Are we aware of the miracles surrounding us? Rabbi Professor David Golinkin, President of The Schechter Institutes, shares excerpts of a letter written 70 years ago by the late Binyamin Brenzel. It describes the excitement in Israel following the UN partition vote. Brenzel, who later worked at Schechter until age 100, gives a window into the miraculous nature of the creation of the State of Israel.
Midrash Sifre teaches that the Israelites left Egypt with Miriam at their lead: “when you left Egypt”: the time of your redemption, the tribes traveled only when Miriam preceded them (Sifre Deut. 275). She is one of the important women in the Passover story. In her essay, Rabbi Sara Cohen, ordained in 2017 by the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary discussed the different titles Israeli women take on when they become rabbis.
What does a Zionist living in Israel learn from Zionists living in the Jewish Diaspora? Dr. Yossi Turner, associate professor of Jewish Thought and director of the Zionism working group at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, discusses what first led him to pursue the study of Zionism in Israel and in the Diaspora. Does the experience of being a Jewish majority versus being a Jewish minority impact Zionist ideals?
As a Jewish Zionist from the depth of his soul and an ordained rabbi, who is involved in all of the contemporary streams Judaism; as one who made Aliyah from the US 39 years ago; and as scholar who’s been researching and teaching the various facets of Jewish peoplehood and Jewish culture in Israel and the diaspora (past and present) for many years, I have a suggestion to make to Mr. Verdiger. I suggest that when speaking about the needs of Jewish existence, he show more humility, be more respectful of the truth and be wary of basing his world-view on stereotypes.
In the midst of all the headlines about corruption, security issues and President Trump, there is an important topic which has been overlooked. On Thursday, February 8, 2018, hundreds of Haredim, secular Jews and Bedouin demonstrated at the entrance to Arad together with Deputy Health Minister Litzman against the plan to dig a new phosphate mine at Sdeh Brir near Arad. Despite all of the opposition to the plan – see below – the plan was recently approved by the National Planning and Building Commission. Indeed, Prime Minister Netanyahu in his capacity as Minister of Health has submitted an appeal against the decision.
We once again witnessed the ridiculousness of the separation between men and women at the Western Wall when female journalists were forced to stand on chairs to see US Vice-President Michael Pence pray at the Western Wall during his recent visit. No one, not even the rabbi of the Western Wall, can explain the benefit or importance of this separation of the sexes.
Dr. Bat-Sheva Margalit Stern, associate professor of history at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, contrasts the leadership of Meir, who disavowed feminism, with the leadership of Ada Fishman Maimon, an advocate of feminism, one of the founders of Women Workers Movement and a member of Knesset. Watch the video to learn more about Meir and Maimon’s differing leadership styles.
Professor Doron Bar, President of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, describes how during times when Jews did not have access to particular holy sites, they created and ‘discovered’ new ones based in history and in Biblical stories.
The Jewish community in Ukraine also lights Hanukkah candles in public locations. For the second year in a row, the Conservative/Masorti community has been celebrating the Holiday of Light by lighting candles on a large Hanukkiya placed in one of the main squares of Ukraine’s capital, Kontraktova Square in the historic district of Podyl. This year, the Hanukkiya was attacked by vandals who drew a swastika on it on the very first night of the holiday, splattered a red liquid resembling blood on the 6th night and took down the leaflets explaining the meaning and traditions of the holiday in the meantime.