Journal

The Role and Challenges of Minhag in the 21st Century

by David Brofsky The Role and Challenges of Minhag in the 21st Century1 Introduction Throughout the ages, the religious identity and spiritual experiences of a Jewish community were shaped not only by its adherence to halakhic practice, but also by layers of communal and halakhic customs. Individuals, families, communities, and later, entire geographical regions developed all sorts of customs, some ...

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Masorah: A Philosophical User’s Guide

by Alex S. Ozar Masorah: A Philosophical User’s Guide The charge presented to me for this symposium was to discuss the concept of Masorah “from the perspective of philosophy.” At first I was skeptical: Is not the concept an inherently halakhic, historical, and theological one, such that would be more fruitfully engaged through a specifically halakhic, historical, or theological lens? ...

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Symposium on Masorah: Introduction

by R. Gil Student [A condensed version of this introduction appeared in some newspapers this week.] I. The Importance of Masorah The concept of tradition evokes powerful emotions in religious debates. While less orthodox religious streams give tradition a vote, but not a veto, the more conservative segments give it a veto in many circumstances.1 In the latest debates over ...

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Tricking a Cheater

by R. Daniel Mann Question: If someone asks me for an answer during a test, can I tell him the wrong answer? (Response to follow-up question – I prefer not to refuse either to not suffer socially or so the cheater gets what he deserves.) Answer: Cheating on a test is an example of geneivat da’at (deception) (Igrot Moshe, Choshen ...

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In Memory of Rav Lichtenstein

Divrei Hesped in Memory of HaGaon HaRav Aharon Lichtenstein zt’l מו”ר הגאון הצדיק הר”ר אהרן ליכטנשטיין, זצ”ל   On the Occasion of His First Yahrtzeit by R. Michael Taubes It is with a great sense of trepidation and personal inadequacy that one approaches a distinguished ציבור for the purpose of being מספיד one’s Rebbe. In general, it is exceedingly difficult ...

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The Use of Quinoa on Pesach

by R. Asher Bush For the past several years many people have been excited about the possibility of adding a new item–Quinoa–to an otherwise limited Pesach diet. Unlike past years, there are now several brands available under respected kashrus supervision. The question is whether Quinoa is an appropriate food to help fill that dietary gap. Is it Chametz? Clearly Quinoa ...

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The Other 20%

by Aron White The Other 20%: Rethinking Our Relationship With World Jewry The Jewish world in the 21st century has two centres of gravity – Israel and the United States in America. 82% of all the worlds Jews live in these two countries (11.5-12 million between them), and the next largest Jewish population centre, France, has less than 4% of ...

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On the Authorship of the Torah

by Dr. Alan Jotkowitz Benjamin Sommer, Revelation and Authority: Sinai in Jewish Scripture and Tradition, Yale University Press, 2015 The tenets of biblical criticism challenge traditional Jewish beliefs on a number of levels. Central to the documentary hypothesis is the contention that the Torah is composed of a patchwork of ancient texts written by human authors. The critics date the ...

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The Late Ketuba

by R. Daniel Mann Question: A mistake was made in filling out my ketuba and the identical copy for the certifying beit din. We had a spare ketuba but not an additional one to use as a copy. Now, several days after my wedding, can I ask the witnesses to sign a copy with the same information, including the date ...

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