December 13, 2017
“If only common sense was wise enough to comfort mourners and to cope with the tragedy of death. As a Rabbi and highly respected hospital chaplain, Simeon Schreiber has written an invaluable modern day guide to the perplexed, all those well-meaning friends and relatives who come to bring a measure of consolation to those suffering the loss of a loved one and – because of their lack of knowledge of fundamental psychological insights as well as profound Jewish ideas hallowed by tradition – undo all the good that might be accomplished with a shiva call. I wish everyone who is about to fulfill the great mitzvah of visiting those who grieve their beloved departed reads and then rereads the valuable guidance offered by a masterful practitioner of the art of helping people move from mourning to morning.”
Rabbi Benjamin Blech, Professor of Talmud, Yeshiva University
November 27, 2017
Benedict Roth, Jewish Chronicle UK
Orthodox women could enjoy greater equality if rabbis were ready to pursue it
A new book takes a fresh look at rabbinic sources on women’s prayer
The expressions “gender equality” and “Jewish law” rarely appear in the same sentence and many would expect a book on the subject to be a short one. Gender equality is the language of today’s equal rights movement, while Jewish law contains features that are conspicuously unequal: a woman’s testimony is invalid in a Jewish court and she is categorised with slaves and children for many halachic purposes.
But the true picture is Read the rest of this entry »
November 20, 2017
Reviewed by Devorah Talia Gordon • Jewish Home LA
When asked to review Rabbi Jason Weiner’s book, Jewish Guide to Practical Decision-Making, I hesitated. Surely my editor had asked the wrong writer. Having almost no medical or halachic knowledge, I imagined the read would be akin to Read the rest of this entry »
November 13, 2017
by Gedalyah Reback • Scribe (Forward), November 8, 2017
“The law “ואהבתם את הגר,” and you shall love the convert, is mentioned over 36 times in the Torah. The prolific rabbi Moshe Feinstein wrote that “As a matter of normative practice, one should know that the mitzvah (commandment) to love the convert obligates us to bring them closer and to be lenient on all these matters [of Jewish law].”
Yet for more than a decade Read the rest of this entry »
November 12, 2017
“For the observant Jew, the Torah is the eternal word of G-d. If one wishes to build a life based on Torah and Halakha, one can go on two paths. One path is the conviction, in the words of Rabbis Ethan Tucker and Michael Rosenberg that “the eternal word of G-d must speak to our contemporary challenges.” This path embodies the idea that Halakha is ever expanding.
Read the rest of this entry »
October 29, 2017
Written by Harold Berman for Scribe (Forward), on October 26, 2017.
“If my Facebook feed is any guide, converts to Judaism are commodities, not human beings. In countless posts, and in real life too, born Jews of all stripes opine about — depending on their ideological outlook — whether particular converts have met proper conversion standards, or whether there should be any standards at all. Not surprisingly, their views tend to be a Rorschach test of sorts. They are each comfortable with a set of requirements that produce converts who practice Judaism just like they do.
Orthodox Jews argue with each other about which aspects of halacha a conversion candidate must agree to and abide by if their conversion is to be accepted. Not coincidentally, Modern Orthodox and Charedi Jews each advocate for conversion standards that look suspiciously like a mirror image of how their respective communities practice Judaism, more so than what Jewish sources actually say about conversion. On the liberal end of the spectrum, Read the rest of this entry »
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 »