Jewish Values

Jewish groups in US backing Sharia law

By Ellen Tumposky, May 26, 2011

American Jewish groups are fighting a proposed ban of Sharia law in the state of Oklahoma.

A coalition of organisations that include the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) are backing a legal appeal against a measure that would prevent Islamic law from being used in the state's courts.

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San Francisco to vote on circumcision ban

By Jennifer Lipman, May 19, 2011

A San Francisco-wide ban on the circumcision of males under the age of 18 has moved a step closer to reality after sufficient residents signed a petition to get the issue on the agenda for a vote in November.

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Whoopi Goldberg: I'm Jewish and I talk to God

By Jessica Elgot, May 12, 2011

She may be well known as a singing nun in Sister Act, but actress Whoopi Goldberg has claimed she feels just as Jewish as she does black.

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Lord Chief Rabbi - but is it good for the Jews?

By Rabbi Gideon Sylvester, November 5, 2009

For much of our history, it was perilous for observant Jews to engage in politics. Successful statesmen risked jealousy from within the Jewish community and almost anyone who accepted the patronage of a gentile knew that at some stage, they would be forced to compromise their religious beliefs or endanger their lives by upsetting their political masters.

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Do the disabled get a raw deal in the Torah?

By Joseph Mintz, October 22, 2009

When I was 18, some 20 years ago, I worked for a summer doing Camp America in the Catskill Mountains of New York State. But this was a camp with a difference: it was run by an Orthodox Jewish organisation which catered for children with physical disabilities and learning difficulties (or “mental retardation” as it was referred to at the time).

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The rabbi who turned detective as a mitzvah

By Rabbi Leonard Book, August 27, 2009

“You shall not see your brother’s ox or his
sheep go astray… You shall surely return
them to your brother”
Deuteronomy 22:1

Many years ago, while living in Cardiff, I met a young man called David L Marks. We shared a common interest in classic cars, in particular Jaguars. David has a hobby — collecting old clocks and watches. One day he phoned me as he had seen a pilot’s watch on eBay he wished to buy, which had reputedly been worn by a pilot during the Six-Day War in 1967.

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Why it’s a disgrace if you don’t say Grace

By Rabbi Pete Tobias, July 2, 2009

When you have eaten and are satisfied, then you shall praise the Eternal One, your God, for the good land you have been given” (Deuteronomy 8:10). This is the biblical instruction on which is based the obligation to give thanks after a meal.

Jewish tradition has developed numerous variations on the blessings to be said, based on the type of food eaten, the number of people who have eaten it and the context in which it has been eaten. That same tradition even ascribes authorship of the different blessings to Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon and Rabban Gamliel.

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Why the rabbis worried about criticism of Israel

By David Aberbach, May 14, 2009

The idea that, as William Blake put it, “opposition is true friendship”, has been one of the faint consolations in Jewish martyrology. Opposition by the ancient pagan world, by Greece and Rome, by Christian Europe and Islam, though often painfully unjust and criminally destructive, has in some ways fructified Judaism and enabled it to adapt to change, and to survive and grow.

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The troubling questions that remain after Gaza

By Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, May 7, 2009

The war in Gaza leaves many wounds, the grief of the bereaved, the pain of the wounded and the trauma of the displaced on both sides.

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Let’s think big. Shabbat can save the planet

April 16, 2009

There is a strong scientific consensus that humanly-caused climate change is real. It is already contributing to flooding in Bangladesh and drought in Mali. Alaskan villagers have become the world’s first climate-change refugees: tragically, they will not be the last. The human and planetary costs of our extravagant behaviour are becoming clearer to us and the prospect is alarming.

Environmental challenges are today at the top of the public policy agenda in most Western countries. But why is environmentalism still a marginal concern in Jewish thought and practice?

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