Why do Jews Use the Matronymic in Prayers for the Sick?* Volume 11, Number 2


There is a widespread custom today to use the matronymic in the mee sheberakh prayers recited for the sick during the Torah service. It is not entirely clear when or where this custom began. A prayer for the sick from fourteenth-century Provence uses ploni ben ploni [a male son of a male]. In a classic series of articles by Avraham Ya’ari about the mee sheberakh prayers, we also find ploni ben ploni or the abbreviation p’b’p’ in prayers for the sick.

Is it permissible to renovate or build a new building during the nine days which begin on Rosh Hodesh Av? Volume 10, Number 8


At the outset, I would like to stress the importance of the laws of Tisha B’av. On the one hand, I believe that it is very important to fast on Tisha B’av and to remember the Destruction in our day, even after the rebirth of the State of Israel and the reunification of Jerusalem. On the hand, there are many stringencies connected to “the three weeks” between the 17th of Tammuz and the 9th of Av, which were added in the Middle Ages by Aveilei Tziyon [= Mourners of Zion] and Ashkenazic rabbis, which have no Talmudic basis and which, in my opinion, there is no reason to observe.

The Middle Way in Israel Today


A speech in honor of Prof. Solomon Schechter’s 100th yahrzeit. He is the role-model for “the middle way” which has been so successfully pursued by the Schechter Institutes for over 30 years, attracting 55,000 Israelis to our programs every year.

Is Judaism Really in Favor of Pluralism and Tolerance?


During the past two months, we have witnessed three major cases of a lack of pluralism and tolerance in the State of Israel, most of them carried out by Israeli Orthodox rabbis. They seem to believe that there is only one correct way to be Jewish and that those who deviate from that path are not real rabbis and should be shunned. Since these Orthodox rabbis from different backgrounds seem to share this lack of pluralism and tolerance, maybe they are simply reflecting the concensus of Jewish tradition. Is this true?