October 19, 2017
Review by Lawrence Kobrin on Lookstein Bookjed Digest
Conversion to Judaism, once relatively rare, has now become something encountered in many circumstances and families. There has been considerable “politicization” and controversy concerning the process and requirements. In all of the controversy, the needs and strivings of the sincere individuals who seek conversion are sometimes overlooked. Historically, some works for this purpose were published, but are primarily in Hebrew and not generally available. It is to the needs and concerns of contemporary converts that a fascinating recent book is addressed.
Rabbi Michael Broyde’s work, A Concise Code of Jewish Law for Converts is what its title suggests, but much more. Drawing on many years of Read the rest of this entry »
October 18, 2017
Review by James A. Cox, Midwest Book Review
While the topic of conversion in Judaism has been extensively covered in many fine studies, no one has yet explored the particular laws related to after conversion. In “A Concise Code of Jewish Law for Converts”, Michael J. Broyde (Professor of Law at Emory University School of Law and a Senior Fellow at Emory University’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion. He served for many years as the Yoshev Rosh (chair) and a dayan (judge) in the SouthEast Rabbinical Court for Conversion which was part of the GPS Conversion network) deftly explores many topics and questions that revolve around the life of a Jewish convert. Such topics include the place of a convert in a Jewish community according to Jewish law, the treatment of a convert in respect to acceptance and discrimination, and providing affirmative incentives to converts. Containing a detailed review of every aspect of Jewish law from the convert’s perspective and in relation to them, as well as supplemental essays, “A Concise Code of Jewish Law for Converts” provides knowledge and guidance on life after conversion. Comprehensive, authoritative, exceptionally well organized and presented, “A Concise Code of Jewish Law for Converts” is a critically important and unreservedly recommended addition to synagogue and academic library Judaic Studies instructional reference collections and supplemental studies reading lists.
September 28, 2017
To hear some potential answers, check out this video from “Ohr HaShachar: Torah, Kabbalah and Consciousness in the Daily Blessings” author David Bar-Cohn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zF9byjr6Ea8
Rabbi David Bar-Cohn holds an MA in clinical psychology and maintains a psychotherapy practice. He also works in music and video production and is the creator of a children’s musical video series.
September 25, 2017
Review by Aviad Bodner that originally appeared in the Lookstein Education Book Review Digest
Rabbi Jason Weiner’s book Jewish Guide to Practical Medical Decision Making is an extremely helpful guide for any educator teaching the subject of Refuah V’Halacha or Jewish Medical Ethics. His ability to write in a fashion that would be useful to those who are familiar with Rabbinic literature and those who are not is praiseworthy. The author covers many topics, from beginning of life questions such as defining Maternity in a case of surrogate mother or egg donor, until the question of the determining the moment of death and the possibility of organ donation, and everything in between.
In addition to the detailed discussion on the Jewish law regarding these delicate and sensitive matters (and the extensive endnotes following each chapter), Rabbi Weiner shares with us his personal experience as a chaplain, opening for us a window into a fascinating world of Jewish medical decision making.
Rabbi Aviad Bodner teaches Jewish Medical Ethics at Ramaz High School, and serves as the Rabbi of the Stanton Street Shul on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
September 10, 2017
Originally published in The Times of Israel on September 7, 2017
by Ben Rothke
It may be a stretch, but I’d propose that Ludwig Wittgenstein would really like Rabbi Jason Weiner. Wittgenstein explored the relationship between language and reality. While not a book on language and reality per se; in Jewish Guide to Practical Medical Decision-Making (Urim Publications 978-9655242782), Weiner notes that many of the disconnections between clergy and medical professionals are often in the language they use.
Weiner writes that when seeking to clarify on issues related to medical ethics; effective communication is essential. Little progress can be made if the religious and medical communities are unable to communicate.
To that, Weiner delineates the many critical terms needed to make those effective medical decisions. Some of them include value vs. sanctity, infinite vs. relative value, pain vs. suffering, and more.
An important nuanced point he makes is that pain is usually addressed medically, while Read the rest of this entry »
December 8, 2015
By Linda F. Burghardt
How do we figure out how to live a good and just life? How do we set our moral compass so that it points us in the right direction? How do we develop an ethical code that helps us make our day-to-day decisions?
Nachum Amsel, a rabbi and educator, is convinced that people are searching for answers to these questions now more than ever before. His response is this book, a volume that contains a thorough explanation of Jewish values—moral principles which he says are God-given and not subject to change even though each generation may see the world through new eyes.
Rabbi Amsel sees Judaism not only as a religion, but also as a way of life, and thus his book goes far beyond traditional rituals to encompass every action of our lives. He believes that all our decisions and the behavior that results from them, even eating and sleeping, can be done in a Jewish way—that is, with a moral purpose that conforms to the timeless ethical precepts of Judaism.
He makes the point that he is not concerned with Jewish law, over which there have always been many disputes, nor Jewish thought, in which there are multiple viewpoints and divergent customs, but rather with values, the deeper, underlying set of moral principles that guide our overall lives and keep them clean and correct. Read the rest of this entry »