Issue 8.2: Judaism and Other Faiths

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has given us the Torah of truth, planting everlasting life in our midst. Blessed are You, Giver of the Torah. -Blessing after Torah Reading, ‘The Koren Siddur’...  Read more →

Download the latest issue here.

Latest Articles

Kedushat Beit Midrash and Beit Keneset: An Enlightening Comparison

When asked to picture a Jewish study hall in your mind’s eye, what mental images arise? Do you imagine a soaring edifice of majestic beauty? Is its interior a breathtaking and brilliant room with gilded walls of silver and gold? Or perhaps you are perceiving a more humble structure composed ... Read more →

Reflections on Havruta Learning

When[i] one walks into a beit midrash, s/he is greeted by the thunderous and discordant sound of countless pairs of people fiercely arguing with one another, each offering up their own idea for how to best decode the perplexing, and often-times daunting, ancient text that sits opened before ... Read more →

Editor’s Thoughts: Facing the End: Personal Closure and the Universal Perspective

We have commenced! Well, some of us have anyways. The term ‘commencement’ is, at face value, counter-intuitive. To commence is to begin something new. It is the start of some fresh undertaking. In truth we have not commenced, but completed a process. One which began years ago upon admission ... Read more →

“And Isaac Brought Rebecca into the Tent”: A Patriarch’s Plea for Privacy

When the Midianite prophet Balaam attempts to curse the Israelites in the wilderness, Hashem frustrates his plans so that blessings issue forth instead. The elevated language and vague eschatological references which characterize these blessings render them notoriously difficult to decipher. ... Read more →

Caught Between Two Worlds: A Study of the Intellectual Spiritual Biography of Rav Kook

Reviewed Book: Yehuda Mirsky, Rav Kook: Mystic in a Time of Revolution (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2014)   Since his death in 1935, the works of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook have had a major impact upon intellectual and sociopolitical life in Israel. The cryptic and poetic Hebrew ... Read more →

Mamzerim: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

In 1912, Shai Agnon, the famous Israeli Nobel laureate in literature, wrote his first short novel “And the Crooked Shall Be Made Straight”. In this novella, Agnon writes of a man known as Menashe, who becomes reduced to poverty after his livelihood is taken away from him. Facing no other ... Read more →

Editor’s Thoughts: “Every Jewish Boy Deserves a Good Egyptian Education”

The first documented Jewish child to grapple with the nature of freedom did not do so through the luxuries of the “question-and-answer” style that typify the Seder night.  The child, Moshe, is born into a world of slavery, cast away by his parents at a young age, and raised in a ... Read more →

Intermarriage in Second Temple Exilic Biblical Literature

Contemporary American Jews often hear of an “intermarriage crisis,” with reportedly half of Jews marrying outside of their faith. [i] [ii] [iii] The precedent for the Jewish reaction to this phenomenon is rooted in biblical scripture. Yet, even in the Bible, the reaction to intermarriage ... Read more →

The Meaning of “Next Year in Jerusalem”

Jews of all backgrounds are familiar with the phrase “le-shanah ha-ba’ah bi-Yerushalayim,” “Next Year in Jerusalem.”[i]  It makes two appearances annually in Jewish liturgy: at the conclusion of the Passover Seder and at the conclusion of the Ne’ilah service of Yom Kippur.  ... Read more →

The Philology of Freedom: A Diachronic Analysis of Herut and Hofshiut

Many speak of Pesach as the festival of freedom, but the idea of “freedom” is rather abstract. Like “love,” “happiness” and “goodness,” “freedom” is an axiologically-loaded word whose import we intuitively apprehend yet whose precise meaning remains deceptively difficult to ... Read more →

Biblical Leadership Lessons from Dr. Erica Brown

Reviewed Book: Dr. Erica Brown, Leadership in the Wilderness: Authority and Anarchy in the Book of Numbers  (Jerusalem, Israel: Maggid Books, 2013)   Leadership. Unfortunately, there currently seems to be a lack of this most valuable trait in the Jewish community and the world at large. ... Read more →

Charitable Giving and Shemittat Kesafim: Can They Coexist?

The institution of shemittah, in contrast with the way it has in fact been applied is, to say the least, unusual. Comprising two basic elements—shemittat karka, an obligation to let the land lay fallow, and shemittat kesafim, the requirement to forgive most owed debts—to be put in effect ... Read more →

How Halakhah Solves the Agunah Crisis

On a chilly October evening we rallied outside the home of Albert Srour yelling, “Albert Srour: give your wife a get!” and “Albert Srour: stop the abuse!” ORA (The Organization for the Resolution of Agunot) organized the rally in hopes that that our hollering (or the neighbor’s ... Read more →

A World Burning With Divinity: An Interview with Mrs. Sherri Mandell

Sherri Mandell is the author of the book The Blessing of a Broken Heart and co-director of the Koby Mandell foundation, which supports families bereaved through terror and other tragedies. She undertook both of these endeavors after the tragic murder of her son Koby and his friend Yosef Ishran ... Read more →