Rabbinic Authority Vol. 4

June 3, 2019

Daniel D. Stuhlman ● AJL Reviews

Rabbi Warburg continues his series on Jewish law in this fourth volume of Rabbinic Authority. If you don’t have the previous three volumes, you should purchase them because Warburg refers to them so that he does not have to repeat material. This volume deals with issues concerning children within a divorce proceeding as well as issues surrounding the agunah (lit. ‘chained wife’). When dissolving a marriage without co-operating parties the Beit Din (religious court) will on rare occasions declare the initial kiddushin (marriage ceremony) was mistaken (called bittul kiddushin or kiddushin ta’ut). This means the marriage is annulled and was a mistake. Warburg discusses the Halkhah and precedent for ending a marriage when both parties don’t agree, as well as the definition of marriage and ways of ending a marriage with a coerced get or without a get.

Read the rest of this entry »
Advertisements

Touro Law Conference – Was Yosef on the Spectrum

May 3, 2019

Professor Randy Lee ● Widener Law School

Reflections on Jewish and American Disability Law and on the God Who Makes All Things Good

“Professor Sam Levine, Director of the Jewish Law Institute here at Touro, recently published a book, Was Yosef on the Spectrum.  Was Yosef, son of Jacob, son of Rachel, prophet, mystic, favorite of his father, selected savior of the civilized world, master businessman, and Broadway star, on the spectrum?

            When Professor Levine first mentioned that possibility to me and began to explain his reasoning, I felt what I thought were two different responses.  My first response was, “Isn’t that clever!  Isn’t that neat.  Isn’t it creative and lawyerly how Professor Levine has managed to find a way to connect all those events and all those conversations together to support his thesis.” 

Read the rest of this entry »

New Review – Faith and Freedom

April 2, 2019

Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo ● The Times of Israel

One of the tragedies of Modern Orthodox Judaism is the fact that the thoughts and halachic insights of Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Berkovits (1908-1992) were never sufficiently recognized by the mainstream Orthodox world and its leadership, which often snubbed, attacked, or simply ignored him. By doing so, Orthodoxy and the Jewish people at large did not realize that they paid a heavy price. They overlooked a major figure that could have been their leader and greatly advanced Orthodoxy.

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 »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

New Review – Was Yosef on the Spectrum

January 14, 2019

Alan Jay Gerber ● The Jewish Star

The Legacy of Yosef

This week’s Torah reading, Vayigash, reflects the narrative of the reconciliation of Yosef and his brothers, and the reunion with his father, Yaakov. There is much to be said of this saga. One very timely book on this biblical legacy is Was Yosef On The Spectrum? Understanding Yosef Through Torah, Midrash, and Classical Jewish Sources [Urim Publications, 2019] by Prof. Samuel Levine.

Read the rest of this entry »

New Review – Am I My Body’s Keeper?

January 7, 2019

Arthur G. Quinn AJL Reviews

The author has had a career as a scholar, author, and lecturer in Israel and the United States, and has written several books on Judaism, and Jewish art and culture. The book begins with an introduction, followed by eleven chapters. Each chapter is introduced with a quotation by Maimonides, referred to in the book as Rambam. The underlying theme of each chapter is the practice of healthy diet and exercise as consistent with halakhah (Jewish law). Both the quotations of Rambam and the contemporary interpretation of those quotations provide guidance for a holistic lifestyle that includes preventive medicine, cleanliness, practicing good personal habits, avoiding inactivity, and diet and exercise that extend life.

The tenth chapter is dedicated to outlining best practices for those over fifty, emphasizing diet and exercise as essential in order to maintain a rewarding quality of life into the senior years. In addition to Rambam’s advice, the author has included considerable medical research to support his thesis cited in the end notes. At the same time, the topic is presented in layman’s language, often summarizing the major points in brief terms.

This volume would be a welcome addition to any non-fiction adult collection.