In response to the devastation wreaked on the Philippines by Typhoon Haiyan, which hit land on Nov. 8, killing thousands and obliterating whole towns and villages, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles has set up the Philippines Typhoon Relief Fund.
'There are no villains in this story.” Those were the calming words of Natan Sharansky, renowned human rights champion and Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel.
Trust lies at the center of the business of kosher food, and earlier this week, in what is certainly the biggest kosher scandal to hit Los Angeles in 20 years, the trust many kosher consumers placed in Doheny Glatt Kosher Meats, a market on Pico Boulevard in the heart of L.A.’s most prominent Orthodox neighborhood, was shattered.
As details of the special operation that took out Osama bin Laden continue to unfold, rabbis in Los Angeles are pulling from biblical verses, Jewish traditions and their own gut reactions to help formulate an appropriate Jewish response to the news. Early Monday morning, Rabbi David Wolpe posted this on Facebook:
Where do I, an Orthodox teen, fall in this heated debate? Simply, if we put Jerusalem on the negotiating table it will be clear that the Jewish people have a right to the land. Sometimes I ask myself if we actually occupy Jerusalem as it is -- when the entire world refuses to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital -- do we ideally occupy it? Are we actually secure in our possession of Jerusalem when our only diplomatic claim to it is our emotional connection? The time is now to start talking about a divided Jerusalem so that Israel can logically claim ownership. The time is now to establish Jerusalem on both ethically and rationally sound grounds, obliterating our long-standing emotional futility.
Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky stirred controversy with remarks on Jerusalem in the Jewish Journal. This week his congregation hosted the "Israel in Focus Conference" at B'nai David-Judea, where the situation in Israel was discussed.
Rabbi Kanefsky is as passionate a Jew and lover of Israel as I've ever met. By lighting up a firestorm of passion in other Jews, he reminded me why I so passionately love my people, even -- and sometimes especially -- when I disagree with them.
Rabbi Dov Fischer responds to Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky's invitation to have a conversation about Jerusalem.
Letters to the Editor.
A group of prominent rabbis has called upon Israeli soldiers to refuse orders to evacuate Jews from Gaza. If the Gaza disengagement plan goes through the Knesset, many soldiers will face a bewildering dilemma, as they must choose between the orders of their commanding officers and the orders of their religious authorities.
What did Moshe want? When it all came down to it, after Moshe accepted that he wouldn't be leading Israel into the land, what did he request of God? Not surprisingly, he asked nothing for himself, focusing instead on the people who would need to go on without him. As we read this week, "Lord of the spirit of all flesh, appoint, I pray thee, a man to lead the congregation who will go out before them and who will come in before them, who will lead them out and who will bring them in."
In the parsha four weeks ago, Shimon and Levi, sons of Jacob, got the last word. But on his deathbed in this week's parsha, Jacob has one final opportunity to deliver his rejoinder.
Want to be a partner in redemption? Then don't overlook a surprising message in this week's parsha.
The Torah reading for the first day of Rosh Hashana always strikesme as odd. For starters, the section focuses primarily on Hagar and Ishmael,characters that are ultimately marginal in Jewish historical terms. On topof that, the story that the section deals with is arguably the leastflattering episode in the lives of our forefather and foremother, Abrahamand Sara. It is the story of their expelling Hagar and Ishmael from theirhome to face a highly uncertain future in the wilderness. Why did our sagesselect this story to be read on this day?
These are the weeks that we read of our heroes. The book of Genesis tells the stories of the faith and tenacity of the fathers and mothers of our nation for whom every day was another stride in the uncharted waters of living in covenant with God. It was their passionate determination to keep the vision of a righteous and holy people alive that ultimately produced the Jewish people. But it wasn't always easy.
So have you heard the one about the two rabbis on a boat? It's actually a story told by the Talmud in its discussion of the laws of the sukkah. It seems that Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Gamliel were on a boat during the days leading up to the holiday of Sukkot, and it became clear that they were not going to make it to land in time for the beginning of the festival. Rabbi Akiva sprung into action, pressing the members of the crew for a bit of lumber, some nails, and whatever other materials might be employed, to assemble a sukkah just large enough for himself and for his colleague.
Can you name the sons of Moses? You're probably in good company if you can't. The fact of the matter is that other than their names, the Torah tells us virtually nothing about them. Their deeds and destiny are unknown.
Rabbi Safra roasted the meat. Raba salted the fish.
According to the Talmud, this is what these two great sages did every Friday afternoon, in preparation for Shabbat. The Talmud regards this information as noteworthy because, although both sages certainly had others in their households who could have done this work, they insisted on doing it themselves. "It is greater to do the mitzvah with one's own hands than to delegate it to others" was the motto by which Rabbi Safra and Raba lived. And they apparently applied this motto without discrimination. It pertained to messy or smelly mitzvot just as it did to mitzvot that did not get one's hands and clothing dirty. A mitzvah is a mitzvah.
"Once a person has died, what difference would it make to him if someone else were to live in his house, or harvest his grapes, or even marry his betrothed?"