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Disappointed in the Appointed: Grasping How Orthodox Leaders Can Lead Unorthodox Lives

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Another scandal. What does that say about Orthodoxy? Rabbis? Me?

What a Shame

A brilliant talmid chacham (Torah scholar), who taught Torah to thousands both in person and through shiurim (classes) on several websites, was recently discovered to have violated several extremely serious Torah, Rabbinic and ethical prohibitions...

Reacting to Reactions

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“For the righteous may fall repeatedly but they arise again.” [Proverbs 24:16]

Undoubtedly, one of the more challenging biblical episodes I have had to teach middle-school students over the past 40 years is that of King David and Bat-Sheva. Clearly, every Tanach teacher of pre-teens who faces this challenge must determine how best to present this story in an age-appropriate fashion. But I have also found it necessary to prepare for the students’ reaction to the behavior of their righteous hero, King David. Reactions that, I learned, could often be quite emotional and agitated.

It was therefore my practice to introduce the entire episode with the aforementioned quotation from the...

Hallel—‘Praise’ Becomes My Call for Action

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At around 4:45 a.m. I jolted awake, in an unfamiliar bed, a moaning tune filtering in through the window of my bedroom. The muezzin, the Muslim call to prayer, sounded five times a day, interrupting my sleep and studies at Nishmat, in Jerusalem, where I studied from 2014 to 2015. It soon faded into the background, yet remained a constant reminder of the proximity of the Arabs in Beit Tsafafa, and the safety precautions needed.

Never go alone when it starts getting dark, not even during the day if you can avoid it. Always make sure someone knows where you are going.

These were messages that I carried everywhere I traveled in Israel. Over the course of the year, we received numerous...

To Brexit and Beyond?

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Back in the 1770s, Great Britain dominated the American conversation. After all, the colonies were trying to break free of their mother country and fight for their independence! Funnily enough, now in 2016, Great Britain is back in the American public eye again, and it has to do with independence—but in a much different sense from the United States breaking ties with King George.

By now you’ve likely heard about “Brexit” (“British Exit”)—the United Kingdom’s referendum to exit the European Union. There’s been all sorts of stories coming out about how the vote was tied to anti-immigration sentiment, how some who voted to leave are getting cold feet, and how the vote may...

Rabbi Riskin Urges Israelis: End the ‘War’ on Reform Jews

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Chief Rabbi of Efrat says Israelis have a misperception of Reform, Conservative Jews; ‘They’re our partners, not our enemies.’

As the controversy over the so-called “Mikveh Law” rages on, prominent Modern Orthodox Rabbi Shlomo Riskin has weighed in, urging Israelis not to view non-Orthodox Jews—such as the Reform and Conservative movements—as their enemies.

Instead of attempting to legislate against them, the Orthodox establishment needs to find a way to work with them, despite their seemingly unbridgeable theological differences. Whereas in the United States the vast majority of Jews do not align with Orthodox Judaism, and the single largest denomination is Reform, in...
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