Learn about the Jewish Prayer Modes with Rabbi Avi Novis-Deutsch


Music and prayer have been combined since ancient times. A prayer tune, conveyed from generation to generation, sets the atmosphere for the service and allows the congregation to focus on the connection with the Divine.

Get right into the mode for the upcoming Holiday with Rabbi Avi Novis-Deutsch, as he explains with great emotion and passion how the same verse is recited in different tunes in multiple synagogues around the neighborhood.

What happens on the streets of Jerusalem during Selichot? Dr. Einat Ramon


Dr. Ramon describes the beautiful scene that takes place at the Western Wall, the Kotel, in the early pre-dawn hours during the month of Elul. She talks with yearning and wonder that will make you want to close your eyes and join her in the next Selichot prayer.

Selihot Already? Rabbi Prof. David Golinkin on Penitential Prayers


Why do some communities start reciting the Jewish Penitential prayers; Selihot in a certain period of time the Jewish month of Elul, and others only at a later date?

As we enter Elul Rabbi Professor David Golinkin, President of The Schechter Institutes explains the beautiful differences with the Selihot timings in the traditions of Persian, Sephardic and Ashkenazim Jews. Watch the video below:

How did Mount Herzl Get its Name? Professor Doron Bar on Herzl's Final Resting Place


In August 1949, Theodore Herzl’s remains were moved from Vienna to the newly established State of Israel. Professor Doron Bar, President of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, tells the story of how Jerusalem was given the honor of reinterring Herzl and how all of Israel paid tribute to the founder of Zionism by sending small bags of dirt from their communities around the country to be included in the grave. How else was Herzl honored? 

Does Love Keep Us From Being Alone? Rabbi Reb Dr. Mimi Feigelson on Parshat Eikev


How do we overcome aloneness in the world? In Parshat Eikev the word love is used four times as we are commanded to “circumcise our hearts” and love God. Rabbi Dr. Reb Mimi Feigelson, Mashpiah Ruhanit (Spiritual Mentor) and senior lecturer of Rabbinics and Hasidic Thought at the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, explores these different understandings of commanded love and suggests a connection between loving God and the creation of the first human in Genesis.

The Feminist Message of Parshat Va’etchanan


The Ten Commandments appear in the Torah twice: once in the Book of Exodus, in Parshat Yitro, and the second time in Deuteronomy, in Parshat Va’etchanan. The prohibition “Thou shalt not covet” in the Exodus version says “Do not covet the household of your neighbor”, and then lists the neighbor’s belongings: his “wife, his servants, his ox and his donkey.” In Deuteronomy the prohibition is somewhat different. It states, first and foremost, “Thou shalt not covet your neighbor’s wife”, and only then “thou shalt not covet the household of your neighbor”. Why the difference? Read more on how sacred texts change to reflect evolving morality.

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.