Review by Roger S. Kohn • AJL Reviews
This slim book has two parts: part one about women serving as a communal prayer leader; part two, about women counting in a quorum of ten.
This book aims to answer a need: “though the halakhic questions regarding egalitarian minyanim have earned a fair amount of literature, there is still a need for a comprehensive treatment of the issue that seeks to understand the underlying concerns and issues of the different positions taken. Read the rest of this entry »
Jessica Steinberg • The Times of Israel
The first thing to know about “From Forbidden Fruit to Milk and Honey,” Diana Lipton’s commentary on food in the Torah, is that it isn’t a book about what people ate during biblical times.
In fact, most of the 54 scholars who contributed to this compilation of essays don’t usually write about food. They write about the Bible.
“That’s what made it so different,” said Diana Lipton, the Cambridge-trained scholar who compiled the book of essays (and a Times of Israel blogger). “It’s not what they usually write about, but everyone’s an expert, no matter what they think.” Read the rest of this entry »
Review by Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz • Jewish Journal
As I’ve been a close student of Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo’s for many years and am very familiar with his philosophy, I found myself excited and eager to read his latest book: Jewish Law as Rebellion: A Plea for Religious Authenticity and Halachic Courage (Urim Publications, 2018). I was not disappointed. In this masterful work, Rav Cardozo not only critiques the great challenges that Jews face in the world but also lays out an inspirational and comprehensive vision of contemporary Judaism, one where, “Halacha’s main [function] is to protest against a world that is becoming ever more complacent, self-indulgent, insensitive, and egocentric” (21). Read the rest of this entry »
Review by Aryeh Klapper • JOFA
In Gender Equality and Prayer in Jewish Law, Rabbis Ethan Tucker and Micha’el Rosenberg have produced a book that is noteworthy for its integrity, accuracy, and clarity. The authors worked for many years to refine the book’s content and responded to critiques with thanks and openness to revising their arguments, if not their conclusions. (Full disclosure: I am thanked for my “sharp and serious critiques and criticisms” [p. 9], ongoing from when I was a stripling Orthodox rabbinic adviser at Harvard Hillel while they were undergraduates.) The formal elements of their arguments are consciously crafted to fall within traditional and contemporary Orthodox halakhic parameters. The quality and humility of their work can serve as a model for private and public halakhic conversations about such issues.
This hard-earned and well-deserved praise does not mean that the book ought to succeed in directly affecting the davening practices of halakhic communities, nor that it successfully justifies the genderidentical practices of current prayer communities that otherwise follow the halakhot of prayer. It is vital to understand why, even if the explanation is lengthy. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »