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Tag: Jewish Law

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  • UC Berkeley institute for Jewish law gets $2.85 million grant

    September 17, 2013 | 10:08 am

    University of California, Berkeley institute focused on Jewish law and Israel received a $2.85 million grant from four Bay Area Jewish foundations.

    The grant for the Institute for Jewish Law and Israeli Law, Economy and Society will be distributed over the next three to five...

  • Women of the Word

    By Rabbi Daniel Bouskila

    June 27, 2013 | 8:17 am

    On a recent trip to New York, I spent Shabbat morning at The Jewish Center in Manhattan, a vibrant Modern Orthodox community. As services came to a close, the 500 congregants did not make the typical mad rush for the door. Instead, everyone remained seated, anxiously waiting to...

  • Are Taxes Fair, Good, or Jewish? A Defense of the Progressive Taxation

    by Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

    March 5, 2012 | 10:48 am

    For several months, the whole nation has been intensely debating what constitutes a fair system of taxation. It is very peculiar that there are American Jews today who adhere to the Tea Party mantra that all government is bad, that taxes should always be reduced, and that a flat tax...

  • Guest Post by Rabbi Seth Winberg Defending Rabbi Dov Linzer’s New York Times Op Ed

    by Rabbi Seth Winberg

    February 13, 2012 | 8:41 pm

    Note from Asher Lopatin: Some of the arguments in this article parallel my own arguments challenging Rabbi Shaul Magid’s ideas regarding specific laws in the Jewish tradition.

    Guest post from Seth Winberg who received rabbinic ordination at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, and an M.A. from...

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  • Expert in Jewish law, women’s health offers intimate help

    By Julie Gruenbaum Fax

    November 2, 2011 | 1:30 pm

    Recently, a young woman who had suffered a miscarriage called Shoshana Samuels, who is a yoetzet halacha, a trained adviser in the Jewish laws of family purity. Samuels was able to answer the woman’s halachic (Jewish legal) questions about the bleeding following a miscarriage, but...

  • Personalize your ketubah without breaking the law

    By Michele Alperin

    October 10, 2008 | 4:25 pm

    For many brides and grooms, the ketubah signing that precedes the veiled walk down the aisle has a bit of mystery about it. They may not be sure exactly what the ancient Aramaic text says, but the signing ceremony sets just the right air of solemnity as a prelude to the veiled walk...
  • To tell the truth

    By Rabbi Dov Fischer

    April 10, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    The traditional English translation for the disease tzora'at that is eponymous with this week's Torah portion, Metzora, is "leprosy."

    However, as our commentators explain, biblical leprosy was something very different from the bacterial leprosy of modern times that is attributed to...

  • New haggadahs bring fresh approaches to celebration

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    April 10, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    On Passover, teachers become students and students take on the role of teachers; old and young teach each other.

    "The learning is thoroughly democratic, as befits the experience of freedom," Neil Gillman writes in "The Haggadah Is a Textbook," an essay in "My People's Passover...

  • Obligation or choice?

    By Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky

    February 7, 2008 | 7:00 pm

    Were contributions toward the building of the Tabernacle voluntary or compulsory? Those of us who have stood before our communities during a building campaign have always tended to favor the latter option, as this makes for a more effective appeal. But the classical commentaries on...
  • Law and Order

    By Rabbi Daniel Bouskila

    January 31, 2008 | 7:00 pm

    In his magnum opus on the history and development of Jewish civil law, "Ha-Mishpat Ha-Ivri" ("Jewish Law"), Israeli Supreme Court Justice Menachem Elon remarks that basing a viable modern legal system on Jewish Law is no easy task -- "it calls for great intellectual effort,...
  • The Spinka money trail—and the informant who brought them down

    By Amy Klein

    January 10, 2008 | 7:00 pm

    The first snow flutters hesitantly in Brooklyn. Men wearing fur streimel hats and women wearing sheitls walk briskly past the corner of 15th Avenue and 58th Street in Boro Park as if nothing extraordinary has happened here.

    And why not? The kosher shops of this self-contained...

  • Key questions can answer donation motivations

    By Amy Hirshberg Lederman

    December 6, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    I opened my mailbox to find several letters, a few bills and a host of requests for donations from various organizations that I have supported over the years. Because I am a stickler for organization, I sort the letters, place the bills in a folder marked "Look at me soon!" and the...
  • Right or Righteous?

    By Rabbi Debra Orenstein

    November 29, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    Have you ever dealt with someone who insisted s/he was right -- even smugly so -- while actually being objectively, measurably and completely wrong?

    Now, let me ask a tougher question: Have you ever been that person? If so, you are in good -- and plentiful -- company.

    In this...

  • Come, let us reason

    By Rob Eshman

    November 15, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    The Writers Strike is a Jewish issue.

    How do I know that? Because everyone is saying it's not. The writers who are demanding a larger share of DVD rights and residuals for their work and the producers who refuse to give it to them both say, repeatedly, that despite the fact that so...

  • Briefs: Chabad launches Israel education program, Shoah indexer to speak, Halachah in the age of tes

    October 25, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Chabad Program

    In an effort to create greater attachment between American Jews and the Jewish state, Chabad next week will begin teaching a course called "The Land and the Spirit: Why We All Care About Israel."

    The program, free except for the cost of a textbook, will be open to the...

  • Crocs rule as Yom Kippur shoe

    October 4, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Like many High Holy Days worshipers, Andrew Steinerman had traditionally dealt with the Yom Kippur prohibition on wearing leather footwear by turning to Converse's classic Chuck Taylor high-top canvas basketball shoe.

    Not anymore. This year the prominent Wall Street analyst sported a...

  • Being Our Own Gatekeepers

    By Rabbi Dan Shevitz

    August 16, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    "Judges and officers shall you place at all your gates."

    Thus begins our parsha, which is one of the richest in rulings, teachings and commandments, and which is therefore concerned about enforcement. Rashi teaches us the difference between the two functionaries: Judges decide...

  • Who pays for what at today’s Jewish weddings?

    By Jane Ulman

    August 9, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Forget the Bible, the Talmud or even the Code of Jewish Law. When it comes to figuring out who pays for what at a contemporary Jewish wedding, today's families are more apt to consult Modern Bride or TheKnot.com.

    And for those looking to tackle costs according to tradition? Well,...

  • An inadvertent gift

    By Susan Freudenheim

    April 26, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Maya Nahor learned she wasn't Jewish from an Israeli bureaucrat.

    Three years later, as she tells the story, she still cries.

    She was 19 years old and had just arrived in Tel Aviv from Spain, having left her family behind for the first time. She was alone in a country that she'd...
  • Battle of the sexes reaches Talmudic teachings—why can’t girls learn Gemara?

    By Amy Klein

    October 26, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    When Sharon Stein Merkin attended a Modern Orthodox religious day school in Los Angeles, she didn't learn Mishna or Gemara, the Oral law, because her school, like most in the 1980s and '90s, didn't teach women Talmud.

    But it was only when she attended seminary in Israel after...

  • Conservative Jews Gather at Crossroads

    By Sue Fishkoff

    December 1, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    How should Conservative Judaism cope with dwindling membership, growing intermarriage rates and society's increasing religious and political polarity, while remaining true to its base in halachah (Jewish law)?

    Those are some of the vexing questions the United Synagogue of...

  • The Agunah: A Modern-Day Nightmare

    By Alexandra Leichter

    March 17, 2005 | 7:00 pm

     

    A couple of years ago I received two back-to-back phone calls in my office: The first, from a 21-year-old ultra-Orthodox woman who had escaped her physically abusive 6-month long marriage, only to find herself trapped two years later because her husband refuses to give her a Jewish...

  • A Night at Cafe Hillel

    By Matthew Rosenbaum

    September 30, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Mangled metal and scattered limbs have a way of changing one's perspective.

    On a warm night in Jerusa-lem, my friends and I sat at Cafe Hillel on Emek Refaim Street, sipping coffee and beer, enjoying the glorious freedom of the Israeli drinking age of 18. We Americans were happy to...

  • Healing the Spirit, the Torah Way

    By Gaby Wenig

    February 5, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    Hinda Leah Scharfstein sees the Torah as more than just the original source of halachah, Jewish law, and the earliest telling of our nation's birth.

    "The Torah takes a holistic look at the individual, and it does tend to have a sort of healing effect on people," said Scharfstein, the...

  • Opinions Conflict on Ending Life Support

    By Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff

    November 6, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    The Florida case of a woman on life support for 13 years has put issues of how we die and when and how doctors and others should intervene on the front page. Whatever the courts say about that case, however, will only apply to federal and Florida law.

    What would Jewish law say about...

  • New Mikvah Ain’t Your Bubbes Bath

    By Lisa Keys

    January 16, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Some say Fanit Panofsky was destined to build a mikvah. In her native Morocco, her great-grandmother operated a mikvah. So, too, did her grandmother.

    So it came as no surprise to Panofsky's friends and family when she opened a mikvah in a Fort Lauderdale suburb, her hometown. But,...

  • Gay Halacha

    By David Bianco

    January 16, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Later this year, the Conservative movement's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards will most likely reconsider the subject of homosexuality. As in the past, the extremes in these discussions are not listening to each other, and there's been no mention of an obvious problem with the...

  • The Liebermans’ Tasty New Year

    By Beverly Levitt

    August 22, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    This year, 5763, Rosh Hashana falls on Shabbat, the weekly observance that Sen. Joseph Lieberman calls "a sanctuary to put the outside world on hold and concentrate on what's really important -- your faith and your family." And although Lieberman, who was the Democratic candidate...

  • The ‘Contemporary’ Bar Mitzvah

    By Jane Ulman

    August 8, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    "No, Jeremy, you cannot wear 'liberty spikes' to your bar mitzvah party," I say, referring to the hair-style that transforms my son's head into the Statue of Liberty's crown.

    "Mom, you don't understand," he says. "Even when I'm 50, I'll be spiking my hair."

    Oh, to be adolescent...

  • Can We Find the Golden Mean?

    By David N. Myers

    May 17, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    In the opening book of his monumental code of Jewish law, Maimonides declared, "We are bidden to walk in the middle paths which are the right and proper ways...." The great medieval sage was articulating the golden mean, the principle that we should avoid extreme behavior, ethical or...

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