Review of Transforming the World

May 25, 2016

transforming web001Using history and logic, Rabbi Dee explains in “Transforming the World: The Jewish Impact on Modernity” how Judaism enhances daily life to make it more meaningful. Addressing the fundamental question of why bother being Jewish in a modern world, “Transforming the World” focuses on the tolerance and equality of all mankind that is fundamental in Judaism. With a combination of commandments, traditions, and history, Rabbi Dee shows how Jewish culture transforms a human life and the wider world for the better. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, “Transforming the World” is very highly recommended for personal, synagogue, community, and academic library Contemporary Judaic Studies reference collections and supplemental studies reading lists.

This review originally appeared on Midwest Book Review


If God is everywhere, why can’t I see Him?

May 23, 2016

Nefesh HaTzimtzum vol 1 and 2

Launching his new, two-volume series, Nefesh HaTzimtzum, Avinoam Fraenkel talks about philosophical and Kabbalistic topics that have been questioned for centuries. Nefesh HaTzimtzum is a comprehensive and accessible presentation of Nefesh HaChaim, the classic book by Rabbi Chaim Volozhin, which follows a methodological framework for serving God and provides guidance on how to philosophically interact with the world. Due to its Kabbalistic subject matter, Nefesh HaChaim has lain in almost total obscurity for nearly two centuries. Avinoam Fraenkel enlightens the complex work by providing a translation, in-depth explanations, an informative historical overview, and a full index.

During his book launch in Beit Shemesh, Fraenkel touched upon Kabbalistic topics such as if Kabbalah is authentic; how Kabbalah views reality; and if Kabbalah, science, and technology are connected. You can view the entire talk here.

Nefesh HaTzimtzum, Volume 1: Rabbi Chaim Volozhin’s Nefesh HaChaim with Translation and Commentary and Nefesh HaTzimtzum, Volume 2: Understanding Nefesh HaChaim through the Key Concept of Tzimtzum and Related Writings are available through Urim Publications.

 

 


Review of Rabbinic Authority: The Vision and the Reality Vol.2

May 18, 2016

RabbinicAuthorityVolume2 web1By Rabbi Ari Enkin

Once again, Rabbi Yehuda Warburg gives us an insiders look into  a number of actual cases that transpired in his Beit Din. There are both Even Ha’ezer and Choshen Mishpat related cases. There is much reference and comparison to precedents and principles in secular law.

Here is the table of contents:

Part I: Rabbinic Authority: The Vision

Chapter 1: The Multifaceted Halakhic Identity of a Jewish Investment Broker

Chapter 2: The Propriety of a Civil Will

Chapter 3: Harnessing the Authority of Beit Din to Deal with Cases of Domestic Violence and Child Abuse

Chapter 4: An Employer’s Vicarious Liability for an Employee’s Sexual Misconduct

Chapter 5: The Status and Role of a To’ein Rabbani in the Beit Din Process Read the rest of this entry »


Life-changing work: Rabbi Leo Dee’s new book explains how the Torah can bring happiness to all

May 18, 2016

By Miriam Kates Lock transforming web001

When Leo Dee was a rabbi in a small village n the British county of Hertfordshire, he organized a question-and-answer session on one Yom Kippur afternoon. More than 400 Jews of all ages sat before him, and one young man – a science student at a British university – raised his hand to ask a question.

“Rabbi, isn’t the Torah just an ancient text that is out-of-date and irrelevant in our modern age?” he asked.

It was the most basic of all questions a rabbi could be asked.

Transforming the World is Dee’s answer.

Why is the Torah still relevant after thousands of years? What does the Torah offer to contemporary Jews living in today’s word? In Transforming the World Dee begins not with a discussion of history or faith, but instead with a reflection on the subject of happiness – what happiness means to people and the line between happiness and Judaism.

Transforming the World is not a scholarly volume intended for Jews with an extensive background in Jewish law and Jewish study. Instead, it is a straightforward book that addresses Jews who want to know what Judaism has to offer them personally. In today’s atmosphere of self-disclosure and openness, the pursuit of happiness is a subject examined and discussed frequently in the media, literature and popular culture. Dee presents Judaism in this novel way in order to bring his main point across to his readers: Judaism is worth investigating and absolutely has something to offer the modern Jew.

The rest of the review can be found in the Jerusalem Post Magazine.