Beyond the Flag: The Religious Dimensions of Yom Ha’atzma’ut

Beyond the Flag: The Religious Dimensions of Yom Ha’atzma’ut

Apr 27, 2020 By Eliezer B. Diamond | Public Event video

Yom Ha’atzma’ut, Israel Independence Day, commemorates a historical event – the declaration of the new State of Israel. From the beginning, however, it was also framed as a religious holiday. We will look at how, drawing on the liturgy of Hannukah, Purim, Shabbat and Passover, a holiday ritual was created, one that provides the religious language with which to speak of a fundamentally political event. 

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Can American Judaism Change Jewish Identity in Israel?

Can American Judaism Change Jewish Identity in Israel?

Mar 3, 2022

THE HENRY N. AND SELMA S. RAPAPORT MEMORIAL LECTURE “The New Jew”—a recent Israeli TV documentary series exploring the diverse and creative ways in which American Jews express their Jewishness—was immensely popular in Israel. What accounts for Israelis’ positive response to several distinctively American models of Jewish identity and practice? How can religious expression in […]

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“If I forget Thee, O Jerusalem”: The Idea of the Retun to Zion in Jewish History

“If I forget Thee, O Jerusalem”: The Idea of the Retun to Zion in Jewish History

Jun 7, 2021 By Shuly Rubin Schwartz | Public Event video

Chancellor Shuly Rubin Schwartz explores the implications of living in a state of longing, how Jews attempted to reconcile the dream of return with the reality of Jewish exile, and how this dream was adapted and transformed with the emergence of modern Zionism and a thriving Jewish diaspora.

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The Values of a Jewish Home

The Values of a Jewish Home

Apr 16, 2021 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Metzora | Tazria | Yom Hazikaron-Yom Ha'atzma'ut

In the precious days “Before the Coronavirus Era” (B.C.E.), the parshiyot of Tazria-Metzora seemed wholly disconnected from our lives, presenting the perennial challenge of relevance (or irrelevance) to even the most talented darshan (sermonizer). How are we to connect leprous plagues attacking both body and abode to our daily lives? And to what extent does the experience of quarantine resonate with our modern reality? These are only two of the many questions that we would have posed in a pre-Covid world.

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First Fruits, New Thoughts: A Pilgrim Reflects on the First Fruits Ritual

First Fruits, New Thoughts: A Pilgrim Reflects on the First Fruits Ritual

Aug 31, 2018 By Eliezer B. Diamond | Commentary | Ki Tavo

Peace be with you, friend! My name is Micah; I hail from Anav. And you? Shemaryahu, from Jericho, you say; a Benjaminite, then. Well, if you don’t mind sharing the road with a Judahite let’s walk together.

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Ethics of Solidarity and Civil Equality: From the Parashah to the Knesset

Ethics of Solidarity and Civil Equality: From the Parashah to the Knesset

Aug 24, 2018 By Hillel Ben Sasson | Commentary | Ki Tetzei

From the narrative of Adam and Eve to the very last verses of Chronicles, the Hebrew Bible and specifically the Torah may be read as a process by which individuals and collectives are selected or separated. The Christian New Testament sends its redeeming message universally, to all human beings: “There is neither Greek nor Jew, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female. For ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). Exceptions notwithstanding (Isa. 2:1-2, for example), our Tanakh is far more particularistic. 

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Behold: A Blessing and a Curse

Behold: A Blessing and a Curse

Aug 10, 2018 By Yitzhak Lewis | Commentary | Re'eh

Earlier this year, we paid our final respects to Haim Gouri (1923–2018), one of Hebrew poetry’s most prominent and persistent voices for the past seven decades. One of the central questions preoccupying Gouri’s work is the cycle whereby chosenness is transformed into the mundane, or a blessing into a curse, only to reemerge as the impossible synthesis of the two. 

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Charismatic Saint or Reckless Vigilante? Pinehas and the Covenant of Peace

Charismatic Saint or Reckless Vigilante? Pinehas and the Covenant of Peace

Jul 6, 2018 By Hillel Ben Sasson | Commentary | Pinehas

Along with Simeon and Levi, who raged against Shekhem and his people in response to defilement of their sister Dina’s dignity, the figure of Pinehas has become synonymous with decisive and unforgiving zealotry. In the face of growing sexual promiscuity within the Israelite desert camp, and against the backdrop of a crippled and confused leadership headed by Moses, Pinehas took action.

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