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Tag: Shmuly Yanklowitz

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  • Reclaiming the Morality of Our Torah: A Response to Rabbi Hershel Schachter

    By Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

    March 20, 2013 | 1:46 pm

    Recently, a scandal emerged within the Orthodox community when Rabbi Hershel Schachter, a halakhic leader and member of the faculty of Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), made an overtly racist comment that was recorded at a London conference....

  • Feeding Our Workers

    By Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

    March 19, 2013 | 1:24 pm

    I recall my experiences as a teenager working waiting tables in various restaurants. There was a high-paced energy that was difficult to maintain, but the greatest challenge was constantly being hungry while serving others food. Today, many have it much worse than anything I...

  • Special Report from Washington DC: This Year, AIPAC Should Support the Syrian Rebels

    By Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

    March 3, 2013 | 1:37 pm

    What would you do if I told you Hezbullah was multiplying its strength? If international jihadists from across the world were setting up camp on Israel's border? This is not hypothetical. These situations--both of them--are taking place in Syria right now, as the beleaguered...

  • Determinism & Freedom: Is One Punished for the Mistakes of One’s Parents

    By Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

    March 3, 2013 | 8:50 am

    Scholars have noted for centuries an apparent biblical contradiction about whether children are punished for the wrongdoing of their parents. On the one hand, Deuteronomy 24:16 says, “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers;...

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  • Steipler Rav & Kapishnitzer Rebbe - Loving Family through Acts of Kindness

    By Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

    February 28, 2013 | 5:39 pm

    In the Jewish tradition, love is considered to be more of an action than an emotion. Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik wrote:


    The Bible spoke of the commandment to love one’s neighbor (Leviticus 19:18). However, in Talmudic literature, emphasis was placed not only upon...

  • A Reflection on Awakening & Encountering

    By Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

    February 25, 2013 | 10:37 am

    The Jewish tradition seeks to startle us, to challenge our routine and our dogmas. Slavoj Zizek, the Slovene philosopher and social critique writes poignantly about this point.

    “There is an overwhelming argument for the intimate link between Judaism and psychoanalysis: in both...

  • How Do We Relate to Morally Difficult Texts in the Jewish Tradition?

    By Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

    February 24, 2013 | 11:16 am

    We have all become familiar with the tactics of bigots who distort our religious beliefs or make up horrible lies to advance their hatred. Fortunately, most people in our pluralistic society recognize and reject these tactics.

    But how would we respond to a skeptic who points to...

  • Rousseau, Civilized Man and Chametz in the Heart!

    By Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

    February 23, 2013 | 10:33 pm

    It is generally viewed as a success of the Enlightenment that we have cast off what philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau called “homme sauvage” (the natural, free, wild man) and built up the “homme civilize” (the civilized, enlightened, modern man). As Rousseau, who paradoxically...

  • Is Haman alive today? Purim & Happiness!

    By Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

    February 22, 2013 | 11:02 am

    The Jewish holiday of Purim, which begins tonight, is a joyous time of celebration. The story of the Book of Esther is familiar: In the 4th century BCE, the Persian King Ahasuerus fell under the influence of his evil prime minister Haman, who resented the Jews who refused to bow...

  • Combatting Sloth!

    By Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

    February 21, 2013 | 3:06 pm

    Classically, the vice of sloth (laziness) had two components:

    1. acedia – a lack of caring or indifference
    2. tristtitia – sadness, sorrow, or despair   

    I would argue that the negative aspect of individualism that exists today in 21st century is furthered by acedia. The...

  • Activisms of Love and Hate

    By Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

    February 20, 2013 | 9:35 pm

    Should we fight for justice with hearts full of love or hearts full of anger? Which is more rewarding? Which is more productive? Which must we cultivate as religious activists?

    Rav Soloveitchik argued (A Theory of Emotions, 183):

    Of course, love is a great and noble emotion,...

  • A Reflection on the Pursuit of G-d in Justice

    By Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

    February 12, 2013 | 5:45 pm

    “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with beings divine and human and have prevailed,” (Bereshit 32:29). Yaakov Avinu is blessed with a new name only once he has struggled both with G-d and humanity together. The Jewish people are named Israel only...

  • A Reflection on Messianic Yearning

    By Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

    February 12, 2013 | 9:29 am

    Religious Jews are taught at a young age to yearn for the geulah (redemption). With sophistication, the student comes to learn that messianism is not just about seeking an end but is also a worldview, a process of living with a vision and with a dream. What is one to do if they...

  • A Reflection on Humility

    By Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

    February 10, 2013 | 9:06 pm

    Anivut (humility) has a very special priority in Jewish positive self-development. Rav Kook wrote (The Moral Principles, page 174) that “Humility is associated with spiritual perfection. When humility effects depression it is defective, when it is genuine it inspires joy, courage,...

  • A Reflection on Responsibility

    By Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

    February 10, 2013 | 6:36 pm

    Responsibility is one of the most important midot (character traits) to cultivate in one’s soul. Acharayut (responsibility in Hebrew) comes from the root “acher” (other). To take responsibility means to cultivate the “ability” for response” to an “other.” This responsibility to...

  • Kansas City synagogue donates Torah scroll to synagogue hurt by Sandy

    November 27, 2012 | 9:43 am

    Members of a Kansas City synagogue have come to the aid of Jewish Hurricane Sandy victims in Long Island by donating a Torah scroll to a synagogue that lost four.

    Kehilath Israel Synagogue, an Orthodox synagogue in Overland Park, Kan., which has more than 15 Torah scrolls, is...

  • Rubashkin Revenge: Ethical Certificates at Center of Dispute

    By Jonah Lowenfeld

    July 25, 2012 | 4:24 pm

    About eight months ago, when Katsuji Tanabe agreed to display the Tav HaYosher certificate in the window of his one-year-old restaurant on Pico Boulevard, the head chef and owner of Mexikosher knew that the “ethical seal,” issued by the Modern Orthodox social justice organization...

  • The Revolutions of Chabad and AJWS!

    by Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

    April 4, 2012 | 6:06 pm

    This is the story of two Jewish organizations. Neither receives the proper credit they deserve for the global diaspora revolutions they are inspiring.

    Chabad-Lubavitch is politically right-wing, religiously ultra-Orthodox, and prizes Jewish ritual above all else, working to raise...

  • Rabbi David Wolpe tops Newsweek’s L.A.-heavy list of ‘most influential’ rabbis

    By Jonah Lowenfeld

    April 2, 2012 | 4:31 pm

    Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple is officially the top rabbi in America, according to Newsweek and the Daily Beast.

    The sixth annual installment of the “Top 50 Rabbis” list, published on April 2, included rabbis who head religious movements, rabbis who lead political and...

  • AMIA and Minority Insecurity: How Do We Attack Corruption?

    by Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

    March 29, 2012 | 4:43 pm

    A few days ago, I took my students to visit AMIA, the Jewish community center of Buenos Aires, Argentina, that was bombed in 1994, leaving 85 killed and hundreds injured. It was heart-wrenching to hear the personal stories only a few days after the attack at the school in Toulouse.

    ...
  • Living and Leading with Soul

    by Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

    March 27, 2012 | 4:56 pm

    Since the beginning of time, humans have sought to discover the essence and location of the soul, the Divine essence constitutive of our humanity. Some scientists today claim that le siege de l’ame (the seat of the soul) is in the temporal lobe of the human brain (“the God spot”),...

  • The Transformative Power of Ritual

    by Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

    March 26, 2012 | 12:59 pm

    I wake up to an inbox full of dozens of emails, global news demanding reaction, and a daily agenda triple the size of what will prove achievable. How am I to pause to turn inward? When I put on my tefillin each morning, I consider what I need to become liberated from in order to...

  • Zionism: The great Jewish ethical project

    by Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

    February 16, 2012 | 6:13 pm

    I recall the time when, living in Israel, I stood with more than 100,000 Israelis as a link in a human chain. Our purpose that day in the desert was to spread a message of hope, peace, and solidarity. For me and my Jewish identity, this event was particularly formative. For too long,...

  • The rabbi and his ‘calling’

    By Jonah Lowenfeld

    December 15, 2010 | 9:56 am

    In the fall of 2007, then-rabbinical student Shmuly Yanklowitz traveled with a few of his colleagues from the Modern Orthodox Yeshivat Chovevei Torah in New York to San Diego. Wildfires had just burned through 500,000 acres and destroyed more than 1,500 homes. “I didn’t know what...