Originally published in The Times of Israel on September 7, 2017
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 »
By Alan Jay Gerber
It is with great personal pleasure to note the completion by Rabbi Moshe Weinberger of his four volume English commentary on Rav Kook’s classic, “Song of Teshuvah” (Penina Press). This commentary makes available to the English speaking and learning public some of the most practical and understandable teachings concerning repentance as taught by one of the leading thinkers of our faith, Rabbi Avraham Yitzchal HaKohen Kook, zt’’l.
Rabbi Weinberger, of the Aish Kodesh Kehilah in Woodmere, and mashpia of Yeshiva University, has given to us an in-depth treasure house that will serve as an invaluable resource for this high holiday season and for many years to come.
I present to you just a sample of the concluding comments and sacred teachings from Rabbi Weinberger with the hope that this will encourage you to learn further from these teachings:
“As a result of our having sinned, we are Read the rest of this entry »
Written by: Martin Rubin
Originally Published by The Washington Times
The State of Israel and its capital Jerusalem are perennially in the news. Recently, Israel joyously celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War and, after nearly two decades when Jews could not visit their holiest site, the Western Wall, opened the holy places of all three Abrahamic religions to all their worshippers.
Yet again, a campaign promise sensibly to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv has, alas, been postponed, at best. What other capital is there in the world where nations that have full diplomatic relations with the government located there do not have their missions located there?
Long before creation of the Jewish state 69 years ago, Americans had a special interest in that part of the world. A century and a half ago, an 1867 cruise taking what must have been one of the earliest organized parties of American tourists to the Holy Land inspired Mark Twain’s early “The Innocents Abroad,” which remained his bestselling work during his lifetime as well as catapulting the future creator of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn to international fame.
American Interests in the Holy Land: Revealed in Early Photographs from 1840 to 1940, By Lenny Ben-David, a Book ReviewJuly 4, 2017
Originally Published by Jewlicious
Written by Gil Tanenbaum
From former diplomat Lenny Ben-David, “American Interests in the Holy Land” assembles classic photographs dating back 180 years which give us a look at what life was once like in Israel.
Lenny Ben-David, the author of “Myths and Facts,” served as the Deputy Chief of Mission in Israel’s Embassy in Washington, D.C. for three years, and has consulted for foreign governments and corporations. He currently works as Director of Publications at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
This isn’t just another collection of old photographs. It’s a brief history of Israel over a set period of time. And the pictures here give us a wonderful glimpse into what the country was once like.
Just think about where you live, especially if it’s a big city. Take Manhattan for example. Think of its skyline today and just try to imagine how it looked like just 100 years ago. Now try to think of Jerusalem when the first structures were built outside of the Old City walls in the late Nineteenth Century, or even at the time of Israel’s independence. None of the outer neighborhoods existed yet. There were no high rise office buildings or hotels in what became its downtown area.
So if you are familiar with the streets of Jerusalem as they are today, then you will be thrilled to see them as they once were. The best example of this comes at the end of the book: A color photograph of Robert Kennedy standing in the middle of a busy King David Street in April 1948. This picture also graces the book’s back cover.
Kennedy visited the country as a reporter for the now defunct Boston Post. His reports on the situation were critical of the American government for not offering more support for the Jewish community there which was about to establish the Jewish State. Jerusalem was already under siege by Arab armies as the British were rushing to pull out. A last minute diplomatic effort was in the works to scuttle the U.N. partition plan which allowed for the establishment of Israel. America’s Secretary of State at the time, the much revered General George Marshall, was a part of that initiative which fortunately failed.
Reviewed by Dr. Matthew Zizmor, president of the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts
Originally Published in The Jewish Advocate
This biography shows how remarkable it was that the late Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen accomplished so much in so many fields, especially around the founding of the State of Israel.
I was skeptical about Rabbi Cohen’s early accomplishments in Torah, but his learning with his father, Rabbi David Cohen the Nazir, every day for at least two hours made a tremendous impact. After helping to organize the Hasmonean Covenant, he eventually joined the Haganah.
Eye-opening chapters of this biography included, “Under Siege” and “The Battle for Jerusalem,” which gave a first-person account of the War of Independence and the fall of Jerusalem. It is a modern day Kinah, and should be read on Tisha b’Av and Yom Hazikaron. “To Jerusalem” should be read on Yom Yerushalayim. “In Captivity” is interesting because many people do not realize that Jews were captive in Jordan folowing 1948.
If there is one flaw, it is that the book is too short, a mere outline of Rabbi Cohen’s life. The chapter on being the chief rabbi of Haifa, for example, should be longer. During my two decades on the board as as president of the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts, I tried to instill an air of civility between the Orthodox and non-Orthodox world. I wonder how he was able to be a rabbi of all citizens of Haifa, the less religious, liberal, Masorati, secular and Hasidic groups. How did he, and how do we, make all Jews feel included?
Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen: Between War and Peace
Urim Publications, 2017