Sichot al Ahava v’pachad

(‘Conversations on Love and Fear’) 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…

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Faith and freedom Haggadah

FAITH AND FREEDOM PASSOVER HAGGADAH with commentary from the writings of Rabbi Eliezer Berkovits, compiled and edited by Reuven Mohl. (Urim Publications, 2019) A few weeks ago I received a…

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A Theology of Holiness

‘A Theology of Holiness’ by Alec Goldstein, Kodesh Press 2018 The Jewish people are called upon to be a holy people and to perform holy acts, including specific rituals on…

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Review Essay: And Beit Hillel Says (U’Beit Hillel Omrim)

And Beit Hillel Says (U’Beit Hillel Omrim): Halakhic Rulings of the Rabbis and Rabbaniot of Beit Hillel (Yedioth Ahronoth/Chemed Books, 2018) Introduction December 2018 saw the launch of U’Beit Hillel Omrim…

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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…

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Was Yosef on the spectrum?

WAS YOSEF ON THE SPECTRUM? Understanding Joseph through Torah, Midrash and Classical Jewish Sources by Samuel J. Levine (Urim 2019). In general, I am not drawn to Torah commentaries that…

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Airport Lights

By Yaacov David Shulman CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2017 126 pages (nb. This review was featured in Jewish Action Fall 2018 and can be read here). Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook…

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Jewish guide to practical medical decision making

JEWISH GUIDE TO PRACTICAL MEDICAL DECISION-MAKING by Rabbi Jason Weiner  (Urim, 2017) It takes considerable skill to write a book about modern medicine, and even greater skill to explain how halakha…

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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 She’elot U’Teshuvot (responsa literature). This is due…

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Sh’ut Yishrei lev

SH'UT YISHREI LEV by HaRav Yonatan (Yoni) Rosensweig Introduction Responsa – or in hebrew, She’elot U’Teshuvot - are unique texts whose questions, no less than their answers, shine a light…

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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…

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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, 2015  Very rarely is a book…

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Michtav Shlomo: Hilchot Geirim Hamevuar

MICHTAV SHLOMO: HILCHOT GEIRIM HAMEVUAR by Rabbi Shlomo Krispin Or Etzion, 2015 Since the establishment of the State of Israel, there has been a steady influx of Jews from the…

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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 Bernstein’s ‘Aggadah: Sages, Stories & Secrets’, published…

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Conversion, intermarriage and Jewish identity

In March 2012, seventy-seven leading scholars gathered to discuss the topic of “Conversion, Intermarriage, and Jewish Identity”, and earlier this year, fifteen of the papers delivered at that conference were…

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Changing the immutable

CHANGING THE IMMUTABLE: HOW ORTHODOX JUDAISM REWRITES ITS HISTORY by Marc B. Shapiro In this long-awaiting book, Marc Shapiro offers hundreds of examples where students, family members or printers have…

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Mesilot bilvavam

MESILOT BILVAVAM BY RABBI NAHUM RABINOVITCH Earlier this year Rabbi Nahum Eliezer Rabinovitch, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Birkat Moshe, published ‘Mesilot Bilvavam’ (literally, ‘pathways [to God] in their hearts’), whose…

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Rabbinic authority vol. 2

RABBINIC AUTHORITY: THE VISION AND THE REALITY – Beit Din Decisions in English (Vol. 2) by Rabbi A. Yehuda (Ronnie) Warburg (Urim Publications, 2016) The process of interpreting Jewish legal…

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Take your soul to work

TAKE YOUR SOUL TO WORK: 365 MEDITATIONS ON EVERY DAY LEADERSHIP by Erica Brown (Simon & Schuster, 2015) According to Dr. Erica Brown, ‘when you lead from the inside out,…

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Seeking his presence

SEEKING HIS PRESENCE: CONVERSATIONS WITH RABBI AHARON LICHTENSTEIN by Haim Sabato Yedioth Ahronoth/Chemed Books, 2016 In August 2011, Yedioth Ahronoth/Chemed Books published Mevakshei Paneicha (literally, ‘Seeking Your Presence’) which, despite…

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Becoming a soulful educator

BECOMING A SOULFUL EDUCATOR: How to Bring Jewish Learning from Our Minds, to Our Hearts, to Our Soul – and into Our Lives by Aryeh Ben David (Jewish Lights, 2016)…

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Teshuvah

TESHUVAH: A Guide for the Mind and Heart during Elul, Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur by Rabbi Immanuel Bernstein (Mosaica Press, 2016) If you walk into a superstore that serves…

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Moadei Harav

MOADEI HARAV: Public Lectures on the Festivals by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik by Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Pick (Urim Publications, 2016) Over the past decade there has been an explosion of…

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Halichot Hashulchan Aruch Hachamishi

HALICHOT HASHULCHAN ARUCH HACHAMISHI by Rabbi Ari Avraham Samge, 2016 While the Shulchan Aruch is only divided into four sections, there is an oft-quoted concept that there is an additional…

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Sh’ut Minchat Asher (vol. 3)

SH'UT MINCHAT ASHER (VOL. 3) by Rabbi Asher Weiss, 2016 Rabbi Asher Weiss is widely known Torah scholar and posek (halakhic decisor) whose depth of knowledge and clarity of presentation…

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Parenting in perspective

PARENTING IN PERSPECTIVE: TIMELESS WISDOM, MODERN APPLICATIONS by Barry Kislowicz Maggid Books, 2016 Jewish parents want their children to be happy, healthy, successful and committed to both the ethical and…

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From Sinai to Ethiopia

FROM SINAI TO ETHIOPIA: THE HALAKHIC AND CONCEPTUAL WORLD OF ETHIOPIAN JEWRY, INCLUDING SHULHAN HA-ORIT – A HALAKHIC GUIDE FOR THE BETA ISRAEL COMMUNITY by Rabbi Dr. Sharon Shalom (Gefen…

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The Kippah

THE KIPPAH: ALL ABOUT YARMULKES, JUDAISM & LIFE by Rabbi Moshe Becker Mosaica Press, 2016 Wearing a Kippah seems to be something that many Jewish men do without having a…

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With might and strength

WITH MIGHT AND STRENGTH: THE RABBI SHLOMO GOREN AUTOBIOGRAPHY Edited by Avi Rath & translated by Miryam Blum (Maggid Books, 2016) I have long been fascinated by the personality and…

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Psakim u’teshuvot

PSAKIM U'TESHUVOT by Rabbi Aharon Arieh Katz Jerusalem, 5777 If you walk into any Beit Midrash you are likely to find a set of Piskei Teshuvot written by Rabbi Simcha…

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Yemima Mizrachi speaks

YEMIMA MIZRACHI SPEAKS by Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi, adapted by Shiffy Friedman Artscroll Mesorah Publications, 2016 I have long admired Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi. She teaches Torah with passion and she shares and…

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Maimonides: between philosophy and Halacha

MAIMONIDES: BETWEEN PHILOSOPHY AND HALAKHAH – RABBI JOSEPH B. SOLOVEITCHIK’S LECTURES ON THE ‘GUIDE OF THE PERPLEXED’ (Edited by Lawrence J. Kaplan) Ktav/Urim, 2016 ‘In 1950-1951, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik,…

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Illuminations of the Maggid

lLLUMINATIONS OF THE MAGGID by Rabbi Paysach Krohn, Mesorah Publications, 2016 One of the first Jewish books that I ever received was Rabbi Paysach Krohn’s ‘The Maggid Speaks’ which was first…

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Responsa Hashem roi

RESPONSA HASHEM ROI by R' Uriel Sfez (2nd edition). Kochav Yaakov, 5777 One of the many reasons I love living in Israel is the opportunity to find Jewish books from Israeli…

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Ohr hamizrachi: contemporary Halachic responsa

OHR HAMIZRACH: CONTEMPORARY HALAKHIC RESPONSA by Rabbi Dr. Shlomo E. Glicksberg Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Glicksberg, who was recently appointed as a Dayan on the South African Beth Din, is the…

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Contemporary Halachic problems vol. 7

CONTEMPORARY HALAKHIC PROBLEMS VOL. VII by Rabbi J. David Bleich (Maggid Books, 2016) While many people write books, few can claim to have created a new genre of book. However,…

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Hagedolim (The Gedolim)

THE GEDOLIM: LEADERS WHO SHAPED THE ISRAELI HAREDI JEWRY (ED. B. BROWN & N. LEON) [HEBREW] Magnes/Van Leer, 2017 There are many wonderful things about life in Israel, and one…

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Forgotten giants

FORGOTTEN GIANTS: Sephardic Rabbis before and after the Expulsion from Spain by Rabbi Yosef Bitton Gefen Publishing, 2016 For a variety of reasons, some of the greatest rabbinic scholars of…

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Techumin vol. 37

Tzomet Institute, 5777 Techumin – which is actually an acronym for Torah Hevrah uMedINa (literally, ‘Torah, Society and State’) - is a Hebrew-language annual journal of articles about Jewish law and…

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Shulchan Ha’ari

by Rabbi Ari Enkin (2017). The recently published Shulchan Ha’ari is the ninth volume in Rabbi Ari Enkin’s Dalet Amot Halacha series. In each of these volumes Rabbi Enkin offers…

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Tiferet Yisrael: translation and commentar

by Rabbi Ramon Widmonte Urim Publications, 2016 In many ways, a Torah teacher functions as a doctor for the Jewish heart, mind and soul, with responsibility for sharing Torah lessons…

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What will they say about you when you are gone?

by Rabbi Daniel Cohen (Health Communications Inc., 2016) Just over two years ago I watched an incredibly inspiring TED-like talk by Rabbi Daniel Cohen which I have since watched and shown on numerous occasions. Rabbi Cohen’s talk,…

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Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen: between war & peace

by Yechiel Frish & Yedidya HaCohen. Translated by Dr. Irene Lancaster Urim Publications, 2017 Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen (1927-2016) was one of the most remarkable religious leaders of the past century. He…

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Faith shattered and restored: Judaism in the postmodern age

by Rabbi Shimon Gershon Rosenberg (Shagar) Maggid Books, 2017 Rabbi Shimon Gershon Rosenberg (1949-2007), or more popularly known by his acronym Shagar, was an inspired Torah teacher and a brilliant Torah thinker who…

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The Rabbinate in stormy days

The Life and Teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Isaac Halevi Herzog, The First Chief Rabbi of Israel by Shaul Mayzlish. Translation by Tanhum Yoreh Gefen, 2017 In 1991, Shaul Mayzlish published his brilliant biography of…

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Two volumes on the writings of Rav Moshe

Over the past year or so, two sefarim have been published that - in very different ways - offer further insights and perspectives on the halakhic rulings penned by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein…

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Avo Bitekha: Marriage and family law responsa

by Rabbis David and Avraham Star (Maggid, 2017) One of the most fascinating developments over the last twenty years has been the shift in the types of questions that some Rabbis…

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