Jewish Values

The fruits of shmittah do not only grow on trees

By Rabbi Jeremy Gordon, March 23, 2014

A twig once delivered an epiphany. One warm Jerusalem evening I was part of an outdoor Friday evening prayer service. I felt a branch, from the tree next to me, brushing against my shoulder. I went to snap it off and stopped. It was Shabbat. On Shabbat I move and the twig lives to bud another day.

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Ritual is the DNA that defines who we are

By Rabbi Ismar Schorsch, March 10, 2014

The language of Judaism is ritual and, as quintessential moderns, we Jews have lost our appreciation for its expressive power. For one thing, we’re not very good at it and like normal adults we don’t like doing what we don’t do well.

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Norwich Chanucah party is rearranged

By Rosa Doherty, November 28, 2013

A venue in Norwich has rearranged a Chanucah party organised by a messianic “rabbi” after complaints from the Jewish community.

The event, hosted by Binyamin Sheldrake, a member of the Adat Yeshua group, was due to take place in a public area of The Forum, a city-centre building which gets thousands of visitors.

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Split over using synagogue resources to help new immigrants

By Sandy Rashty, November 22, 2013

Divisions in the community over its attitudes to immigrants have been revealed in the wake of Baroness Neuberger’s comments about the Bulgarians and Romanians expected to arrive in the UK next year.

Baroness Neuberger, rabbi of the West London Synagogue, said last week that British Jewry should speak out more on behalf of new arrivals, given its own history as an immigrant community.

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American survey shows secularism on rise

By Rosa Doherty, October 3, 2013

A survey by the Pew Research Centre has shown that Jewish secularism is on the rise in America.

The first major survey of US Jews in ten years found that more than a fifth identify as Jewish without being religious.

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Forgiveness lies deep in our hearts

By Jonathan Wittenberg, September 13, 2013

Forgive us, and help us to be forgiving.

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Talking about God is the last taboo

By Naftali Brawer, September 4, 2013

There is a telling scene in Joseph Heller’s classic Catch 22 where the idiosyncratic Colonel Cathcart asks his chaplain to come up with a prayer to recite before sending the men on bombing missions. The chaplain suggests a number of sombre psalms which the colonel angrily rejects. “Haven’t you got anything humorous that stays away from waters and valleys and God?” he says.

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Giving organs should be the donor’s choice

By Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild, July 28, 2013

The book of Leviticus instructs us “Do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbour” (19:16) and tradition takes this obligation so seriously that we find this mitzvah extended from being obligated to save life to being duty bound to hire others if necessary in order to help us (Sefer Hachinuch 237).

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Queen's Birthday Honours 2013: Thank you, ma’am — we are honoured

By Jennifer Lipman, June 20, 2013

The contribution of British Jews to the nation’s cultural life was recognised as the director of Tate Modern, the sculptor Anish Kapoor, actress Claire Bloom and the founder of the Jewish Film festival were included in the annual Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

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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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