Conversion: The Need for Orthodox Leadership

Shaking hands

In every generation throughout Jewish history there have been people who desired to enter into the Covenant of Israel and join their fate with the fate of the Jewish people. The earliest examples we have of such people are from the Tanach. The story of Ruth and her journey to the People of Israel became the paradigmatic story of conversion for the early rabbis1. Before Ruth rabbinic tradition speaks of Abraham as the first convert2 or of all of the Jewish people standing at Sinai as all … [Read more...]

Towards a Sustainable Rabbinic Community

Rabbis Arguing

We live in a drastically different world than people even a generation before us did. The modes of communication open to us allow for¬†instantaneous¬†communication between people around the globe. People used to need to wait for the newspaper the next morning to find out what happened somewhere else, but now, all one needs to do is point their web browser to the right address and discover live feeds of current events in every part of our world. Furthermore, this feed is not one directional any l … [Read more...]

The Rutgers Webcam Tragedy and The Right to Privacy

In the tragic story of the suicide of Tyler Clementi, the former Rutgers student, whose privacy was violated by his roommate, Dharun Ravi1, the need to emphasize the right to privacy becomes ever more pronounced. In a world where leaders of major corporations and trendsetters declare that "privacy is no longer a social norm,2" it is incumbent upon the voice of our religious and ethical traditions to re-assert the inherent dignity of each individual person.Indeed, privacy has been a hot … [Read more...]

Torah Learning as the Foundation of Community

It was a little over a year ago that I wrote an article for the religion magazine First Things in which I argued that the foundation for building a large umbrella inclusive community cannot rest on shared prayer alone. I wrote: "Perhaps we require a different paradigm for Jewish inclusiveness. For a generation we have relied on shared ritual. But ritual runs directly into contentious issues such as gender separation, and leads to the stark contrast of the highest or lowest common denominator. … [Read more...]


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