Tisha B’Av and the Mourning and Survival Patterns of Jews


As a modern-day researcher of Jewish thought, I especially love the personal descriptions that Jewish philosophers insert parenthetically into their Jewish philosophical text. These descriptions allow us to learn about central customs in Jewish community life, as well as the educational values and philosophical insights that were etched into the Jewish consciousness of the philosopher in question.   

Between Destruction and Redemption: Rabbi Avi Novis-Deutsch on Tisha B’Av


This Friday begins the Jewish month of Av and the nine days leading up to Tisha B’Av, the Ninth of Av, a day that commemorates the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem and other tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people. Rabbi Avi Novis-Deutsch, Dean of the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, suggests that the day is an opportunity to listen to unheard voices and to make room for diverse approaches to Judaism.

Zealous or Zealot? Rabbi Prof. David Golinkin on Parshat Pinchas


Can someone be zealous without being a zealot? Rabbi Professor David Golinkin, President of The Schechter Institutes, discusses the incident in the transition from Parshat Balak to Parshat Pinchas. With the entire Israelite camp watching, Pinchas kills a sinning Israelite and a Moabite woman. When is zeal for upholding Torah and the rule of law justified and when is it unreasonable?

How Do We Establish Memory? Professor Doron Bar on the Creation of Yad Vashem


Memory or heroism? Victims or heroes? What should a museum commemorate? Professor Doron Bar, President of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, shares insights into how Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust memorial and museum, was established. He focuses on the Hall of Remembrance, a less frequented site in the Yad Vashem complex, and its meaning to him and to his students.

Superwoman: Professor Renee Levine Melammed on a 17th-Century Woman’s Kabbalistic Powers


Can sexuality be taken out of the yeshiva? A few months ago we learned how Asenath Barazani, a woman and a decisor of Jewish law, became the head of a yeshiva in 17th-century Mosul, Kurdistan. Dr. Renée Levine Melammed, Professor of Jewish History, continues Asenath’s story sharing information about two amulets that imbued this mysterious leader with Kabbalistic powers.

What Made Moses a Great Leader? Rabbi Prof. David Golinkin on Parshat Beha'alotcha


What makes a great leader? Rabbi Professor David Golinkin, President of The Schechter Institutes, discusses Parshat Beha’alotcha and the six qualities that made Moses successful as head of the Israelites. Everyone from Biblical rulers to politicians today can find value in characteristics ranging from humility to a willingness to ask for help. 

Just How Jewish Should Israel Be? Rabbi Avi Novis-Deutsch on Separation of State and Religion


How Jewish should the Jewish State be? As Israel continues celebrating its 70th birthday Rabbi Avi Novis-Deutsch, Dean of the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, asks whether Israelis can decide what kind of Judaism they want to support in both the private sphere and in the public one. Should legislators be weighing in on what kind of Judaism to practice?

Jerusalem of Skyscrapers? Professor Doron Bar on the City's Changing Population


Sunday, the 28th of Iyyar, marks the 51st anniversary of Jerusalem’s unification. Professor Doron Bar, President of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, and a 7th generation Jerusalemite, tells the story of Jerusalem’s changing population through the lens of his family history. How has Israel’s largest city evolved from a a small group living within the Old City walls to an expansive metropolis?