Richard H. Schwartz on Belgium’s Shechita Ban

January 21, 2019

Richard H. Schwartz The Jerusalem Post

WHY BELGIUM’S BAN ON KOSHER SLAUGHTER IS WRONG

The recent Belgian government ban of shechita (Jewish ritual slaughter) overlooks some important considerations.

The recent Belgian government ban of shechita (Jewish ritual slaughter) overlooks some important considerations.

First, it ignores the many problems related to stunning, their preferred method of slaughter. These are thoroughly covered in the book Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the US Meat Industry, by Gail Eisnitz. Through many interviews with slaughterhouse workers and USDA inspectors, she carefully documents in gut-wrenching, chilling detail the widespread, unspeakable torture and death at US slaughterhouses where animals are stunned prior to slaughter.

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New and Forthcoming from Urim Publications

November 26, 2018

Translating One Classic After Another – For 40 Years: An Interview with Eliyahu Munk

July 2, 2018

Elliot Resnick • Jewish Press

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Translating one peirush on Chumash is hard enough. Translating 15 is nothing short of remarkable. But Eliyahu Munk has done just that. The Ohr HaChaim, the Alshich, the Akeidas Yitzchak, the Kedushas Levi, the Ksav v’Hakabalah, the Chizkuni, the Shelah, the Tzror Hamor, the Tur, Rabbeinu Bachye – all translated into English by one man.

And he’s still going strong. At age 96, Eliyahu Munk is now translating the Meshech Chachmah. Amazed at this literary output, The Jewish Press recently called Eliyahu Munk in Israel to speak to him about his life and work.

The Jewish Press: What’s your background?

Munk: I was born in Frankfurt, Germany. My father came from Cologne and taught mathematics, chemistry, and physics.

I attended Rav Joseph Breuer’s yeshiva 10 hours every week. He taught me the haftarot, and the way he made a navi come to life is something I haven’t forgotten. He had a knack of making a navi talk to you. It was a terrific thing. Read the rest of this entry »


Review of Memoirs of a Hopeful Pessimist

January 16, 2017

A Collection of Light-Hearted Autobiographical Stories
By Martin Lockshin

The State of Israel appropriately takes pride in its many achievements. In technology, science, research as well as militarily, Israel’s success seems unprecedented, especially considering its small population. Advanced Jewish studies and many varied forms of Jewish culture thrive. Historians say that never before in history has such a high percentage of Jews had expert-level knowledge of Jewish texts.

On the social level, however, the picture in Israel is far from rosy. While Israel’s raison d’être is the ingathering of exiles to build a new society together, serious tensions abound between Jews who are Ashkenazi and Sephardi, religious and secular, and haredi (ultra- or fervently Orthodox) and non-haredi. Women’s rights are more fraught than in most western democracies, because of the religious-secular divide and the lack of separation of religion and state. Israeli supporters and opponents of the settlements often do not even talk about their differences – it’s just too painful. Tensions between the 80 per cent of the population who are Jewish and the 20 per cent who are Muslim or Christian are part of everyday existence. Read the rest of this entry »


Rabbis Shuchat, Father and Son, Launch New Books

September 19, 2012

by Canadian Jewish News Staff

Father and son rabbis Wilfred and Raphael Shuchat were to jointly launch their new books at Congregation Shaar Hashomayim the evening of Slichot, September 8.

The elder Shuchat, 92, rabbi emeritus of the Shaar, has published Noah, The Flood and the Failure of Man, the third in his series on the interpretations of the sages of the Midrash Rabbah.

His son, Rabbi Raphael Shuchat, a lecturer in Jewish philosophy and mysticism at Bar-Ilan University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has published Jewish Faith in a Changing World: A Modern Introduction to the World and Ideas of Classical Jewish Philosophy.

In Noah, the elder Rabbi Shuchat writes that, although the biblical figure was chosen by God to save humanity, the sages have some reservations about his character. “[Noah] seems to be a saintly man with many flaws,” the author writes. Read the rest of this entry »


Eli Rubinstein, Malcolm Silver & Jonathon Dahoah-Halevi with Doris Epstein on MENSCHlife

March 21, 2012

Scroll down on page to see embedded video.


Shofar Journal review of An Italian Renaissance: Choosing Life in Canada

February 23, 2012

An Italian Renaissance: Choosing Life in Canada, by Robert Eli Rubinstein Jerusalem: Urim Publications, 2010. 177 pp. $24.95. ISBN 978-965-524-044-3.

Having suffered horrific personal losses in the Second World War, Bela Rubinstein and Judit Schwarcz decided that there was no future in Hungary, the land of their birth. Together with a few surviving relatives, they were able to escape just before the Communists sealed the borders. They were trapped in northern Italy, in a refugee camp for homeless Jews, for almost three years. This involuntary sojourn served the unintended but beneficial purpose of preparing Bela and Judit for their gradual return to normal life. Finally, an opportunity arose to immigrate to Canada, which ultimately proved to be a land of great blessing. The Rubinsteins established a home, raised a family, and integrated into the community. Along the way, they were able to reclaim the ancestral faith that had been ravaged in the death camps, and this imbued their lives with meaning and purpose. Yet sadly, despite this remarkable demonstration of human resilience, long-suppressed demons were to gain the upper hand as age-related infirmity eroded their painstakingly cultivated emotional fortitude.

– Shofar Journal (Summer 2011)