

By Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, November 10, 2013

The experience of “Royal Jews” — those living in the royal borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, whose story I have just published — may provide an important template for other synagogues.


Why I have a problem with going to Limmud

By Rabbi Daniel Levy, November 4, 2013

While much of Britain was awaiting the winner of The Great British Bake-Off, Jewish Brits were whipping themselves into a frenzy as to whether or not Chief Rabbi Mirvis should attend this year’s Limmud conference. The history of this debate is well-known.