The Genome Project

The Genome Project

Oct 28, 2000 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Bereishit

The genome project holds out the promise to alleviate some social as well as physical ills. This past summer the New York Times ran a long article in its weekly Science section (my favorite) to the effect that the noxious concept of race has no genetic foundation. Caucasians, Africans and Asians are genetically indistinguishable No more than .01 percent of our gene pool determines our external appearance, the basis on which we make racial distinctions. In contrast, many thousands of our 80,000 genes combine to produce such traits as intelligence, artistic talents and social skills.

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The Conversion Controversy

The Conversion Controversy

Oct 5, 2002 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Bereishit

Conversion is back in the news. During the High-Holy-Day period just ended, a Conservative rabbinic court in Eastern Europe completed the conversion process of eighteen Czech and nineteen Polish converts to Judaism. Some 80 per cent had Jewish roots. All studied formally for at least a full year (many more) and were obliged to be active in their respective Jewish communities. Prior to conversion, the men underwent either a full or symbolic ritual circumcision (if already circumcised), while both men and women went through ritual immersion. Another half-dozen in Prague are on their way to completing the conversion process.

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The Garments of Adam and Eve

The Garments of Adam and Eve

Oct 25, 2003 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Bereishit

When Franz Rosenzweig published his unconventional German translation of ninety-two Hebrew poems by Judah Halevi, he headed his afterword self-effacingly with a plea from a German translator of The Iliad: “Oh dear reader, learn Greek and throw my translation into the fire.”

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Between Creation and the Flood

Between Creation and the Flood

Oct 29, 2005 By Burton L. Visotzky | Commentary | Bereishit

In the beginning, Dr. Ismar Schorsch was a rigorous scholar, a great teacher, and Chancellor of The Jewish Theological Seminary.

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Making Meaning From Chaos

Making Meaning From Chaos

Oct 5, 2007 By Mychal Springer | Commentary | Bereishit

The opening words of B’reishit are exhilarating. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

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The First Mitzvah

The First Mitzvah

Oct 24, 2008 By David Hoffman | Commentary | Bereishit

If the Torah is fundamentally a book of law, a work intended to instruct us on how to live a life that is holy and good, why did the Torah begin with the story of creation? More precisely, why did the Torah begin with the story of Genesis—of God’s creation of the world—and not the first commandment to the Israelites which is to establish a calendar: “This month shall be unto you the beginning of the months,” found later in Exodus 12? This is the first question that Rashi, the central medieval commentator on the Torah, asked on the opening words of the book of Genesis.

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In God’s Image

In God’s Image

Oct 25, 2003 By Rachel Ain | Commentary | Bereishit

In Parashat Bereishit , we are told that “God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen 1:27).

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The Relevance of History

The Relevance of History

Oct 1, 2010 By Jonathan Milgram | Commentary | Bereishit

Although the book of Genesis is exceedingly familiar to us, there is not a year that goes by when most of us are not struck by one aspect or another of the text, as if reading it for the very first time. It is the universal and profound message of Genesis that enables us to look at the parashah, year after year, and find in it something new, fresh, and even inspirational. One of the central themes of the reading, Bereishit, is that God created humankind in God’s own image.

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