November 13, 2017
by Gedalyah Reback • Scribe (Forward), November 8, 2017
“The law “ואהבתם את הגר,” and you shall love the convert, is mentioned over 36 times in the Torah. The prolific rabbi Moshe Feinstein wrote that “As a matter of normative practice, one should know that the mitzvah (commandment) to love the convert obligates us to bring them closer and to be lenient on all these matters [of Jewish law].”
Yet for more than a decade Read the rest of this entry »
November 12, 2017
“For the observant Jew, the Torah is the eternal word of G-d. If one wishes to build a life based on Torah and Halakha, one can go on two paths. One path is the conviction, in the words of Rabbis Ethan Tucker and Michael Rosenberg that “the eternal word of G-d must speak to our contemporary challenges.” This path embodies the idea that Halakha is ever expanding.
Read the rest of this entry »
October 29, 2017
Written by Harold Berman for Scribe (Forward), on October 26, 2017.
“If my Facebook feed is any guide, converts to Judaism are commodities, not human beings. In countless posts, and in real life too, born Jews of all stripes opine about — depending on their ideological outlook — whether particular converts have met proper conversion standards, or whether there should be any standards at all. Not surprisingly, their views tend to be a Rorschach test of sorts. They are each comfortable with a set of requirements that produce converts who practice Judaism just like they do.
Orthodox Jews argue with each other about which aspects of halacha a conversion candidate must agree to and abide by if their conversion is to be accepted. Not coincidentally, Modern Orthodox and Charedi Jews each advocate for conversion standards that look suspiciously like a mirror image of how their respective communities practice Judaism, more so than what Jewish sources actually say about conversion. On the liberal end of the spectrum, Read the rest of this entry »
October 19, 2017
Review by Lawrence Kobrin on Lookstein Bookjed Digest
Conversion to Judaism, once relatively rare, has now become something encountered in many circumstances and families. There has been considerable “politicization” and controversy concerning the process and requirements. In all of the controversy, the needs and strivings of the sincere individuals who seek conversion are sometimes overlooked. Historically, some works for this purpose were published, but are primarily in Hebrew and not generally available. It is to the needs and concerns of contemporary converts that a fascinating recent book is addressed.
Rabbi Michael Broyde’s work, A Concise Code of Jewish Law for Converts is what its title suggests, but much more. Drawing on many years of Read the rest of this entry »
October 18, 2017
Review by James A. Cox, Midwest Book Review
While the topic of conversion in Judaism has been extensively covered in many fine studies, no one has yet explored the particular laws related to after conversion. In “A Concise Code of Jewish Law for Converts”, Michael J. Broyde (Professor of Law at Emory University School of Law and a Senior Fellow at Emory University’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion. He served for many years as the Yoshev Rosh (chair) and a dayan (judge) in the SouthEast Rabbinical Court for Conversion which was part of the GPS Conversion network) deftly explores many topics and questions that revolve around the life of a Jewish convert. Such topics include the place of a convert in a Jewish community according to Jewish law, the treatment of a convert in respect to acceptance and discrimination, and providing affirmative incentives to converts. Containing a detailed review of every aspect of Jewish law from the convert’s perspective and in relation to them, as well as supplemental essays, “A Concise Code of Jewish Law for Converts” provides knowledge and guidance on life after conversion. Comprehensive, authoritative, exceptionally well organized and presented, “A Concise Code of Jewish Law for Converts” is a critically important and unreservedly recommended addition to synagogue and academic library Judaic Studies instructional reference collections and supplemental studies reading lists.
October 17, 2017
Written by Alan Jay Gerber.
Originally appeared in The Jewish Star on October 8, 2017.
One of the most charismatic young rabbis in education today is Rabbi Aryeh Cohen, the Mashgiach Ruchani at the DRS High School in Woodmere. Rabbi Cohen has assembled in book form (“From The Heart of a Lion,” Penina Press) a series of eloquent and timely essays themed to each parasha in Bereshis. The content of each chapter fully lives up to the rabbi’s reputation of combining his analytic learning style with anecdotes relating to life’s experiences.
In Noach, next week’s parasha, Rabbi Cohen relates a personal relationship to demonstrate respect for authority especially in terms of religious reverence and mentorship.
The rabbinical authority in this essay was HaRav Nosson Finkel, zt”l, rosh yeshiva of the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem, who was, in Rabbi Cohen’s words, the “foundation of my life as a Jew.”
The relationship that Rabbi Cohen describes illustrates the author’s style and the greatness of his subject.
“From the time I began to Read the rest of this entry »