Category: Book Reviews

Studies in Spirituality

STUDIES IN SPIRITUALITY by Rabbi Jonathan SacksBefore reading Studies in Spirituality, a collection of essays on the parsha on themes relating to spirituality written by Rabbi Sacks the year before he died, I was not sure what to expect. Iโ€™ve read every one of Rabbi Sacksโ€™s previous books, but beyond the strange feeling experienced when…

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Layers

๐‹๐€๐˜๐„๐‘๐’: ๐๐„๐‘๐’๐Ž๐๐€๐‹ ๐๐€๐‘๐‘๐€๐“๐ˆ๐•๐„๐’ ๐Ž๐… ๐’๐“๐‘๐”๐†๐†๐‹๐„, ๐‘๐„๐’๐ˆ๐‹๐ˆ๐„๐๐‚๐„ ๐€๐ ๐†๐‘๐Ž๐–๐“๐‡ ๐…๐‘๐Ž๐Œ ๐‰๐„๐–๐ˆ๐’๐‡ ๐–๐Ž๐Œ๐„๐ ๐›๐ฒ ๐’๐ก๐ข๐ซ๐š ๐‹๐š๐ง๐ค๐ข๐ง ๐’๐ก๐ž๐ฉ๐ฌ (๐“๐ก๐ž ๐“๐จ๐›๐ฒ ๐๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ, ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ) Many life journeys and personal stories are recorded in โ€˜Layers: Personal Narratives of Struggle, Resilience and Growth from Jewish Womenโ€™, but in order to explain what this book represents, I want to begin with the last…

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The Magerman Edition of the Koren Tanakh

โ€˜The changing nature of human society demands a fresh Tanakh translation which speaks to each and every one of us while remaining rooted in the eternal essence of the Torah. The Tanakh is a living script, the screenplay of the history of humanity from Creation to the present. Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks ztโ€™l was the…

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What do you really want? by Rabbanit Shayna Goldberg

โ€˜WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT?โ€™ BY RABBANIT SHAYNA GOLDBERGA universal experience of human nature is that we feel a deep sense of connection when we see people like us on TV and in movies, or encounter people like us in magazines or in the books that we read. Moreover, when those people not only look…

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Living in the Presence: A Jewish Mindfulness Guide for Everyday Life

Today I had the wonderful opportunity to talk with Rabbi Dr. Benjy Epstein about his wonderful book โ€˜Living in the Presence: A Jewish Mindfulness Guide for Everyday Lifeโ€™. In our wide-ranging conversation we explored the concept of โ€˜Yishuv Hadaโ€™atโ€™ (Jewish Mindfulness), the importance of living a life that reflects the totality of who we are,…

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The Narrow Halakhic Bridge: A vision of Jewish Law in the Post-Modern Age

Today I had the privilege of interviewing Rav Ronen Neuwirth about his fascinating new book โ€˜The Narrow Halakhic Bridge: A vision of Jewish Law in the Post-Modern Ageโ€™ (which also exists in hebrew as ื’ืฉืจ ื”ื”ืœื›ื”: ืคืกื™ืงืช ื”ืœื›ื” ื‘ื“ื•ืจ ืคื•ืกื˜ืžื•ื“ืจื ื™). In โ€˜The Narrow Halakhic Bridgeโ€™, Rav Ronen provides an easy-to-read yet nuanced presentation about the…

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Sichot al Ahava v’pachad

โ€˜Conversations on Love and Fearโ€™ by Sharon Shalom. (Yediot Acharonot, 2018) Imagine a book, written by a wise, insightful and emotionally intelligent Jewish philosopher with a flair for poetic language, that explores the richness and complexity of Jewish identity, heritage and observance in the modern state of Israel. Imagine that instead of avoiding some of…

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Review Essay: And Beit Hillel Says (Uโ€™Beit Hillel Omrim)

  And Beit Hillel Says (Uโ€™Beit Hillel Omrim):ย Halakhic Rulings of the Rabbis and Rabbaniot of Beit Hillel (Yedioth Ahronoth/Chemed Books, 2018) Introduction December 2018 saw the launch of Uโ€™Beit Hillel Omrim (literally โ€˜And Beit Hillel Saysโ€™), which is a collection of halakhic rulings generated by members of the Beit Hillel organisation. Beit Hillel is an…

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Minchat Asher: Klalei Hamitzvot

MINCHAT ASHER: KLALEI HAMITZVOT by Rabbi Asher Weiss Machon Minchat Asher, Ellul 5778 The study of the Talmud is a magnetizing process that draws a learner into debates of the past while urging them to consider how the laws and values emerging from those debates can be applied in the present and the future. This…

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Jewish guide to practical medical decision making

JEWISH GUIDE TO PRACTICAL MEDICAL DECISION-MAKINGย by Rabbi Jason Weinerย  (Urim, 2017) It takes considerable skill to write a book about modern medicine, and even greater skill to explain how halakha (Jewish law) responds to the dilemmas generated by modern medicine. Still, even those with the requisite knowledge of medicine and Jewish law may struggle to…

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Sefer Nishmat habayit

I. Introduction Over many years I have developed a great passion towards the study of contemporary halakhah – and specifically – towards contemporary Sheโ€™elot Uโ€™Teshuvot (responsa literature). This is due to the fact that while codified halakhah is often recorded by the author โ€˜after examining the halakhic materials from a theoretical point of viewโ€™[1], responsa…

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Sh’ut Yishrei lev

SH’UT YISHREI LEV by HaRav Yonatan (Yoni) Rosensweig Introduction Responsa โ€“ or in hebrew, Sheโ€™elot Uโ€™Teshuvot – are unique texts whose questions, no less than their answers, shine a light on halakhic trends and challenges in the Jewish world. As David Ellenson observes, they are โ€˜the crossroads where text and context meet in the ongoing…

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Faith without fear

FAITH WITHOUT FEAR: UNRESOLVED ISSUES IN MODERN ORTHODOXY by Michael J. Harris (Vallentine Mitchell, 2016) Rabbi Dr Michael Harris, whom I have the privilege of knowing, is a Modern Orthodox โ€˜academically-informed rabbiโ€™ who has recently written a compelling, scholarly, yet lucid presentation exploring some of the most important issues facing Modern Orthodoxy today.In Faith without…

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FALSE FACTS AND TRUE RUMORS

FALSE FACTS AND TRUE RUMORS: LASHON HARA IN CONTEMPORARY CULTURE by Rabbi Daniel Z. Feldman Maggid Books/Michael Scharf Publication Trust of Yeshiva University Press, 2015ย  Very rarely is a book published that addresses an already familiar subject and revolutionises the way we understand it. Yet this is precisely what Rabbi Daniel Feldman has done in…

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Aggadah: Sages, stories & secrets

AGGADAH: SAGES, STORIES & SECRETS There are very few books that I wish to re-read the moment I finish them, but Rabbi Immanuel Bernsteinโ€™s โ€˜Aggadah: Sages, Stories & Secretsโ€™, published by Mosaica Press, ย is one of them. Like Aggadah itself, this beautifully designed book is multileveled; yet in contrast to the cryptic style of Aggadah,…

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