New Review – Berkovits Haggadah

March 20, 2019

Israel Drazin

Hungarian-born scholar Eliezer Berkovits (1908-1992) was a highly respected Orthodox rabbi. He was educated in Berlin, Germany, where he received his PhD. He authored 19 books in several languages.

He held fast to traditional beliefs such as that the Israelites met God at Sinai where God gave them both the Written and the Oral Torahs. He felt that halakha, Jewish law, is necessary to control people from acting against their own and society’s best interest. He explained that during the Holocaust God “hid his face,” hester panim, because God wants humans to use their free will even if they do so in a harmful fashion. He stressed the importance of Zionism. Although he recognized that women are not treated well in matters of marriage and divorce, and believed that both sexes are equal, he did not encourage changes in Jewish law.

Read the rest of this entry »
Advertisements

New Book – Emoji Haggadah

March 18, 2019

Peek Inside the new Emoji Haggadah!


Exodus and emojis ● Banji Ganchrow

New haggadah tells the old story, but without words.

Before you know it, it will be Passover 2019. Time for cleaning, shopping, cooking, and finding the perfect haggadah for your seder table.

Read the rest of this entry »

New Review – Redeeming Relevance in the Book of Leviticus

March 13, 2019

Sharona Margolin Halickman ● Times of Israel

Redeeming Relevance in the book of Leviticus by Rabbi Francis Nataf (Urim 2019) takes an honest approach to the book of Vayikra. Most scholars and teachers of Tanach would agree that Vayikra is the book of Torah which is most avoided. If a teacher or professor is given the choice of which book to teach, most would not choose Vayikra. As Rabbi Nataf points out, if a spiritual leader can speak about another topic such as an upcoming holiday thereby avoiding the book of Vayikra, they will do so.

Despite Rabbi Nataf himself only writing this book after publishing volumes on the other four books of the Torah, he brings many interesting points which are relevant to us today. One focus is looking at the origins of the korban, sacrifice while comparing it to the giving of a present. He analyzes Chava’s gift of the fruit to Adam as well as Kayin’s, Hevel’s and Noach’s sacrifices to God. He also speaks about offerings that may never be brought on the altar, chametz and child sacrifice.

Read the rest of this entry »

New Review – Faith and Freedom

March 7, 2019

Rabbi Ari Enkin Torah Book Reviews

The title says it all. If you are interested in the commentary of philosopher/theologian/rabbi Eliezer Berkovits this Haggada is for you. Commentary culled from all over his writings are cited at the relevant haggadic passages. Passages in which there is a commentary are written in bold font in order to alert the reader that there is a commentary on that specific passage…. Some nice thoughts on history, halacha, Jewish/Christian comparisons, and of course, human philosophy.


New Book – Faith and Freedom Passover Haggadah

February 28, 2019

New Book – Beyond Routine

July 11, 2018

ScreenHunter_295 Jul. 11 11.49


Memoirs of a Hopeful Pessimist

June 6, 2018

Debbie Weissman • Times of Israel

hopeful-pessimist-web-1

In the mid-20th century, the great American Jewish theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel credibly wrote “Judaism today is the least known religion.” But recent decades have seen Christians making impressive efforts to fill in the knowledge gap. For many years, I have had the privilege of teaching groups of Christians who come to Jerusalem from throughout the world. Many of them are priests, pastors and nuns on sabbatical; some are lay people. They come from anywhere from a week to a year and my involvement varies, depending on the length and depth of the program. The programs are held at Christian institutions in and around Jerusalem.

I teach them about Judaism and about Israel. I give introductions to the Christians who visit our synagogue on Friday nights for prayers, and we sometimes also provide them with home hospitality for Shabbat dinners. It is fascinating to note what questions they ask. In one case, a young woman was surprised that our sanctuary was not decorated with pictures of Moses. Once, I told a group of seminarians that they were imposing Christian questions on Judaism; what interested them almost exclusively were Read the rest of this entry »