What resolutions should we make for the coming year after a year in which we Jews found ourselves in a war with Hamas, a war which triggered the greatest outbreak of naked anti-Semitism we have seen since the Second World War? While all this was happening, ISIS was busy slaughtering their own innocents, while thousands were being killed in Ukraine.
So much of the darkest evil has descended upon this earth all at once – ISIS, Hamas, the Syrian government, Boko Haram... It is clear that some of our assumptions about man have to be questioned. The core question is: What is the foundation of human morality? We need a system which can somehow ensure that the world aspires to goodness and not evil. We can't
Three years ago, on the very day when the American vice president was visiting Israel, the Israeli Ministry of the Interior made the mistake of announcing a stage of planning new houses in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo. The neighborhood is over the '67 borders, but it an integral part of Jewish Jerusalem and was never claimed by the Palestinians. Moreover, the area was not included in the freeze on settlements that the Israelis had
Tal Fortgang, a white, Jewish, Princeton freshman has written an essay, "Why I’ll Never Apologize for My White Male Privilege" which has caused quite a stir. He was objecting to "Check your privilege" as a reprimand: As a white male, he is where he is because he was born into privileges that do not apply to others. What Tal was objecting to was using "check your privilege" as a way "to strike down opinions
A giant has fallen and, like all of the great founders of the Baal Teshuva movement, he will never, can never, be replaced. Rabbi Meir Schuster was produced by his era, but he also shaped it. For over three decades, it was he who single-handedly filled many of the Baal Teshuva yeshivot. How does one sum up this man through whom hundreds began their
Aristotle defined intelligence as the sum of moral virtues. By contrast, mere cleverness does not even rank as a virtue, since it contributes neither to goodness nor wisdom, and may be employed toward opposite ends. Jewish values take this further. We believe that there is no such thing as a holy book written by an unholy person. Not only must the book itself teach moral virtues, the personal example of the author
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