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Reform and Conservative Leaders Deemed Rabbis, to Receive Israeli State Funds

9 Sivan 5772 – May 30, 2012
The Israeli government announced on Tuesday that, for the first time, it will pay the salaries of a small number of Reform and Conservative rabbis who are considered leaders in their communities, and will also recognize them as rabbis.

The Man Who Would Not Swear

6 Iyyar 5772 – April 27, 2012
“You shall not swear in the name of the Lord,” says the Torah. This is true even if what one is saying is the truth.

Pesach – Season Of Emunah

24 Nisan 5772 – April 15, 2012
Historically, one of man’s greatest shortcomings has been taking credit for Hashem’s work. Only too often does a man find success and, in his arrogance, feel his power and his might created his empire. The Torah warns us, Remember: it was Hashem who brought all this to be.

Two Generations of Athletes Emerge From Judea and Samaria

18 Adar 5772 – March 12, 2012
Can there be successful athletes among the settlers in Judea and Samaria? Recent achievements show that the answer is yes! A very small geographic area has produced four international champions.

Heartbreak: Iran’s “A Separation” Beats Israeli “Footnote” at the Oscars

4 Adar 5772 – February 27, 2012
In pre-Oscar television interviews, actors Shlomo Bar-Aba and Lior Ashkenazi, stars of the Israeli Oscar nominated "Footnote," which last night became the tenth Israeli nominee to not win the big prize – were telling anyone who would listen that it was definitely going to be Iran this year. And they were right. The Hollywood elite which decides these things gave the nod to Iran's "A Separation," from what we hear a fantastic family drama, and Director Asghar Farhadi has taken home the Oscar for best foreign language film. While Director Joseph Cedar, an observant Jew, went home empty handed for the second time in his career. Bummer.

Never Speak A Falsehood

Once while Rabi Shimon ben Shetach was studying the Torah, a man entered his beis midrash and said, “I have something very important to discuss with you and I would like no one to be present.”

The Mercy Of Hashem

30 Shevat 5772 – February 22, 2012
The entire Jewish nation – every man, woman, and child – experienced the revelation of Hashem on Har Sinai. They saw Hashem as clearly as humans can, and they attained a level of prophecy. Now they were being offered one of the greatest gifts imaginable: Hashem Himself was going to dwell among them.

Savory Slow Cooker Meals

14 Shevat 5772 – February 7, 2012
You know the way your house smells on Friday night when the cholent is bubbling away in the crockpot? Did you ever think of using that crock-pot or slow cooker during the week? Well, I did and I had no idea one slow cooker could create so many tasty dishes, all easy to whip up and full of flavor.

Jordan’s Queen Orders Solid Gold Shoes as King Pushes Two-State Solution

27 Tevet 5772 – January 22, 2012
Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan has commissioned a jeweler in Calcutta, India to make shoes for her out of gold.

The Translation Of The Torah (Continued from last week)

12 Tevet 5772 – January 6, 2012
Ptolemy, King of Egypt, had requested of Elazar Kohen Gadol, that he send sages to his country to translate the Torah. Elazar complied by sending 72 sages. They were wined and dined and then the king put to them 72 questions, to test their wisdom.

The Translation Of The Torah

7 Tevet 5772 – January 2, 2012
King Ptolemy of Egypt had heard that the Jews possessed the Torah, the five books of Moshe, which contained much wisdom and excellent laws. He desired to have this Torah translated into Greek so that he, too, might learn its contents.

An Ancient ‘Obsession’ with Sukkot Iconography

20 Tishri 5772 – October 18, 2011
In some ways, Sukkot is the most contemporary of holidays. Many pay good money and invest a lot of time and effort to obtain a beautiful etrog-indeed its biblical name is "fruit of the beautiful tree"-and the most visually appealing lulav, hadasim and aravot. There are various schools of thought on whether to refrigerate or not to refrigerate, to wrap in aluminum foil or wet paper towel, all with the goal of preventing the four species from spoiling and jeopardizing their smell and visual appearance. There is no specific requirement that the schach covering the sukkah be alive-indeed it cannot be made of something still attached to the ground-but the entire atmosphere of Sukkot is one of growth, natural living, and disengaging from our comfort zone. Indeed, it is on the extended Sukkot holiday that a prayer is offered for rain, the source of life.

An Ancient ‘Obsession’ with Sukkot Iconography

In some ways, Sukkot is the most contemporary of holidays. Many pay good money and invest a lot of time and effort to obtain a beautiful etrog-indeed its biblical name is "fruit of the beautiful tree"-and the most visually appealing lulav, hadasim and aravot. There are various schools of thought on whether to refrigerate or not to refrigerate, to wrap in aluminum foil or wet paper towel, all with the goal of preventing the four species from spoiling and jeopardizing their smell and visual appearance. There is no specific requirement that the schach covering the sukkah be alive-indeed it cannot be made of something still attached to the ground-but the entire atmosphere of Sukkot is one of growth, natural living, and disengaging from our comfort zone. Indeed, it is on the extended Sukkot holiday that a prayer is offered for rain, the source of life.

An Ancient ‘Obsession’ with Sukkot Iconography

In some ways, Sukkot is the most contemporary of holidays. Many pay good money and invest a lot of time and effort to obtain a beautiful etrog-indeed its biblical name is "fruit of the beautiful tree"-and the most visually appealing lulav, hadasim and aravot. There are various schools of thought on whether to refrigerate or not to refrigerate, to wrap in aluminum foil or wet paper towel, all with the goal of preventing the four species from spoiling and jeopardizing their smell and visual appearance. There is no specific requirement that the schach covering the sukkah be alive-indeed it cannot be made of something still attached to the ground-but the entire atmosphere of Sukkot is one of growth, natural living, and disengaging from our comfort zone. Indeed, it is on the extended Sukkot holiday that a prayer is offered for rain, the source of life.

Israeli White Wines For The Summer

27 Sivan 5771 – June 29, 2011
If you're located in the Northern Hemisphere, July signals the time of year when the weather can be hot enough to make you both thirsty and a bit more than uncomfortable. Our minds go to the efficiency of the air-conditioning in our homes, automobiles, and offices, and our palates take us to dishes that are light and not infrequently intentionally served cold. When we think of wine it is most logical for our thoughts to turn to white wines for, in addition to being served well chilled, those indeed tend to be crisper and more refreshing than reds.

A Treasure To Keep

22 Elul 5770 – September 1, 2010
When my neighbor asked me if I was missing any jewelry, I immediately thought of the gift my husband gave me 25 years ago at our wedding. In the yichud room, he presented me with a beautiful three-tone gold bracelet with diamond chips. I treasured that gift until I lost it.

Who’s Afraid Of The Little Old Winemaker?

13 Sivan 5770 – May 26, 2010
The aristocratic atmosphere in the elegant hotel that hosted Israel's wine competition did not disclose the scene that was about to take place: A small boutique winery from the Shomron, Hararei Kedem, won two gold medals and one silver medal. Hundreds of professional and amateur sommeliers watched in astonishment as the man with the beard and long sidelocks (who did not look particularly relevant to the glamorous event) hesitantly ascended to the podium to accept his medals.

Leipzig Machzor: A Vision from the Past

17 Heshvan 5770 – November 4, 2009
Seven hundred years ago in a synagogue in southwest Germany near the Rhine River, the chazzan opened a new machzor on Yom Kippur as he began Kol Nidrei. The congregation glanced up and gasped as they saw the new prayer book he was davening from. A freshly written large-scale parchment book presented itself to them, specially made for the bimah, to be used on all the holidays, resplendent with brightly colored illuminations and richly adorned with gold-leaf and precious lapis lazuli decorations.

Why Was The Prato Haggadah Left Unfinished?

29 Av 5769 – August 19, 2009
When the Cistercian abbot Stephen Harding commissioned an illuminated bible in 1109, he wanted to ensure its accuracy. So he did what any good scholar (but very few medieval Church leaders) would do; he sought rabbinic counsel so that he could have access to the original Hebrew. The so-called St. Stephen's Bible, which can be seen in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's current exhibit, Pen and Parchment: Drawing in the Middle Ages, represents a rare collaboration of rabbinic and Christian scholarship.

Why Was The Prato Haggadah Left Unfinished?

When the Cistercian abbot Stephen Harding commissioned an illuminated bible in 1109, he wanted to ensure its accuracy. So he did what any good scholar (but very few medieval Church leaders) would do; he sought rabbinic counsel so that he could have access to the original Hebrew. The so-called St. Stephen's Bible, which can be seen in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's current exhibit, Pen and Parchment: Drawing in the Middle Ages, represents a rare collaboration of rabbinic and Christian scholarship.

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