July 13, 2016
by Shlomo Greenwald
Rabbi Maurice Lamm, a major presence in the American Orthodox rabbinate in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, as well as a teacher to hundreds of thousands through his immensely popular Jewish books, died last week. He was 86.
Rabbi Lamm authored The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning, on the laws and practices of burial, shiva and mourning, which has sold over 750,000 copies since its first printing in 1969.
Additionally, he wrote The Jewish Way in Love and Marriage, The Power of Hope, Becoming a Jew, and Consolation. Each of these was also a best-seller in the Jewish world.
From 1972 to 1985 Rabbi Lamm served as head rabbi at Beth Jacob Congregation in Beverly Hills, Calif., one of the largest Orthodox synagogues in America. He also connected with and influenced the Orthodox community at large through his affiliation with the Rabbinical Council of America, the journal Tradition and several other boards and organizations. He was also recognized as a first-class orator, lecturing abroad and overseas, from Israel to Australia to several countries in Europe.
Continue reading here.
November 3, 2013
by Israel Drazin
Smart and Ashkenas collected some fifty essays by articulate women of the various Jewish denominations in which they tell poignant emotional tales about relatives who died and their experiences in saying the mourner’s prayer, kaddish, what motivated them to do it, and how they felt doing so. Virtually all the stories are positive. The women derived much from saying the kaddish for eleven months. However some of the women had unfortunate contacts with Orthodox men. Some men felt that saying kaddish is a male prerogative and they mistreated the women who paid honor to deceased relatives by saying the kaddish. The book also includes three short chapters by rabbis concerning the laws of mourning and the saying of kaddish.
Many women reported feeling that saying kaddish provided them with an opportunity to engage others in helping them heal. It also facilitated them in creating new and lasting bonds of friendship in their communities. The kaddish aided them in keeping their relatives alive. It was a special time together with deceased dads, mom, kids. They had a feeling of doing something concrete and appealing. They felt they helped their love ones end their life’s journey. Some accepted the mystical idea that saying kaddish helped elevate their relatives to a higher heavenly level. They knew that the kaddish was a prayer that praised God and this gave meaning to them. Sitting in the services, many developed attachments to certain prayers and their knowledge of Judaism deepened. Some women were so moved by the kaddish that they abandoned Reform and Conservative synagogues and joined traditional Orthodox ones. Read the rest of this entry »
July 19, 2010
by Alan Brill
This morning we mourn the death of Harav Yehuda Amital zt”l, a truly courageous and moral leader of our time.
Here is the opening of an article that I wrote about him a few years ago in my review of Rav Amital’s book “Worlds Built, Destroyed and Rebuilt: The Religious Thought of R. Yehudah Amital” (the essay originally appeared in the 2006 Edah Journal) :
Read the rest of this entry »
May 24, 2010
Biblical Prose Prayer
by Dennis Hevesi
Moshe Greenberg, one of the most influential Jewish biblical scholars of the 20th century, died Saturday at his home in Jerusalem. He was 81.
Professor Greenberg, who in 1994 won the Israel Prize, that nation’s highest civilian honor, taught Bible and Jewish studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem from 1970 to 1996. But his teaching career began at the University of Pennsylvania in 1954 and constituted something of a breakthrough in American academia.
Before then, most American universities held that biblical study was primarily the domain of Christian scholars, said Jonathan D. Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University.
Read the rest of this entry »