Jewish Values

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.

More..

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.

More..

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?

More..

The mitzvah of Fairtrade

By Jonathan Wittenberg, February 26, 2009

A Jewish Guide To Fairtrade
The Fairtrade Foundation

I’ve long been grateful that Fairtrade exists. It makes me feel less like a thief when I go shopping. I’m doubly appreciative now, with the publication of this Jewish Guide, which relates the principles of fair trade to Jewish ethics, rooting them in textual sources and listing kosher Fairtrade foods.

More..

Is the Lubavitch book Tanya really racist?

October 30, 2008

Yes

The debate about the Tanya is about values rather than freedom of speech, as some have contended.

The Hebrew Bible and classical rabbinic sources contain texts which, for example, command us to look after the stranger within our midst as we were once strangers in the Land of Egypt. These sources inspire and provide a basis for living in today's society.

In contrast, other texts have, in common with almost all classical literature, the completely opposite viewpoint and clash with modern sensibilities.

More..

Why the Creation story favours organic food

By Rabbi Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah, October 23, 2008

This week we begin the cycle of Torah readings again, and read the account of Creation. All peoples have sacred narratives about the Creation of the world - but why do we turn right back to the beginning, again and again each year? Why don't we start our narrative with the first ancestors of our people, Abraham and Sarah?

More..

Be honest: does their colour bother you?

September 4, 2008

All goyim are antisemitic." Which of us has not heard this sentiment voiced by a co-religionist; and even if we don't agree with its sweepingly unfair categorisation of most of humanity, find at least part of ourselves thinking that maybe it's true of quite a few? In recent months, a couple of incidents have made me wonder to what extent we are guilty of racism.

More..

Why the credit crunch can have a silver lining

By Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet, August 1, 2008

The economic downturn may be hard but it can help free us from the slavery of materialism

 

More..