Author: Avi Shafran

18

Resurrection

That the unveiling of a new Reform prayer book didn’t elicit applause from the Orthodox world was hardly surprising. Despite media hailings of the movement’s new liturgical offering as a turn toward Jewish tradition,...

62

Much Ado About Shmittah

Those “Ultra-Orthodox” in Israel are at it again, inventing new stringencies, coercing other Jews, trying to make a dishonest buck and generally making life unlivable for everybody else. At least that is what seems...

10

Star Power

The symbol commonly known as the Magen David (“Shield of David”) or more colloquially as the “Jewish Star,” is the subject of an unusual responsum written by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein in 1968 (Igrot Moshe,...

19

Food for Rosh Hashana Thought

An odd Rosh Hashana custom, duly recorded in the Talmud and halachic codes, is the lavishing of puns on holiday foods. Most Jews know that on the first night of the new Jewish year,...

16

Lost in Space

Like most religions, Scientism has its articles of faith. Science, the study of nature, has a premise — the scientific method — but no required beliefs about the unseen. Scientism, by contrast — the...

26

Rabbi Feinstein Speaks

A recent attack on Israel’s Chief Rabbinate invoked the late and revered American Orthodox decisor of Jewish law, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein. The attacker was Professor Benjamin Ish-Shalom, the director of Israel’s Institute for Jewish...

36

Invitation to Intermarriage

One can’t help but feel sad for Noah Feldman. In spite of his considerable professional accomplishments – a law professorship at Harvard, three books, a slew of well-received essays and a fellowship at the...

4

Kibbutz Conversation

Tisha B’Av – which falls this year on July 24 – always brings back the personal memory of a conversation between two teen-aged cousins more than thirty years ago. It took place on the...

42

Conversion Confusion

Israel’s Orthodox Rabbinate has been under siege of late, over the issue – once again – of conversion. And once again as well, the media abound with misinformation. This time, though, some of it...

9

Pride and Puissance

In the end, despite pleas to spare Judaism’s holiest city the shame of a spectacle celebrating the rejection of Judaism’s moral code, the “Gay Pride” parade took place as planned in Jerusalem. Had hundreds...

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