You don't have to be frum to study on Shavuot

May 21, 2015

At university one of the keenest consumers of our Jewish society's educational offerings was a practising Christian who would attend everything from Hebrew lessons to in-depth Talmud classes. I once asked him what the learning was like at church. He looked at me surprised, "We don't do learning".


The warning the Torah gives over settlements

By Benedict Roth, May 14, 2015

The two Torah readings for this Shabbat almost always fall on the anniversary of the Six-Day War.

This coincidence is deeply significant, for the Six-Day War marks the entry of the "Greater Israel" ideology into popular discourse, while this Shabbat's twin Torah readings declare the opposite: that no one may claim total ownership of the Land.


Now they're putting a Torah on the moon

By Nathan Jeffay, May 7, 2015

The moon could have its own holy ark and Sefer Torah within three years, thanks to a crowd-funded initiative to land a sacred scroll on the lunar surface.

The Torah on the Moon project is asking people worldwide, Jewish and non-Jewish, to "buy" a letter in the specially-designed, 5in Torah, which will be launched in an unmanned spacecraft and left on the moon in a special capsule-like ark.


Netanyahu closes on right-wing coalition

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 1, 2015

Six weeks after winning the election and only a few days before the final deadline to present his cabinet to the president, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed coalition agreements with two parties, with three other parties close to doing a deal.

For now, Labour will remain in opposition and the new Likud government will be backed by 67 Knesset members.


God’s Call

By Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, April 16, 2015

Of all the Mosaic books Vayikra, Leviticus, is the one most out of step with contemporary culture. Many find it difficult to relate to its concerns. It opens with an account of sacrifices, but we have not had sacrifices for close to two millennia.


Chief Rabbi to attend 'scrolls' event

By Sandy Rashty, October 7, 2014

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis is to be the guest speaker at the opening of an exhibition about Torah scrolls which survived the Nazis, in a move which marks another departure from his predecessor Lord Sacks.

The display will mark 50 years since 1,564 scrolls were brought from Czechoslovakia to Westminster Synagogue by philanthropist Ralph Yablon.


Shavuot puts the meaning into mitzvah

By Rabbi Dr Ben Elton, June 1, 2014

The latest stir in America’s modern Orthodox community has come from an article by Jay Lefkowitz in Commentary, called “The Rise of Social Orthodoxy”. Lefkowitz considers himself to be social Orthodox, which means that he largely observes halachah, but not because he (necessarily) believes that God commanded him.


Rabbis condemn Golders Green Synagogue after women hold Torah scroll

By Simon Rocker, November 28, 2013

A United Synagogue congregation which allows women to hold a Sefer Torah has defended itself following an attack from the Orthodox right.

Rabbi Ephraim Padwa, head of the rabbinate of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, had condemned the practice as “Reform-influenced”.


The golden calf that Orthodoxy must slay

By Rabbi Dr Norman Solomon, October 20, 2013

After most of a century, I still get a thrill every time we recommence the Torah reading at the New Year, because I know it won’t be the same as last year. Partly it’s me — I’ve changed, I’ve learned something in the past year, so the way I read changes.


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.