Rabbi Professor David Golinkin, President of The Schechter Institutes explores four of the basic values found in Parashat Bikkurim.
Dr. David Frankel, discusses a little known version of this same verse that appears in the Jerusalem Talmud. Is it ever permissible to disagree with our leaders or must we always follow their instructions?
The 13th annual conference was held on Thursday, March 14, 2019, with the generous support of Professor Alice Shalvi, former Rector and Acting President of Schechter. Among the speakers were women leading the successful effort to pass a law that incriminates consumers of prostitution. The law was passed at the end of 2018, shortly before the upcoming elections to the Knesset were declared. The new law will come into force within 16 months, together with a rehabilitation program for women involved in prostitution, and will impose fines on consumers. Israel is the eighth country in the world to legislate such a law.
Dr. Ari Ackerman, Outgoing Dean and Senior Lecturer in Jewish Thought at the Schechter Institute, takes us on the path of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook. Rabbi Kook was known for his optimistic, positive attitude towards life. How did he relate to a difficult passage about Amalek in Parashat Beshalach?
Question: If a Jew causes the accidental death of another person, what can he or she do in order to repent for that action?
Responsum: In Genesis, Chapter 4, Cain kills Abel in a fit of jealousy. God punishes him by sending him into exile (v. 12 ff). The punishment of exile was later used by the bible to punish accidental homicide. If Reuven killed Shimon by accident, Reuven had to flee to a city of refuge and stay there until the High Priest died. (1) The main purpose of this exile was not teshuvah or repentance, but to prevent the relatives of Shimon from killing Reuven (Numbers 35: 11-12; Deut. 4:42; Joshua 20:3 ff.).
This Thursday I will be marching in the gay parade in Jerusalem, after marking Tisha B’av (the Ninth of Av) earlier in the week, with the reading of Lamentations and other customs associated with mourning.
What motivated Righteous Gentiles to risk their lives to save Jews from the Nazis? What drives people today to risk their own lives to save others?
Purim is a holiday whose meaning is shrouded in mystery. The only clear element is what we are commanded to do on Purim as set forth at the end of the Scroll of Esther: read the Megilla, hold a festive meal, and give gifts to the poor. This last mitzvah is not an administrative detail of a system of social justice. Yes, the Jewish people are commanded to pay a tax of half a shekel, as we read onShabbat Shekalim, the Shabbat preceding Rosh Chodesh Adar. But gifts to the poor are another matter; giving charity is an expression of the direct, mutual economic responsibility between people.
The problem of parents who have deteriorated mentally is mentioned in Jewish sources as early as the second century BCE, and the specific question raised above has been hotly debated by halakhic authorities for over 800 years.
I wish to first of all thank the Schechter Institute and the Award Committee who chose to award me, along with Eti Ankri, the honor of receiving the Liebhaber Prize, named for Rabbi Marc and Henia Liebhaber z”l, leaders in the North American Jewish community. There are two aspects to a prize – recognition for the past, and expectation of the future. Looking back over the many junctures of my past, I recall an abundance of tolerance as a way of life. Of these, I wish to mention three central influences.