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?

What would Herzl and Jabotinsky think about how we look after 70 Years? Eitan Cooper on Parshat Behar


The two great proponents of political Zionism – Herzl and Jabotinsky, were both classical liberals, who championed free markets and private property as critical to economic development of the future Jewish State, while underscoring the critical importance of social solidarity. Neither was religious, yet both of them in their Zionist visions called for the implementation of the Biblical Jubilee year as ethical and moral bulwarks in a Jewish State.

How Do You Know When You Are Home? Rabbi Reb Dr. Mimi Feigelson on Hasidism


What is the meaning of finding your home? Sometimes it is  knowing your story of origin and sometimes it is locating your spiritual roots. Rabbi Dr. Reb Mimi Feigelson, Mashpiah Ruhanit (Spiritual Mentor) and senior lecturer of Rabbinics and Hasidic Thought at the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, discusses how she first became interested in Hasidic Thought.

How Do We Mark a Miracle? Rabbi Prof. David Golinkin on Israel’s 70th Birthday Rabbi Prof. David Golinkin on Israel's 70th Birthday


Are we aware of the miracles surrounding us? Rabbi Professor David Golinkin, President of The Schechter Institutes, shares excerpts of a letter written 70 years ago by the late Binyamin Brenzel. It describes the excitement in Israel following the UN partition vote. Brenzel, who later worked at Schechter until age 100, gives a window into the miraculous nature of the creation of the State of Israel.

How Do We Make Sense of the Insensible? Rabbi Avi Novis-Deutsch on Parshat Tazria-Metzora


Parshat Tazria-Metzora offers a confusing depiction of skin afflictions and potential treatments that, for many people, have little connection to modern life. Rabbi Avi Novis-Deutsch, Dean of the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, suggests that the perplexing descriptions like “a white discoloration on the skin of his body which does not appear to be deeper than the skin and the hair in it has not turned white” (Lev. 13:4) may offer the modern reader an opportunity for self-examination about our relationships with God. 

How Do We Respond to Tragedy? Dr. David Frankel on Parshat Shemini


When tragedy strikes what do we say to God? In Parshat Shemini Aaron’s sons, Nadav and Avihu, die suddenly.  Dr. David Frankel, senior lecturer in Bible at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, examines Aaron’s silent response and contrasts it with The Book of Job and the outrage Job expresses when faced with suffering. When is the time for silent submission and when is outraged protest appropriate?

What Time Is It? Professor Dr. Ari Ackerman on Heschel's Approach to Ritual and Sacrifice


Whether it is the yearly rituals of Passover celebrations or the familiarity of Shabbat rituals each week, Jewish observance creates sanctuaries of time. Dr. Ari Ackerman, Dean of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies and Senior Lecturer in Jewish Thought, explores Abraham Joshua Heschel’s concept of architecture of time and how ritual helps create holy spheres in our lives. The accompanying article focuses on Heschel and Moses Maimonides’ differing perspectives on ritual sacrifice.

Are you Ready to Leave Egypt? Rabbi Professor David Golinkin Takes the Passover Stage


Lights Camera Action! Drama doesn’t just take place in the movies, on Passover we remember that we too were brought out of Egypt. In preparation for your own seder Rabbi Professor David Golinkin, President of The Schechter Institutes, tells of the custom of reenacting the story of the Exodus and offers a way of bringing the drama to your own seder.