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  • Rabba, Maharat, Rabbanit, Rebbetzin

    Rabbi Daniel Sperber

    Rabba, Maharat, Rabbanit, Rebbetzin: Women with Leadership Authority According to Halachah examines in detail the legitimacy for feminine leadership in Jewish law. Exploring the various manifestations of female leadership, whether as women clergy or other forms of female halachic adjudication, Rabba, Maharat, Rabbanit, Rebbetzin responds to the standard criticisms leveled at the recent phenomenon of female authority within the Orthodox community. In this groundbreaking book, Rabbi Professor Daniel Sperber argues the halachic, political, and sociological levels of female leadership in Judaism. 

    About the Author:

    Rabbi Professor Daniel Sperber is a leading scholar of Jewish law, customs, and ethics. He taught in the Talmud Department of Bar-Ilan University, where he also served as dean of the Faculty of Jewish Studies and president of the Jesselson Institute for Advanced Torah Studies. In 1992, he was awarded the Israel Prize for Jewish Studies. Prof. Sperber currently serves as rabbi of the Menachem Zion Synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem. 
    The descendant of a line of distinguished Orthodox rabbis, Prof. Sperber was born in 1940 in a castle in Ruthin, Wales, and studied in the Yeshivot of Kol Torah and Hevron in Jerusalem. He earned a BA in art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art and received a PhD in classics, ancient history, and Hebrew studies from University College, London.
    Prof. Sperber has published more than thirty books and four hundred articles on the subjects of Talmud and Jewish socio-economic history, law and customs, classical philology, and Jewish art. Among his major works is a well-known, eight-volume series, Minhagei Yisrael, on the history of Jewish customs. More recently, he has written books on halachic methodology and rabbinic decision-making in confrontation with modernity, and has established an independent beit din dealing with agunah issues. He is the author of On Changes in Jewish Liturgy: Options and Limitations; On the Relationship of Mitzvot Between Man and His Neighbor and Man and His Maker, and The Importance of the Community Rabbi: Leading with Compassionate Halachah, all published by Urim Publications. 

    Rabbanit Dr. Michal Tikochinsky heads the Women's Beit Midrash and Halachic writing program at Herzog College as well as the Halachah program for Rabbaniot at Migdal Oz. Previously, she headed the Beit Midrash program for women at Beit Morasha. She also lectures at Shalem College, and is a widely published author of Torah and halachic research articles that appear in scholarly Torah journals. Rabbanit Tikochinsky has a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Law and a PhD in Talmud from Bar-Ilan University. Her book on the scholarship of the Minchat Chinuch is set to be published soon. She and her husband, Yakir, live in Nof Ayalon, where they are raising their seven children. 

    Contents:
    Preface
    Acknowledgment
    Preliminary Clarification
    1. Introductory Remarks
    2. Women in Rabbinic Positions
    3. Women in Positions of Communal Authority
    4. Can Women Serve in Positions of Authority?
    5. Conclusion
    6. Postscript
    7. Reactions of Rabbinic Organizations to Sara Hurwitz's Semichah
    8. Women Rabbis? by Rabbi Hershel Schachter
    9. Response to Rabbi Schachter
    10. Concluding Remarks
    11. Afterword: Women in Positions of Halachic Leadership by Rabbanit Dr. Michal Tikochinsky
    Appendix I: Orthodox Union Statement on Female Clergy (February 2017) / Responses from Rabbi Herzl Hefter and Rabbi Ethan Tucker
    Appendix II: Rabbi Soloveitchik's Position on Women as Shohatot and the Development of Customs of Abstention / Rabbi Jeffrey S. Fox
    Appendix III: Wanted: Precision, Nuance, and Avodat Hashem / Rabbi Dr. Jeffrey R. Woolf
    Appendix IV: What is "Mesorah" / Tradition?
    Appendix V: Tradition and Innovation, by R Samuel Sperber zt"l

    Indices

    Subject Index
    Name Index
    Source Index 

    About the Authors

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  • The Importance of the Community Rabbi

    Rabbi Daniel Sperber

    Foreword by Rabbi Dov Linzer and Chaim Trachtman MD

    The contemporary rabbi is influenced by the modern rabbinic establishments throughout the world, including the rabbinate in Israel. The rabbinate's monopoly on opinions and interpretations prevents rabbis from expressing their individual positions out of fear of delegitimization. The current structure gives the public a negative impression of the rabbinic establishment. The Importance of the Community Rabbi strives to describe and delineate key requirements for a good rabbi, i.e., one who can provide socially acceptable halachic solutions within the parameters of Orthodox thinking. Rabbi Sperber elucidates the halachic techniques and mechanisms that may be used toward this goal. These are further illustrated with stories from rabbinic literature and examples from various responsa. 

    About the Author:

    Rabbi Professor Daniel Sperber is a leading scholar of Jewish law, customs, and ethics. He taught in the Talmud Department of Bar-Ilan University, where he also served as dean of the Faculty of Jewish Studies and president of the Jesselson Institute for Advanced Torah Studies. In 1992, he was awarded the Israel Prize for Jewish Studies. Prof. Sperber currently serves as rabbi of the Menachem Zion Synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem. 
    The descendant of a line of distinguished Orthodox rabbis, Prof. Sperber was born in 1940 in a castle in Ruthin, Wales, and studied in the Yeshivot of Kol Torah and Hevron in Jerusalem. He earned a BA in art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art and received a PhD in classics, ancient history, and Hebrew studies from University College, London.
    Prof. Sperber has published more than thirty books and four hundred articles on the subjects of Talmud and Jewish socio-economic history, law and customs, classical philology, and Jewish art. Among his major works is a well-known, eight-volume series, Minhagei Yisrael, on the history of Jewish customs. More recently, he has written books on halachic methodology and rabbinic decision-making in confrontation with modernity, and has established an independent beit din dealing with agunah issues. He is the author of On Changes in Jewish Liturgy: Options and Limitations; On the Relationship of Mitzvot Between Man and His Neighbor and Man and His Maker, and Rabba, Maharat, Rabbanit, Rebbetzin: Women with Leadership Authority According to Halachah.

    Rabbi Dov Linzer is the President and Rosh HaYeshiva of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School, and is the primary architect of its groundbreaking curriculum. Rabbi Linzer has been a leading rabbinic voice in the Modern Orthodox community for over 20 years. He hosts a number of highly popular podcasts, including "Joy of Text," "Iggros Moshe A to Z," and his "Daf Yomi" podcast, covering all of shas. Rabbi Linzer has published many Torah articles, writes a widely-read weekly parsha sheet, and authors teshuvot on a wide range of contemporary halachic topics. He teaches regular classes in advanced Talmud, advanced halachah and the thought of Modern Orthodoxy, and serves as a religious guide to the yeshiva's current rabbinical students and over 125 rabbis serving in the field. 

    Chaim Trachtman is chief of pediatric nephrology at NYU Langone Medical Center. He is on the board of Yeshivat Maharat and is editor of the book Women and Men in Communal Prayer: Halakhic Perspectives (KTAV, 2010)

    Review by By Ben Rothke, NJ Jewish Link Here
    Review by Rabbi Ari Enkin, Torah Book Reviews Here
     
    Contents:
    Foreword
    by Rabbi Dov Linzer and Chaim Trachtman MD
    The Ludwig and Erica Jesselson Institute for Advanced Torah Studies at Bar-Ilan University by R. Shimon Altshul
    Preface
    Introduction
    Dynamism in Halachah
    Halachah and Modernity

    I. The "Friendly" Pesak

    Fundamental Values in Halachah
    Applications of These Values: Halachic Adjudication
    Its Ways Are the Ways of Pleasantness
    Sensitivity to Personal Feelings
    Human Dignity
    Care Not to Shame or Embarrass
    Leniency to Prevent Distress and Suffering
    Beyond the Letter of the Law
    Adaptability of Halachah to Changing Circumstances
    Conflict Between Legal Formalism and Morality
    Compassion and Casting a Blind Eye
    Searching aSource for an Ethical Directive
    Encouraging Repentance
    Summary of the "Friendly" Pesak

    II. The "Friendly" Posek

    The Unfriendly Rabbi
    First Story: The Winds of Man
    Second Story: A Stained Reputation
    Third Story: Halachic Morality
    Fourth Story: The Ugly Man
    Fifth Story: The Ignorant Jew
    Sixth Story: Charcoal and Distress

    III. The Friendly Rabbi

    First Story: Hillel
    Second Story: R. Meir
    Power of Leniency
    Not to Prohibit the Permitted and the Sin of Indolence in Adjudication
    Sensitivity to the "Have-Nots"
    Knowing the Needs of Others
    Communal Involvement
    An Independent Stance
    Summary: The Requirements of the Contemporary Rabbi

    Appendices

    Appendix 1: Three Examples of Sensitivity and Compassion in Psak
    Introductory Note
    The Dumb
    The Blind
    The Deaf
    Appendix 2: On Leniency in Halachah
    Appendix 3: On the Legitimacy of Halachic Innovation 
    Appendix 4: On the Necessity of a Rabbi Having an Independent Stance
    Appendix 5: An Example of Compassion without Compromise
    Appendix 6: "Its Ways Are the Ways of Pleasantness" and "Charitable Interpretation"
    Indices
    Subject Index
    Name Index
    Source Index 
    About the Authors
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  • Unpacking The Torah

    Rabbi Ron Isaacs

    Rabbi Ron Isaacs is known as the teaching rabbi. For almost five decades he has taught students of all ages with the goal of presenting a Judaism that would be seen as relevant and meaningful to his students. This book will make for enjoyable reading in the study of the weekly Torah portions. Throughout the book is interesting commentary by both ancient and modern commentators to stimulate the reader's understanding of the text. Each Torah portion concludes with a message that is meant to help apply the biblical lesson to modern day living.

    About the Author

    Rabbi Ron Isaacs is currently the rabbi of Beth Judah Temple in Wildwood New Jersey. He is also the Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Sholom in Bridgewater New Jersey, a congregation which he served for forty years. In recent years he has used his guitar skills to offer therapeutic music to people in hospice. Ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Rabbi Ron received his doctorate in education from Columbia University's Teacher's College. He is the author of more than one hundred and twenty books, including the well known Every Person's Guide to Judaism series.

    Rabbi Ron has taught in the Graduate Rabbinical School of the Jewish Theological Seminary, Drew University, and has lectured throughout the United Sates in various synagogues and Jewish Community Centers. He also has chaired the Rabbinical Assembly's Publication Committee.

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  • Halacha Yomis

    Rabbi Yaakov Luban and Rabbi Eli Gersten

    Shortly before the petirah in 2016 of Rabbi Chaim Yisroel Belsky zt"l, a renowned halachic authority and one of the senior poskim of the Orthodox Union Kosher division, the OU began a daily halacha email in his merit, containing one halacha each day composed by a team of OU rabbis. After Rav Belsky s passing, the highly popular Halacha Yomis email has continued in his memory, sponsored by Gerald and Karin Feldhamer. This Halacha Yomis volume contains a wide selection of entries from the Halacha Yomis email series, consisting of 354 halachos, one for each day of the Hebrew calendar year. With each halacha presented in a clear, succinct and highly readable fashion, Halacha Yomis strikes the balance between accessibility to beginners and examination of laws that are not well-known even to advanced students. As attested to by the thousands of subscribers who have been reading and enjoying the email version of this halacha series for years, Halacha Yomis is a worthy companion to the study and observance of halacha in our times

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  • Giving

    Rabbi Yehuda Lev Ashlag

    With Commentary and Insights for Living the Kabbalah by Rabbi Avraham Mordechai Gottlieb

    The purpose of our lives is to grow step by step toward a fundamental transformation. Instead of always seeking some form of self-gratification, we can learn to give to others with no self-interest at all. This is the essential teaching of the Kabbalah portrayed in these essays by Baal Hasulam - the greatest modern explicator of Kabbalah. Rabbi Gottlieb provides an illuminating commentary as a living chassidic rebbe devoted to the practice and teaching of Baal Hasulam's spiritual path.

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  • Torah Beloved

    Norman Lamm

    Daniel Gober

    The weekly sermons delivered by Rabbi Norman Lamm while Rabbi of The Jewish Center in New York City are legendary for their profound intellectual substance and soaring eloquence. Dynamic and charismatic, Rabbi Lamm, through his spellbinding sermons, guided his congregants in confronting the corrosive influence of contemporary secular culture and choosing instead steadfast loyalty to Orthodox tradition. Rabbi Lamm's words and thoughts are as relevant today, to twenty-first century Jewish life, as they were when originally expressed decades ago.

    A recurring theme that runs through many of Rabbi Lamm's messages is the love of Torah and the concept that the study of Torah is not merely an intellectual exercise but that which imbues our lives with meaning and value. In Torah Beloved, a group of Rabbi Lamm's sermons has been assembled which celebrate the holiday of Shavuot, the holiday of the giving of the Torah, and which express the love of Torah. With this collection of sermonic gems, together with two essays by Rabbi Lamm which delve in greater detail into the appreciation of Torah and Torah study, the idea of the love of Torah takes on a new and deeper meaning.

    About the Author

    Rabbi Norman Lamm, former President of Yeshiva University and Rosh HaYeshiva of its affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, is one of the most gifted and profound thinkers of the Modern Orthodox community. He was the founding editor of Tradition, the journal of Orthodox thought published by the Rabbinical Council of America, and established the Orthodox Forum, a think tank of rabbis, academicians, and community leaders that meets annually to discuss topics of concern in the Orthodox community.  Before assuming the presidency of Yeshiva University, Rabbi Lamm served for many years as Rabbi of The Jewish Center, one of New York City's most prominent and vibrant Orthodox synagogues. A prolific author in the field of Jewish philosophy and law, a distinguished academician, and a charismatic pulpit rabbi, Rabbi Lamm has made an extraordinary impact on the Jewish community. With a rare combination of penetrating scholarship and eloquence of expression, he has successfully presented a Torah view of contemporary Jewish life that speaks movingly to all.


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  • Deference to Doubt

    Herman M. Van Praag

    Amos, a young Judean living in the first century CE, is searching for his identity. He debates with representatives of the main religious and ideological movements of his time, subjecting the resulting torrent of varying, often contradictory views to critical analysis.
    The conclusion Amos reaches is that there is no obvious dogmatic endpoint to his quest. From the profusion of opinions, he will have to compile a fitting spiritual "menu" that gives depth and meaning to his life, with dialectics and ongoing discourse as his guiding principle and doubt as the foundation for his religious life.
    In Deference to Doubt: A Young Man's Quest for Religious Identity in First Century Judea, Professor van Praag pursues the direction he took in his books God and Psyche (God en Psyche), Beyond Sensibility (Het Verstand te Boven) and Just Beyond Reason (Net Voorbij de Rede), and boldly, yet respectfully, interprets and reflects on the concept of God, the Bible, and the people who appear in it.
      

    About the Author

    Professor Herman M. Van Praag is Professor Emeritus in Psychiatry at the Universities of Groningen, Utrecht and Maastricht in The Netherlands and at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.
    He has conducted a great deal of research into the relationship between (abnormal) brain function and (abnormal) behavior.
    In 1989, he was knighted by Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands for his scientific and educational work. 
    Received the Founders Award from the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) in December 2019, to acknowledge his efforts to put religion/religiosity/meaning/purpose -- long considered to be irrelevant for psychiatric diagnosis and treatment -- on the agenda.
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  • Kosher Living

    Rabbi Ron Isaacs

    Kosher Living is an essential guide to Jewish ethics and morality for your everyday life. Rabbi Ron Isaacs offers a warm, humorous, and eminently useful book that shows what is really kosher, proper, and appropriate in all aspects of our lives. Kosher Living includes comprehensive entries organized into practical categories of daily life practices -- business hospitality, relationships, care of the body, and more; it gives advice from all aspects of Jewish religion, custom, ritual, and tradition. This book in an invaluable source of inspiration and a definitive reference work for every Jewish family. Written in an easy-to-use format, Kosher Living is a perfect tool for teaching Jewish values and tradition.

    About the Author

    Rabbi Ron Isaacs is currently the rabbi of Beth Judah Temple in Wildwood New Jersey.  He is also the Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Sholom in Bridgewater New Jersey, a congregation which he served for forty years.  In recent years he has used his guitar skills to offer therapeutic music to people in hospice.  Ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Rabbi Ron received his doctorate in education from Columbia University Teacher's College.  

    A prolific author, his many books include the well-known Every Person's Guide series and The How to Handbook of Jewish Living, which he coauthored with Rabbi Kerry Olitzky.

      Known as the teaching rabbi, Rabbi Ron has taught in the Graduate Rabbinical School of the Jewish Theological Seminary, Drew University, and has lectured throughout the United States in various synagogues and Jewish Community Centers. He also has chaired the Rabbinical Assembly's Publications  Committee. For more than a decade, he and his wife, Dr. Leora Isaacs, have designed and coordinated the adult learning experience called Shabbat Plus as well as Family Camp at Camp Ramah in the Poconos.

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  • The Hidden Light

    Dr. Jerry Hochbaum

    In this fascinating journey through the weekly parashah, Rabbi Dr. Jerry Hochbaum focuses on the theme of leadership. In addition to elucidating the Torah text with keen understanding, he also offers trenchant lessons about the Torah’s view of effective Jewish leadership that are clearly relevant to our own times.

    Praise for The Hidden Light: Biblical Paradigms for Leadership

    “The topic of leadership is of critical interest to all of us today. Dr. Jerry Hochbaum’s The Hidden Light: Biblical Paradigms for Leadership addresses this topic in a thorough and thoughtful manner. Dr. Hochbaum draws upon his many decades of experience at the helm of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, along with his academic expertise in the social sciences and his Torah erudition, to produce a most insightful and helpful work. The reader is sure to come away from this original book informed, enlightened, and inspired.”

    Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb
    Executive Vice President, Emeritus
    Orthodox Union 

    “Dr. Jerry Hochbaum has given us a real gift. The innovative, insightful and inspiring divrei Torah on each parashah presented in this volume are devoted in particular to thoughts about the development and strengthening of Jewish leadership, which has been the focus of Dr. Hochbaum’s thinking and attention
    for decades. Throughout this work, Dr. Hochbaum demonstrates exquisite sensitivity to the nuances of the biblical text, paying careful attention to the significance of each word of the Torah. I learned much from his thoughtful insights and often novel interpretations, and I have no doubt that every reader will
    be greatly enriched by his ideas.”

    Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter
    University Professor of Jewish History and Jewish Thought
    Senior Scholar, Center for the Jewish Future
    Yeshiva University

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  • Strangers & Natives

    Ron Rubin and Jonathan D. Sarna

    Foreword by Jonathan D. Sarna
    Developed by Peri Devaney

    Strangers and Natives: A Newspaper Narrative of Early Jewish America, 1734 - 1869 focuses on the daily life and customs of the Jewish community and the Jewish people; the formation of Jewish congregations and organizations; and the involvement of Jews in education, literature, journalism, politics, the marketplace, the military, and history itself. While there are numerous historical accounts of early American Jewry quoting documents, diaries and memoirs, this is the first that uses periodicals from that time period. Using scans of the original newsprint, most from the author s own extensive collection, Strangers and Natives displays the actual written words - the first blush of history - in visual form.

    About the Author

    Ron Rubin, PhD, a political science professor emeritus at the Borough of Manhattan Community College of the City University of New York, is a well-published author. Rubin retired from BMCC after fifty years as the political science department's most senior professor. A graduate of Yeshiva University High School, New York University (BA and Ph.D.) and Brown University (MA), he was first published in 1959 as Editor-In-Chief of the NYU Huntington Hill Historical Society's Historian.
    A prolific writer, Rubin has had more than 100 works published globally since then. His books include Controversies Over the Objectives of the U.S. Information Agency (Praeger, 1968), The Unredeemed: Anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union (Quadrangle Books, 1968), Rudy, Rudy, Rudy: The Real and the Rational(Holmes & Meier, 2000) and Anything for a T-Shirt: Fred Lebow and the New York City Marathon (Syracuse University Press, 2004). In 2013 more than 75 of Dr. Rubin's commentaries - focusing solely on topics relating to Israel, the global Jewish community and the American Jewish community - were anthologized in A Jewish Professor's Political Punditry: Fifty Plus Years of Published Commentary by Ron Rubin, edited by Peri Devaney (Syracuse University Press).
    Rubin resides with his wife, Miriam, in Riverdale, New York, where he is an active member of the Jewish community.


    Peri (Perel Chana) Devaney is an editorial, marketing and administrative consultant with a bachelor's degree in mathematics and computer science from the State University of NY at Buffalo. Her editorial career includes more than 30 years of writing and editing newsletters and brochures as a volunteer for non-profit organizations and schools. In the late 1980s, as Executive Director of a major international association, AFCOM, she served as Founding Editor of its highly acclaimed magazine and was responsible for editorial content, design, advertising and staff development.
    Devaney left association work to form PERIodicals and devote more time to her editorial work and to the Jewish community. Under the PERIodicals banner, in addition to continuing her work for non-profit organizations, she served as editorial consultant and rewrite editor on two books by Harvey Rosenthal: Diary of a Dirty Little War: The Spanish American War of 1898 [Praeger, 2000] and Richmond Pearson Hobson: Naval Hero from Magnolia Grove [Yucca Tree Press, 2001]. From 2000-2013, in addition to her work with PERIodicals, she served as Administrator for Jews for Judaism, an international non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening and preserving Jewish identity and counteracting deceptive proselytizing.
    A native of Long Island, NY, Devaney lived in Buffalo, NY, Albany, NY and Vermont before moving to California. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband Michoe-l, who is also known as ''the Cowboy Chassid'' at home and as ''Cantor Bob'' in Nevada.

    Praise for Strangers & Natives:

    "From the earliest colonial printings to the rise of newspapers as a serious political force in the 19th and 20th centuries, newspapers are among the most significant sources of information with respect to the American past. Ron Rubin's new book, Strangers and Natives, based exclusively on newspaper accounts, plumbs these great resources in a fascinating and thought-provoking account of American Jewry. The book traces some of the direst moments in this history - for example, Grant's infamous expulsion of Jews from Tennessee - as well as some of the happiest, including Jewish political and social triumphs and holiday celebrations. A must-read for anyone interested in learning how the media portrayed, understood, and promoted the Jewish experience in early America."

    -Louise Mirrer, Ph.D., President and CEO, New York Historical Society

    "Professor Ron Rubin has produced a truly extraordinary and colorful compendium of newspaper stories that transport the reader back in time to experience Jewish life in early America. This fascinating and diverse array of newspaper accounts - written both by Jews and about Jews - sheds new light on what E pluribus unum really meant to our American forebears. General readers and scholars alike will find a treasure-trove of interesting facts in this page-turning documentary volume."

    -Dr. Gary P. Zola, Executive Director, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, and the Edward M. Ackerman Family Distinguished Professor of the American Jewish Experience, Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion

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