Last week I traveled to Uzhgorod, Ukraine to participate in an annual seminar of educators who work for Midreshet Yerushalayim Ukraine, which has been funded and supported by the Schechter Institutes in Jerusalem since 1990.
This week’s Torah portion tells the famous story of Moses’ sin at the “waters of Merivah,” for which he was denied entrance into the land. There was no drinking water for the people when they arrived at Midbar Zin, the story tells us, and so the Israelites complained and attacked Moses and Aaron for taking them out of Egypt.
The great classical Land of Israel liturgist, R. Eleazar Birbi Killir (7th c.), composed a number of piyyutim (hymns) in honor of the Giving of the Torah. The liturgical poems introducing the Kedushah (Doxology) on Shavuot, known as kedushtaot, are among his greatest poetic works.
Distress signals sent out by secularists in recent months have been picked up loud and clear by the Secular Forum, though stridency does not necessarily ensure soundness of the writers’ arguments or best serve their interests. The most important step of any strategy is precise analysis of a given situation. Incorrect analysis leads to hasty action that fails to solve the problem or actually exacerbates it.
In recent months, acrimonious public debate has been raging in Israel over Jewish education enrichment programs. The Secular Forum has been especially vociferous against what it terms “religionization” in non-orthodox state schools, sounding the alarm at the prospect of secular children coming into any contact whatsoever with Jewish content. Were it not for the religious Minister of Education imposing his Jewish agenda, goes secularist reasoning, their children could be studying philosophy, Darwinian theory of evolution, and even Shakespeare.
Motherhood is a central element in the process of nation building. The growth of nations transformed the notion of motherhood to a foundation stone. Thus, the mother as builder of the family assumes a national meaning as well.
Yiddishe “Mamakhty”: The Jewish Mother between East and West.
The 11th Annual Conference on the Status of Women in Israeli Society in Honor of International Women’s Day Thursday, March 16, 2017
We are in the opening weeks of the 2017 fall semester at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies. One of the innovative aspects of this year’s academic program is the introduction of a new program on Jewish spirituality. It is composed of three primary elements: Kabbalah and Hassidism; World and New Age spirituality and spiritual education. In the spirit of this exciting new program, I would like to briefly explore one of the most significant Jewish philosophers of the twentieth century, Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972), whose approach to Jewish education places spirituality at its center.
The holiday that falls on the first two days of the Hebrew month of Tishrei has many names. Most famously, it is known as Rosh HaShana, the beginning of the year. Yet it is also called Yom Zikaron Tru’ah – the day of remembering the blast of the shofar, Yom Harat Olam – the day of the world’s beginning, and Yom HaDin, the day of judgment.