We are living in an era when the boundaries of Orthodoxy are being tested at the edges, particularly regarding the old distinctions between male and female. Our broader society tells us that male-female distinctions are discriminatory and we, the Orthodox, have become increasingly uncomfortable with the positions and traditions of our own religion. Many of us have come to believe that what we received as a Mesorah on these issues represents
The gun control argument is debated everywhere and goes nowhere. This is because the wrong issue is being debated. There is something missing from the argument when we get into poring over correlations between reduced gun ownership and fatalities. America has always been about an idea,
Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz's recent blog, entitled 5 Reasons Being an Orthodox Rabbi Compelled Me to Support Gay Marriage is a masterful compilation of misrepresentations and false logic woven into a compelling tapestry that sounds like a brave liberal position, but is actually a mighty act of manipulative cowardice. "I believe the essence of religious conviction is that we must do what is right"
Every right that I have creates a corresponding duty in my fellowman to honor that right. My right to my property creates an obligation in my neighbor not to trespass. Rights create duties and duties create rights. The question is our starting point. Do we start out with rights or duties? There is a huge difference as
Jews have always been willing to learn from non-Jews. The Torah profiles Noach, Yisro and others. The Chumash tells of the greatness of Yisro (even before his conversion). The Sages bring Dama ben Nesina to illustrate how far we should go in honoring our parents. Nelson Mandela, the person and the leader, can teach us a lot, despite his complicated relationship with the South African
In his book on religion and science, the great paleontologist Stephen J. Gould stated that there was no tension between the two because science and religion exist on two different planes. There is the magisterium of science which deals with the physical world, and there is the magisterium of religion that deals with the spiritual and moral plane.
Every person on earth has what amounts to thousands of beliefs, unproven assumptions and axioms which allow him or her to navigate in the world. We make judgments about other people we may have never seen before all the time. This allows us to anticipate their actions and reactions and to act appropriately. These judgments are really assumptions and are based on our experience, on the context
Today, it is a truism that Anti-Semitism's primary expression in Europe and elsewhere is in the form of Anti-Israelism. Are all anti-Israel sentiments anti-Semitic ones? What if the attitudes are coming from Jews? Is J-Street anti-Semitic? Are those Jews who advocate a boycott of the territories anti-Semitic?
The Pew study found 6.8 million American Jews, 25% more than the 2001 National Jewish Population Survey which found 5.2 million, but these are self-definitions with widely varying ideas about what it means to be Jewish. 1.3 million children
The Pew study showed that 44% of married Jews are married to a non-Jewish person and the current rate of intermarriage is 58%. It is 71% if you take the Orthodox out. Two-thirds of Jews do not belong to a synagogue, one-fourth do not believe in God and one-third had a Christmas tree in their home last year.