As Israel celebrates its 71st birthday, some of Schechter’s faculty share what “Israeliness” means to them. May Israel go from strength to strength!
For me, being Israeli means to live in a situation where one’s actions, in every moment of life, impact the future of the Jewish people and the Jewish people’s contribution to the future of humanity – for good and for bad. To the extent that we consider our “Israeliness” in a manner that expands our humanity and our culture; to the extent that we direct our lives to the ideals of justice and truth, to that extent we will broaden our Jewishness and our humanity. But the opposite is also true: To the extent that we understand our Israeliness in narrow and fanatical terms, to that extent we will destroy our Judaism and our humanity.
Israeliness is best expressed in its contrasts:
On the good side- solidarity, brotherhood, a willingness to help and so much love of country. And on the less good side- lack of patience (particularly on the roads) roughness, and a way of speaking that is not the most dignified. But at the end of the day, we have no other country! And it is always possible to improve, even at age 71.
Being Israeli is friendship and willingness to open you home and heart to people who you don’t even know. Some examples: attending funerals and weddings of people who don’t have relatives in Israel to offer comfort or to celebrate; visiting a grave of a fallen soldier on Memorial Day who doesn’t have relatives; the dancing in the streets of Israel, all the different dances even after 70 years of Statehood; nights of singing; Shabbat and holidays all over the country, even in Tel Aviv there is a quietness that suddenly descends.
As we mourn the victims in The Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Rabbi Ilana Foss shares her perspective on our moral obligation in tragedy’s wake.
The Schechter Rabbinical Seminary is pleased to invite you to the annual Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) study evening in memory of Dr. Aubey Rotenberg that will take place on Monday | September 11, 2017 | 7:00 p.m.
In recognition of the work of Professor Eliezer Schweid, an outstanding researcher and lecturer on Jewish thought, the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies is honored to host a festive symposium.
The High Holidays are a time of transition from one Jewish year to the next. During the week of September 12, 2016, the Schechter Institutes celebrated a number of milestones and transitions. The following is an edited version of my remarks on September 13th.
From the story of a life on its last journey, from words of family members gathered around the grave, rises terrible pain but also a great light. Notes from Mt. Herzl
An awful crime was committed. That is a fact. It does not matter where you stand politically. It matters only where you stand morally. Violence was used to silence a voice that offended some people. That is not acceptable, and it is fitting and proper to dedicate a day in which we make that statement clearly to ourselves and to each other.
Why do some have to resort to violence as part of an argument? What can be done about that?
Can the critical study of the Bible in the academic world be seen to have a clear Jewish aspect which distinguishes it from the work of Catholic and Protestant colleagues? While the issue has been pursued from a number of perspectives,[note]A fuller discussion of the issue can be found in S.D. Sperling,Students of the Covenant, Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1992), pp. 1-13, and in the references cited there. Moshe Greenberg expressed himself briefly on the subject in the prologue to his collected essays Studies in the Bible and Jewish Thought(Philadelphia: JPS, 1995) pp. 3-8.[/note] there is no clear consensus which is based primarily on the content and method of that scholarship. But there is no doubt whatsoever that Professors Moshe Greenberg and Jacob Milgrom, both of whom passed away during the past month, represented some of the best examples of Jewish critical biblical scholarship.
What are the sources for giving Maasar Kesafim [a tithe] to tzedakah? Must all Maaser money be given to the poor or may it be used to support Jewish education, to buy ritual objects for a synagogue or for other mitzvot?