Prayer Leadership Reaches a High Note Profile: Osnat Bensoussan, Ashira Student, Spring 2019


Leadership requires communication, discipline, and thoughtfulness. Prayer leadership, requires all that and then some. Meet Osnat Bensoussan, a company CEO with family roots in Morocco and a student in Ashira, the Rabbinical Seminary’s newest program. Learn how she is leading her Sephardic egalitarian prayer community and how she came to study at SRS.

The Complexities of Purim


Purim is a holiday whose meaning is shrouded in mystery. The only clear element is what we are commanded to do on Purim as set forth at the end of the Scroll of Esther: read the Megilla, hold a festive meal, and give gifts to the poor. This last mitzvah is not an administrative detail of a system of social justice. Yes, the Jewish people are commanded to pay a tax of half a shekel, as we read onShabbat Shekalim, the Shabbat preceding Rosh Chodesh Adar. But gifts to the poor are another matter; giving charity is an expression of the direct, mutual economic responsibility between people.

What is the Proper Way to Refer to the Parents of a Convert? Responsa in a Moment: Volume 10, Issue No. 4, January 2016


I am officiating at the wedding of a young couple in the near future. In preparing the ketubah [marriage contract], I learned that the groom’s father was born Jewish, but the groom converted at age four, along with his mother. The groom would like his name to appear in the marriage contract as “X the son of the names of his two parents,” since they are all Jewish now; but his father would like it to appear as “X the son of Abraham and Sarah,” since that is how his son was named at his conversion. What is the halakhah in this case?

Why do we Wear a Kittel and use White Torah Mantles, Table Covers and Ark Curtains in the Synagogue on the High Holy Days? Responsa in a Moment: Volume 10, Issue No. 1, September 2015


Asked by Rabbi Rachel Schwartz on the behalf of a pupil at a Hebrew school in the United States: Why is the kittel worn on the High Holy Days? When were Torah scrolls first dressed in white for the High Holy Days and what prompted this change?