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A Daf Yomi Scout: Literary Critic Adam Kirsch Shares Insights from His Seven-Year Study of the Talmud with YU Students – Yu News

Posted By on September 29, 2022

Literary critic, poet andWall Street Journaleditor Adam Kirsch visited Yeshiva University on September 21 for a conversation with students from theZahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thoughtand theJay and Jeannie Schottenstein Honors Program. Kirsch spoke with Straus Center Program Officer Tal Fortgang and a room full of Yeshiva College students about his book,Come and Hear: What I Saw in My Seven-and-a-Half-Year Journey Through the Talmud, and his series of columns forTableton hisDaf Yomi(daily Talmud study)excursion.

Kirsch began by explaining what motivated him to take on the project ofDaf Yomias a non-Orthodox Jew, literary critic and novice in the world of Talmud study. He was inspired by the 2012Siyum HaShas(celebration of the completion of theDaf Yomicycle)and figured he could gain insights into what animated todays Orthodox Jews, as well as how the ancient sages continue to exert an influence over Jewish cultureobservant or nottoday.

He immediately began receiving feedback on his discoveries, as chronicled in a regular column atTablet. Kirsch reports hearing from yeshiva students and non-observant Jews alike, and began to see his mission as acting as a scout for people with backgrounds similar to his ownthose who had not encountered the Talmuds unique mode of argument or its assumptions about the intermingling of the natural and supernatural worlds.

Kirsch emphasized to the students in attendance that an element of Talmud study that stands out to an outsider is that the argument is often an end in and of itself. He also pointed out that because the Talmud is more than just a code of lawit touches on so many different topics, involves many indeterminate arguments and records many episodes not legal in natureit allows Jews in every era to share reference points that can unify a people who may be geographically and philosophically disparate. For instance, the term tikkun olam meant one thing in the time of the Talmud, another thing in the Medieval era and another thing to many contemporary Jews. Whether or not Jews today are using the term in accordance with its original meaning, they still feel the need to ground their understanding in a term that resonates with other Jews.

Students eagerly peppered Kirsch with questions about the past, present and future of Talmud study. Kirsch noted in response that study of the Gemara is undergoing a renaissance today among observant Jews, academics and people simply interested in understanding the development of Jewish thought. He contrasted this renaissance with early American Jewish literature, which derided Talmud study as backward and barbaric, a symbol of the old world American Jews were leaving behind.

Today, he concluded, the Talmud is available in many languages, on many platforms, with many commentaries, at the push of a button. Whether the democratization of Talmud study will turn out to be good for the Jews or not is yet to be seen.

The event was the latest in a series sponsored or co-sponsored by the Straus Center and Schottenstein Honors Program. Recent events included a conversation with theJerusalem Posts Zvika Klein and a dinner discussion withTablets Liel Leibovitz and YUs own Rabbi Daniel Feldman.

You can learn more about the Straus Center by signing up for our newsletterhere. Be sure to also like us onFacebook, follow us onTwitterandInstagramand connect with us onLinkedIn.

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A Daf Yomi Scout: Literary Critic Adam Kirsch Shares Insights from His Seven-Year Study of the Talmud with YU Students - Yu News

Book Review | Studying Talmud with Beruriah – Moment Magazine

Posted By on September 29, 2022

Dirshuni: Contemporary Womens MidrashEdited by Tamar BialaBrandeis University Press, 304 pp., $30.00

When the ancient rabbis had a question about the Torahan important detail that seemed to be missing, an inconsistency between two passages, even a redundant word or versethey would often solve the problem by writing a midrash, or story, filling in the missing piece or reconciling the seeming contradiction. One well-known example of such a midrash is the story of the young Abraham smashing the idols in his fathers workshop, then claiming that the largest idol had done it, so as to trick his father into admitting the idols were merely powerless, human-made statues. People often assume this is part of the Bible story, but in fact it is the rabbis creative answer to a question not answered in the text: Why did God choose Abraham to convert the heathens to monotheism?

Many of these invented stories reflect sensibilities that bother contemporary women, and women have responded by composing a rich variety of feminist midrash in response. (I take pride in thinking I have been part of this effort, particularly in my two novels that seek to flesh out the life of the otherwise unnamed Rav Hisdas daughter, exploring why the Talmud would describe her as having married two of her fathers best students after being asked, Which do you want? and responding boldly, Both of them.)

For an example of the conversation between ancient and modern values in midrash, consider the story of Lilith. Traditional rabbis wanted to reconcile the two different accounts of the creation of man and woman that appear in Genesis: Chapter 1 describes Gods creation of man and woman at the same time, but Chapter 2 recounts how God makes man in the Garden of Eden and then creates woman as mans mate later.

The rabbis wondered what happened to that first womanwhy was Adam alone again and in need of a mate? They contrived the legend of Lilith, created as Adams equal, who left him when he insisted on dominating her. In this tradition, Lilith became a baby-killing demon, while Eve, created from Adams body in the second story, was more willing to submit to him and thus more acceptable to the ancient rabbis. In 1972, though, feminist theologian Judith Plaskow wrote The Coming of Lilith, which transforms the fearsome, demonic Lilith into a wise and brave woman. Instead of a rival to be feared, she becomes Eves friend and empowerer.

How might women have told their stories if they were central characters in the tradition?

Dirshuni: Contemporary Womens Midrash is the long-anticipated English edition of a collection of midrash composed by Israeli women. Three of the Dirshuni authors are rabbis; all are educators, many with advanced degrees. Using the classical forms developed by the ancient rabbis, they seek to fill what the book calls the missing half of the sacred Jewish bookshelf. Like other feminist approaches to the Torah, Dirshuni asks: How might women have told their stories if they were central, rather than peripheral, characters in the tradition?

As with traditional midrash collections, this volume begins with Genesis and Exodus and continues through Prophets and Writings. Here the similarity ends, as the following seven chapters are arranged by subject, including Fertility and Parenthood, Holidays, Inequality in Jewish Law and The Rabbinic Court. Each is fashioned in the traditional form: first the text, then the midrash explaining or expanding on it, then commentary on its implications, legal or otherwise.

Some of the authors retell stories in a way that highlights womens pain in greater detail, creating sympathy and revising traditional judgments. Retired high school teacher Ruti Timor offers a heart-rending alternative explanation of how Lots wife was transformed into a pillar of salt after she looked back at Sodom:

She was unaware of Gods command not to look behind (Genesis 19:17). Lot said to his wife, quickwell run for our lives or be killed. She said, well save ourselves, and our [married] daughters will stay here? He walked sure-footed and she lagged behind. Her heart was heavy upon her, she looked back and saw her city, her family, and her property going up in flames. Tear after tear dripped from her eyes, and the tears grew fuller and fuller, stronger and stronger; until they became a pillar of salt. She stumbled and fell, and stirred no more. And Lot did not look back. Our Sages said, She sinned and with salt was punished. And I say, she sinned not, but was punished all the same.

Other retellings add new takes on long-standing debates, such as whether Sarah was complicit in Abrahams decision to obey the command to sacrifice their son Isaac. Tamar Biala, a feminist scholar and longtime Torah teacher who spearheaded both the Hebrew and English Dirshuni projects and edited this volume, imagines the voices of various female biblical figures reacting to the verse describing Abrahams early morning departure (Genesis 22:3):

And where was Sarah at the time? Jezebel said: Sarah was of one mind with Abraham and she too sought not to withhold her only son, whom she loved. For Abraham and Sarah both worshipped the same God, and would convert people to Him; he the men, and she the women. Dinah said: Sarah was in the tent and didnt know of their departure, for ever since she had returned from the palace of Avimelekh, her husband had told her All the princesses treasure is inward (Ps. 45:14). She would hide within the tent and no longer took notice of other people. The Great Woman of Shuman said: Sarah hurried after Abraham to stop him from slaughtering her son, but judges and officers at the gates prevented her.

Biala, in her own commentary, concludes by blaming God:

for the Holy Blessed One had told Abraham Whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her voice (Gen. 21:12). But He had not said those words to herAgainst a patriarchal reality in which women truly do have the power to intervene and avert catastropheyet they fail to act because [they] are unaware of their own strength.

Some midrashim in this collection go further and depict women studying together in the Beit Midrashah shel BeruriahBeruriahs Study House, an imaginary yeshiva headed by Beruriah, the learned wife of Talmudic sage Rabbi Meir. This allows for narratives in which women are shown studying text and contributing legal rulings as in classical Talmudic passages. One of my favorites, by Rivkah Lubitch, a scholar and advocate for women in Israels religious courts, is about mamzerut, the issues surrounding the treatment of mamzerim, or bastardschildren born to parents in a forbidden union, who are then, under religious law, prohibited from marrying other Jews. In Lubitchs midrash, Moses ascends to heaven to write down the Torah as God dictates it, but becomes distressed:

He came to the verse Do not uncover the nakedness of your fathers sister, she is your fathers near kinswoman (Leviticus 18:12), and he said, isnt my mother my fathers aunt? After all, Amram, my father, is the son of Kehat and grandson of LeviAnd Yocheved, my mother, is the daughter of LeviMoses felt faint. He came to the verse No mamzer will enter the assembly of God, even to the tenth generation (Deuteronomy 23:3)He said: Could I and my siblings, Aaron and Miriam, be mamzerim? He grew weak. He wept and wept

He [traveled forward in time] and sat in the beit midrash of Beruriah. He heard a woman ask: Why is the law of mamzer not practiced today? And they answered her: Because we do not receive testimony on a mamzer; because it has already been decided that the entire community are presumed to be mamzerim, and are permitted to one another. Mosess mind was eased.

In a commentary following this story, Lubitch shows how one might use this midrash as a basis for contending with the mamzerut problem in religious law today. She imagines the court adopting a legal principle based on the precedent that Jacob violated the prohibition against marrying two sisters, Leah and Rachel, during their lifetimes:

the halakha maintains that the entire Jewish community is presumed to be bastards and thus all are permitted to marry one anotherThroughout the generations, rabbis have made such general statements and legal presumptionsSimilarly the entire Jewish community is presumed to have been rendered impure by contact with the dead, such that most of the purity and impurity laws no longer apply.

Not every midrash in Dirshuni is so encouraging. Jerusalem prosecutor Oshrat Shohams trilogy of tales in the Rape and Incest chapter (The Fathers Scream: Concealing and Revealing, The Mothers Scream: Uncovering and Expulsion and The Womans Scream: Cover-Up and Tikkun), where each victim is ignored, shamed or both, upset me so much I could barely skim them.

Upon reflection, however, I think they were written to make readers outraged and empathetic, to force changes in attitude and to demand justice. By contrast, two contributions to the chapter on post-Holocaust theology are more comforting, drawing on texts about Noahs dove and raven and on passages from the Song of Songs to emphasize how important it is for humanity to feel Gods presence, especially in a difficult, frightening and painful period. The human tendency is to forget God and ignore His presence when all is well; the closeness between God and humanity depends on both working to ensure that the bond endures.

These are merely a taste of the formidable resources in Dirshuni. While scholars will relish the books nuances, it is the less experienced Torah student who will learn most from this wealth of new insights into the tradition.

Maggie Anton is an author of historical fiction, including the trilogy Rashis Daughters and The Choice: A Novel of Love, Faith and the Talmud.

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Why Bats Sleep Upside Down and The Secret of Yom Kippur – aish.com – Aish.com

Posted By on September 29, 2022

Why Yom Kippur is one of the happiest days of the year.

A few years ago, I had the privilege of awarding someone a medallion at an AA meeting, a celebration of a significant milestone of sobriety. I am always inspired from being among people who have the courage to admit their addiction, name their enemy, and confront it on a regular basis.

The recovery program is made up of 12 steps, and the meeting I attended addressed Step 8, which is to make a list of all persons we had harmed, and become willing to make amends to them all and Step 9, to make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

People reflected on the experience of being willing to make amends with people, some whom they hurt and others they were hurt or injured by.Then one person got up and said something I found fascinating.When she arrived at this step in her recovery, she realized one of the people she most needed to make amends with was herself.The mistakes she had made, the excuses, missed opportunities, damaged relationships, sabotaged success she had caused herself, left her needing to be willing to forgive herself, to make amends with herself.

The next person who spoke disagreed and pointed out making it about ourselves is what got us into trouble to begin with. Amends is about others, it doesnt always have to be about the I, and that kind of thinking is misguided and can lead to bad outcomes.

I walked out of the meeting moved by both sides and thinking about this question. Who was right?

The Talmud reconciles two different statements of Reish Lakish. The first: Great is teshuva, repentance, as the penitents intentional sins are counted for him as unwitting transgressions. The second: Great is repentance, as ones intentional sins are counted for him as merits. The Talmud explains the seeming contradiction: When one repents out of love, a higher level of repentance, his sins become like merits, but when one repents out of fear, a lower level, his sins are counted as unwitting transgressions (Yoma 86b).

I understand how the power of teshuva can transform my mistakes, indiscretions, poor judgment, and intentional violations into accidental, careless ones.Picture a judge lightening a sentence because of good behavior and still putting criminal charges on the record, but lesser ones. But what does it mean that my intentional mistakes can become actual merits? How can those mistakes be turned into merits, virtues, assets, acting in ones favor?

Surprisingly, the answer can be derived from sleeping bats.

Many people know that bats sleep upside down but few know the reason. While bats can fly, they cant take off. Some birds can take off from a dead stop by simply flapping their wings, but bats cant. Birds wings are long and feathered and can generate enough thrust to achieve liftoff, but bats wings, as ScienceFriday explains, are basically large, webbed hands. Once airborne, a bat can use these webbed hands to sustain the flight over long distances and steer seamlessly, but they have a problem: they cant do the necessary flapping to take off.

Bats use the momentum from falling to take flight.

So what do bats do if they can fly but cant take off? The answer is they dont take off -- they fall down. During the night, they use their claws to climb up a tree. Once they get high enough off the ground, they drop, using gravity to gain momentum and they use the momentum from falling to take flight.

Perhaps this is the meaning of Talmud quoted above.Not all types of teshuva are equal. If you do teshuva because of fear of punishment, you dont want to suffer the consequence, then your fall can be considered accidental.

But if you do teshuva, not out of fear, but from love, enthusiasm and excitement then you are ready to fly and can use the momentum generated from your fall to give you lift, to take off, to discover things and achieve things you previously couldnt.

For many, Yom Kippur is a dreaded day, not only because of the physical pleasures we are denied but because they think it is a day to beat ourselves up, to rack ourselves with guilt, blame, fault, fear and dread.

Yom Kippur is not a day to beat ourselves up, to knock ourselves further down.

That couldnt be farther from the truth.The Mishna lists Yom Kippur as one of the two happiest days of the year.Yom Kippur is not a day to beat ourselves up, to knock ourselves further down.We are here to confront our mistakes, to think about failures and the times we have fallen, but to use them to give us the momentum, the energy, and the knowledge of how to fly.Your fall turns into your uplift, into flight.

In Steve Jobs Commencement Speech to Stanfords Graduating Class of 2005, he retold his story of getting fired from the company he created at the age of 30. It was the most devastating setback of his life. He fell and he fell fast. Though it could have destroyed him, Jobs explained to the graduates that getting publicly fired turned out to bethe best thing that could have happened to him.

Losing his position and success as the leader of Apple opened him up to express his creativity more freely. He started a company called NeXT, helped launch Pixar, reclaimed his role as CEO of Apple, and the rest is history. Failure opened Steve Jobs up to express himself more freely and forced him to create his way out of his rock bottom into the super-success he enjoyed at Apple. As he explained to the graduates: It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it.

J.K. Rowling has sold more than 500 million books and is one of the wealthiest women in the world, but in a commencement speech of her own she described that she needed to fall before she was able to fly. She described how at the time of her own graduation from college, her greatest fear was failurea fear that became reality seven years later as she struggled through single-parenthood, unemployment, and poverty all at the same time.

Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

Failure, she said, revealed her true character:I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

We make amends with ourselves not by excusing our fall but by transforming it into momentum to give us lift. The world gives us our fill of fear, worry and anxiousness. Lets resolve to change from love and longing, from lift.

We have made mistakes, we have fallen down sometimes in anger or outrage, sometimes in judgment and sometimes in envy.Yom Kippur is not about beating ourselves up, staying down, feeling sad, somber or guilty.

Consider what went wrong, why it went wrong, and use that knowledge to learn from it, to gain lift, to take flight and to ensure it doesnt happen again. We dont need to sell that many books or build a revolutionary company to achieve success in our lives. All we need is to get up after we have fallen and take flight.

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5 things to know about Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year – WDJT

Posted By on September 29, 2022

By Zoe Sottile, CNN

(CNN) -- Sunday is the start of Rosh Hashanah, also known as the Jewish New Year, which marks the beginning of the Jewish High Holy Days.

The millennia-old holiday is an occasion for reflection and is often celebrated with prayer, symbolic foods, and the blowing of a traditional horn called a shofar. This year's Rosh Hashanah marks the start of year 5783 in the Hebrew calendar.

Here's what you need to know about the history and meaning of Rosh Hashanah.

Rosh Hashanah has its roots in the Talmud, although it isn't entirely clear when the holiday was first celebrated. The Talmud says that the world was created on the first day of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar. Jewish people celebrate Rosh Hashanah on the first and second days of Tishrei -- which usually line up with September or October in the Gregorian calendar.

Although it's not completely clear when Jewish people first celebrated Rosh Hashanah, the Book of Leviticus includes a passage in which God tells Moses that the first day of the seventh month is a day for rest, marked with the blowing of a horn. But it doesn't include the name Rosh Hashanah.

According to National Geographic, the earliest mention of Rosh Hashanah by name is found in the Mishnah, a Jewish legal text dated to 200 C.E.

"Rosh Hashanah" means "head of the year" in Hebrew, and the two-day holiday is considered a time to reflect and repent in anticipation of the coming year.

It is also referred to as the "day of judgment." The holiday traditionally calls on people to consider how they might have failed or fallen short in the past year -- and how to improve and grow in the coming year.

This is symbolized by one of Rosh Hashanah's most iconic traditions, taschlich, in which participants symbolically cast off their sins by throwing morsels of bread into a body of running water.

There are 14.8 million Jewish people around the world, and practices associated with Rosh Hashanah vary even within individual communities. People usually celebrate Rosh Hashanah by attending synagogue and refraining from work -- including schoolwork -- and sometimes the use of electronics. Families might also light candles at home

Rosh Hashanah is often celebrated with special foods, like apples dipped in honey, which symbolize the hope of a sweet year to come.

Challah bread, baked in round loaves instead of braids and dipped in honey, is also popular. So are pomegranate seeds and the head of a ram or fish -- to symbolize the "head" of the new year.

One of the most distinctive elements of Rosh Hashanah is the blowing of the Shofar's horn, a ram's horn. The blowing of the horn is used as a call to repentance during the holiday.

The horn is typically blown in the morning of both days of Rosh Hashanah. The unique instrument dates back thousands of years to the time of Abraham and Isaac.

Rosh Hashanah kicks off the High Holy Days, also known as the Ten Days of Penitence. The High Holy Days end with Yom Kippur, which is considered the most sacred of Jewish religious holidays.

Yom Kippur is also known as the Day of Atonement. It represents an opportunity for people to atone for their sins and ask for forgiveness from God and other people.

While Rosh Hashanah tends to be a joyful celebration, Yom Kippur is a more somber holiday often marked by fasting.

The-CNN-Wire & 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

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New chapter in ‘lost Jewish library mystery’ as books returned to Lublin – The First News

Posted By on September 29, 2022

In 1930, the Lublin School of Sages was opened in Lublin. It was the birthchild of Rabbi Meir Shapiro (pictured) and at the time it was the largest and most modern Yeshiva in the world to educate future generations of rabbis. Press materials

A World War Two mystery has come a step closer to being resolved after two books from the lost religious library of what was once the largest Talmudic school in the world were returned to Lublin.

The religious books from the original collection in the Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva were found in a university library in Berlin by one of its employees. Both copies bear the stamps of the Yeshiva library.

Agnieszka Litman, an animator of the Lublin branch of the Jewish Religious Community in Warsaw, said: "The finder contacted us and expressed his wish to return these books to their original place. This is an exceptional event for us.

It is historically important because finding each such book shows the fate of this book collection and allows us to reconstruct a piece of history.

Agnieszka Litman from the Lublin branch of the Jewish Religious Community in Warsaw, said:Jewish Community in Warsaw, Lublin Branch

The history of the Lublin Yeshiva library is shrouded in mystery as it is not fully known what happened to it.

Many believe that the collection was burnt by the Germans, though no official images or records of such a book burning exist.

However, it is known that part of it was hidden and after the war sent to Warsaw in 1946, which is where the trail ends.

Books from the library have been found in Israel and in the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw.

Both copies bear the stamps of the Yeshiva library.Press materials

In 1930, the Lublin School of Sages was opened in Lublin. It was the birthchild of Rabbi Meir Shapiro and at the time it was the largest and most modern Yeshiva in the world to educate future generations of rabbis.

This formidable edifice was financed from contributions of Jewish communities from all over the world. The academy revived the traditions of Talmudic studies which flourished in Lublin in the Old Polish period.

The Talmudic school had to have a religious library to match it.The plan was to collect 100,000 books.

Piotr Nazaruk of the Grodzka Gate - NN Theatre Center, which runs the Digital Yeshiva Library that recreates digitally the schools pre-war book collection, said: Committees formed all over Poland donated thousands of books to Lublin from institutions and private donors.

After Shapira's death, his private book collection found its way here.

The original collection in the Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva was once the largest Talmudic school in the world. The fate of the library is one of the biggest wartime mysteries of Lublin.Teatr NN.pl/Album Yeshivas Chachmey Lublin, edited by N. Gurman, Warsaw, 1931

The formidable edifice was financed from contributions of Jewish communities from all over the world. The academy revived the traditions of Talmudic studies which flourished in Lublin in the Old Polish period.Wiki

At the end of the 1930s, it was one of the biggest and most valuable Jewish religious libraries in Poland.

The collection included copies of the Talmud, which is a commentary on the biblical Torah that explains how to observe the law contained in the Torah.

It also contained the Holy Scriptures as well as works created over the centuries by rabbis concerning morality or principles of Judaism.

There were no works in Polish in the book collection, even Yiddish appeared rarely and religious works written in Hebrew dominated.

The fate of the library is one of the biggest wartime mysteries of Lublin. Stories handed down in the city say that the Germans burned the books in a huge fire that raged for many hours.

Many believe that the collection was burnt by the Germans, though no official images or records of such a book burning exist. An artistic rendering of the destruction of the Yeshiva Library. A detail from a 1954 certificate of appreciation from Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin in Detroit (established by the Lublin Yeshiva students after the war) to Rabbi Eliezer Silver (Cincinnati Judaica Fund).Teatr NN.pl/ Cincinnati Judaica Fund

Nazaruk said: This version does not hold water and is not corroborated by either documents or accounts.

The Germans not only did not destroy the book collection but also secured it very carefully. However, we do not know what their plan was for it.

Shortly after the liberation of Lublin, documents, press accounts and accounts of the library staff began to appear saying that the Yeshiva's book collection had survived.

It is believed that at the end of the war the collection, or at least part of it, was stored in another library building in Lublin.

According to Nazaruk: It came under the care of the Jewish Committee, then in 1946, the committee sent the book collection to Warsaw, which is where the trail ends.

Piotr Nazaruk of the Grodzka Gate - NN Theatre Center has dismissed suggestions that the books were burnt saying such accounts are not corroborated by either documents or accounts.The Germans not only did not destroy the book collection but also secured it very carefully. However, we do not know what their plan was for it.Brama Grodzka center

Eight decades later, when Nazaruk was browsing through the digital resources of the Institute when he came across a few books with clear Yeshiva stamps.

Out of more than six hundred Jewish old prints digitized by the Jewish Historical Institute, 130 had the stamp of the Lublin Yeshiva.

It is highly probable that there are many more books with such stamps in the JHI collection, although it is certain that the entire collection is not there.

Some books from the collection have also appeared on online auction sites. Nazaruk has found others in the National Library of Israel.

It is unknown how the books returned from Germany arrived in the Berlin university librarys collection.

The books will now be visually inspected and, if their condition allows, they will be digitized. Eventually, they will be displayed in the Yeshiva museum on Lubartowska street in Lublin.Jewish Community in Warsaw, Lublin Branch

There are physically only five books from the library presently in Lublin and are held in the Yeshiva by the Jewish community.

The Yeshiva Digital Library run by Nazaruk contains nearly 260 books, with descriptions and links to individual libraries.

The books from Berlin have now joined those copies that the Jewish Community already hold.

First, they will be visually inspected and, if their condition allows, they will be digitized.

Eventually, they will be displayed in the Yeshiva museum on Lubartowska street in Lublin.

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New chapter in 'lost Jewish library mystery' as books returned to Lublin - The First News

Allegiance To The Monarch – aish.com – Aish.com

Posted By on September 29, 2022

In 1972, Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair opened SARM Studios the first 24-track recording studio in Europe where Queen mixed Bohemian Rhapsody. His music publishing company, Druidcrest Music published the music for The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1973) and as a record producer, he co-produced the quadruple-platinum debut album by American band Foreigner (1976). American Top ten singles from this album included, Feels Like The First Time, Cold as Ice and Long, Long Way from Home. Other production work included The Enid In the Region of the Summer Stars, The Curves, and Nutz as well as singles based on The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy with Douglas Adams and Richard OBrien. Other artists who used SARM included: ABC, Alison Moyet, Art of Noise, Brian May, The Buggles, The Clash, Dina Carroll, Dollar, Flintlock, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Grace Jones, It Bites, Malcolm McLaren, Nik Kershaw, Propaganda, Rush, Rik Mayall, Stephen Duffy, and Yes.In 1987, he settled in Jerusalem to immerse himself in the study of Torah. His two Torah books The Color of Heaven, on the weekly Torah portion, and Seasons of the Moon met with great critical acclaim. Seasons of the Moon, a unique fine-art black-and-white photography book combining poetry and Torah essays, has now sold out and is much sought as a collectors item fetching up to $250 for a mint copy.He is much in demand as an inspirational speaker both in Israel, Great Britain and the United States. He was Plenary Keynote Speaker at the Agudas Yisrael Convention, and Keynote Speaker at Project Inspire in 2018. Rabbi Sinclair lectures in Talmud and Jewish Philosophy at Ohr Somayach/Tannenbaum College of Judaic studies in Jerusalem and is a senior staff writer of the Torah internet publications Ohrnet and Torah Weekly. His articles have been published in The Jewish Observer, American Jewish Spirit, AJOP Newsletter, Zurichs Die Jdische Zeitung, South African Jewish Report and many others.Rabbi Sinclair was born in London, and lives with his family in Jerusalem.He was educated at St. Anthonys Preparatory School in Hampstead, Clifton College, and Bristol University.

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Embracing a Spiritual Discipline of Reparations – Word and Way

Posted By on September 29, 2022

As American followers of Jesus, including Baptists, come to grips with the reality and implications of our countrys historical record of racist actions and structures such as slavery, lynchings, and systemic discrimination (housing, employment, education, segregation, etc.), the question of reparations inevitably must be addressed.

Lee Spitzer

This is precisely what the Executive Committee and the General Council of the Baptist World Alliance did at their meetings in Birmingham, Alabama, on July 9-15, 2022. Their combined witness is historic in nature, not only for Baptist organizations and conventions, but also for individual Baptists who seek to pursue justice, peacemaking, and racial reconciliation in conformity with Jesuss vision of the kingdom of God.

The Executive Committee approved a comprehensive statement on restorative racial justice and flourishing freedom (BWA Executive Committee Statement 2022-07.1). This Birmingham Statement reviews the BWAs history of rejecting racism in all its manifestations, while also calling its membership to more perfectly embody Jesuss redemptive message of flourishing freedom.

The Birmingham Statement provides a basic Biblical justification for reparations. As God liberated the Jewish slaves from oppression in Egypt, the redemption enacted by the Lord included a mass payment of reparations to the whole of a group enslaved along the lines of race for their benefit and the benefit of their future generations as a crucial part of restorative justice in a holistic vision of flourishing freedom.

Turning to the New Testament, the statement cites the story of the tax collector Zacchaeus: Zacchaeus demonstrates the double requirement to give a general donation to the poor and to pay reparations to those who had been wronged. Not only did Zacchaeus actions bring just restoration to those who had been abused, reparations also had the profound effect of freeing the oppressor as well. Jesus offers liberation to the oppressed and oppressor.

The General Council approved two resolutions on restorative racial justice. BWA General Council Resolution 2022.3 affirms that restorative justice involves intentional actions to repair and restore human relations with God and one another, as a foreshadow of the flourishing freedom found in the Kingdom of God.

A companion resolution on slavery reparations (BWA General Council Resolution 2022.4) acknowledges the enduring generational impacts of slavery and calls for reparations to repair the damage for wealth stolen from centuries of forced labor. While calling on Baptist churches, colleges, unions, and other institutions to honestly face their participation and benefits gained from slavery, the resolution also urges Baptist individuals and institutions to participate in reparations conversations in their own communities and national governments.

In most discussions on reparations, the focus is on institutional responses (from governments, institutions, and organizations). However, for several years, I have been personally wrestling with the question of how individuals especially disciples of Jesus Christ should participate in making reparations to neighbors near and far who have suffered from centuries of racism, discrimination, and oppression.

Setting aside political and partisan divisions regarding collective guilt and judgments regarding economic systems, my personal response to reparations has been informed by an evolving sense of personal stewardship and gratitude concerning Gods abundant care for my family.

Although our ancestors came to the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century as poor Jewish immigrants escaping from oppression in Eastern Europe and thus did not participate in the evil of the slave trade, successive generations rose up the economic ladder and moved into the American middle class. Although my own father never earned more than a $25,000 salary in his lifetime, nevertheless I moved from the projects (apartment buildings) in Far Rockaway, Queens to a modest home in the suburbs of Long Island, where eventually I met my future wife in high school. She and I went to get secure doctoral degrees in our fields, and after decades of satisfying careers, are transitioning to full retirement, financially secure through pensions, savings, investments, and Social Security.

As I review the arc of our professional careers, two convictions speak to my soul. First, even though my wife and I can rightly claim that we worked hard to achieve the lifestyle we presently enjoy, nevertheless it is also true that we have benefited from a social order that provided greater opportunities to White people than have been afforded to Black and other minority peoples. We have lived on land that was originally possessed by indigenous people and grew up in a town and prospered in an excellent school system where they were few Black people. We had advantages that others did not enjoy and that we were not fully aware of.

Second, with prosperity comes increased responsibility. Biblical stewardship calls dedicated disciples of Jesus to live and serve with a sacrificial heart. For half a century, we have practiced the discipline of tithing, not for legalistic reasons but out of a motivation of thankfulness for Gods redemption and presence. With increasing prosperity, the discipline of generosity, as expressed by Jesus, became a major theme: It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). In the past two decades, responsibility for the poor has come to the fore as a motivation. Paul advised, Share with the Lords people who are in need (Romans 12:13).

Practically speaking, for individuals, discerning how to share with the poor is similar to deciding how to make reparations to people and communities that have been exploited by injustice and evil practices such as slavery. These responsibilities call for not token responses, but for ongoing, intentional, and targeted sharing of ones wealth. In other words, reparations as a lifestyle decision must be practiced as a spiritual discipline.

Although offering reparations is a societal collective responsibility, there is a Biblical basis for individual followers of Jesus to exercise agency and take personal responsibility for their own stewardship. Members of the Jerusalem church sold real estate and mediated by the church, distributed assistance to anyone who had need (Acts 4:34-35).

How might we follow their example in todays world? There is not a single response, but rather a multiplicity of creative options, based on ones own sense of responsibility and circumstances. My family has experimented with a basket of practices to attempt to embrace reparations as a spiritual discipline. I share them with readers not to garner approval or critique, but rather to illustrate possibilities. These strategies are not prescriptive but descriptive. I am sharing our story hoping to hear how others have sought to live out reparations as a spiritual discipline and to encourage a greater discussion on this important issue.

Financial giving may express a commitment to reparations and a broader commitment to the poor on many levels. In many of our churches, there is something akin to a Deacons Fund, which is designated for aiding those in economically challenging circumstances. Churches may surely designate a portion of such offerings to reparations-related projects.

Commitment of Specific Income Streams

In addition to such offerings, our family had decided to tie income to the spiritual discipline of reparations. Specifically, we have committed a segment of our income stream to this effort by designating the royalties from the sales of my book on friendship to provide ministry grants to churches serving economically poor and disadvantaged neighborhoods in our state. We do not even receive the money; it goes straight to our states regional denomination organization, and it decides on what churches will receive anti-poverty ministry grants.

Investment in Disenfranchised Communities

In addition to designating income, we wish to offer reparation through investing in disenfranchised communities. Accordingly, we have decided to place a certain percentage of our savings in community investment notes offered by Calvert Impact Capital, which seeks to proactively finance solutions to climate change and inequality around the world. These notes provide microloans for small businesses and invest in housing for the poor, among other goals. We earn interest from these investments, just like we would from a commercial banks certificates of deposit, but the principal provides hope and a chance to succeed to people who dont have access to the commercial banking system.

Impactful Philanthropic Support

In an attempt to take tithing to the next level, our family established a family charitable fund to support a diverse array of ministries throughout the world. Through the growth of its investments, during retirement we hope to donate to Gods work at least as much as we tithed during our working years. This impact-centered strategy targets ministries according to selected themes, with ministry to the poor being one such priority. Most major brokerages (Fidelity, Vanguard, etc.) offer this option.

Impactful philanthropic support has three potential advantages over traditional weekly tithing. First, over time it enables us to donate more than the original amount of tithes. As investments accumulate value, more funding may become available for the work of Gods kingdom (Matthew 25:14-30).

Second, a philanthropic strategy opens up possibilities for personal involvement and partnership with those who benefit from grants, donations, and gifts. The Talmud indicates that acts of kindness are superior to charity in part because charity can be performed only with ones money, while acts of kindness can be performed both with his person and with his money (Sukkah 49).

Third, the giving of personal tithes and offerings usually end when a person dies. In contrast, rightly structured, family charitable funds may be administered by ones children (or other heirs) so that our legacy of giving will continue beyond our lifetimes. This is particularly significant regarding reparations. If we have benefited from past acts or systems of injustice, it seems appropriate to respond by creating means of reparations that will redemptively influence the future.

Moving beyond stultifying guilt, the spiritual discipline of reparations embraces humility, repentance, caring, generosity, and self-sacrifice, in response to past social injustices and Jesuss articulation of the values of the kingdom of God. It represents a constructive way forward for serious disciples of Jesus to express genuine sorrow for peoples who have been harmed in the past and solidarity with those who presently are placed in difficult life situations because of past and continuing injustices.

I do not pretend to have a definitive understanding of how to articulate a spirituality of reparations or how to fulfill its calling as a spiritual discipline. However, as I read and study the new Baptist World Alliance statement and resolutions, I am convicted that each individual disciple must take action and not passively wait for society and government to respond. How have you been led by God to offer reparations for Americas participation in slavery and other injustices done to communities within our society?

Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer is the former general secretary of the American Baptist Churches USA and the current historian for Baptist World Alliance. He is also the author of Baptists, Jews, and the Holocaust: The Hand of Sincere Friendship.

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Embracing a Spiritual Discipline of Reparations - Word and Way

Travel in time back to Yom Kippur at the Great Synagogue of Aleppo – thanks to the modern miracle of virtual reality – The Jewish Chronicle

Posted By on September 29, 2022

Travel in time back to Yom Kippur at the Great Synagogue of Aleppo - thanks to the modern miracle of virtual reality  The Jewish Chronicle

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Travel in time back to Yom Kippur at the Great Synagogue of Aleppo - thanks to the modern miracle of virtual reality - The Jewish Chronicle

Huntsville’s Temple B’nai Sholom encourages the community to visit the historic synagogue – WZDX

Posted By on September 29, 2022

Rabbi Scott Colbert with Temple B'nai Sholom encourages the community to attend their services and says their congregation is "thriving."

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. The Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah, also known as the Jewish New Year, concluded recently and Yom Kippur is just around the corner.

Rabbi Scott Colbert in Huntsville wants to share their religion with the growing community.

Temple B'nai Sholom has been in Huntsville since 1899 and it's the oldest standing synagogue in Alabama.

"The congregation was founded in 1876. There were enough people to build a congregation. All it took was ten adult Jews. And then in 1899, they obviously had enough to build this incredible building here on Lincoln and Clinton," Colbert said.

Rabbi Scott Colbert became the interim rabbi three months ago and he's making it his mission for the community of Huntsville to know they're here.

"What I'm seeing is a rebirth in this congregation. We are alive, we are thriving, and we want to serve this community as Temple B'nai Sholom has served since 1876."

The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, came to a close Tuesday evening.

Colbert says this holiday happens during the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar at the conclusion of the harvest.

"Just like in the secular New Year on January 1st, it's a time to say, have I met the goals that I set for myself last year? What goals didn't I keep and how am I going to improve for the coming year? And of course, the whole idea of sin in Hebrew, the word is "Hhatah" and literally means 'missing the mark'."

And Yom Kippur, also known as the day of atonement and the holiest day, comes 10 days after the Jewish New Year, and it's a time for introspection.

"On Yom Kippur we have the opportunity to ask forgiveness from god, from our neighbor, from our community, from each other, and most importantly, to forgive ourselves."

Rabbi Colbert says they are a welcoming and inclusive Reform congregation, "our doors are open. We do not charge for holy day tickets. We would love to have as many people come here to observe Yom Kippur with us as possible."

And those who are not Jewish but are interested in learning more, Colbert invites you to attend their regular Sabbath eve services that happen on Friday evenings at 7PM.

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Huntsville's Temple B'nai Sholom encourages the community to visit the historic synagogue - WZDX

The synagogue is in the street: On Yom Kippur, Tel Aviv shows another side of itself – Forward

Posted By on September 29, 2022

People ride bicycles in the middle of carless roadways in Tel Aviv on Yom Kippur 2014. Photo by Ilia Yefimovich via Getty Images

By Hillel KuttlerSeptember 28, 2022

TEL AVIV Welcome to Israels loudest and most frenetic city. Traffic. Construction. Nightlife.

And then, on just one day a year Yom Kippur quiet.

The city is like a volcano of noise, and suddenly the volcano is silenced. Even the thieves go to shul. The lifeguards are off, said Rony Sagman, a retiree who lives in the center of town.

Tel Avivs vibe on the holiest day of the year fits the occasion, a respite to fast and reflect. Whats surprising in this city, which many Israelis consider the countrys secular capital, is that Yom Kippur has also endeared itself to the non-observant.

They too look forward to 25 hours when the stores and restaurants are shuttered, and the cars and buses are still. For them it is a day of mellow distractions. On Yom Kippur non observant Tel Avivians take bike rides on the Ayalon Freeway safely, because people refrain from driving.

The night before, as soon as the Kol Nidre prayer and the Maariv service conclude, thousands of congregants head to the promenade to stroll and schmooze with family and friends. They stay for hours amid the throngs who didnt spend the evening in shul.

I first experienced Tel Aviv on Yom Kippur five years ago, thanks to my son Gil, then 20, who convinced me that instead of heading back to our hotel after the Kol Nidre service, we should walk the promenade, and head to Frishman Beach.

We found a bench to schmooze. An older French couple sat next to us. Five 20-something English speakers clustered nearby, deep in conversation. Native Israelis claimed another bench. We chatted in our best clothes, steps from the sand and waves. Not far from us, children and teens in T-shirts and shorts the offspring of secular Jews glided down Frishman Street onto the promenade on their bikes and trikes.

I felt a new kinship with Tel Aviv that night, when the city shows another side of itself a calm but still convivial side that is all the more special for coming only once a year.

I appreciated the uncommonly tranquil crowds in Tel Aviv on Yom Kippur, but did others notice it, too? As the Day of Atonement approached this year, I decided to find out.

I headed to a tiny synagogue founded about a century ago by immigrants from Skierniewice, Poland, about a mile from Frishman Beach. There I found my focus group. Six people in their 60s, 70s and 80s gathered for a weekly study session on the Bible and Talmud, and to chat and nosh potluck-style.

They welcomed me into their circle, and I, deftly as I could, turned the subject to Yom Kippur in Tel Aviv.

They lit up. Magical, one said. Mystical, said another. Peaceful, said a third.

They, too, saw the respect Yom Kippur seems to evince in the non-observant, who avoid driving and turn the volume low on their televisions and radios if they turn them on at all.

And that appreciation came not only from the religious but from the secular members of the group.

One, Eden Cohen, teaches theater at a Tel Aviv elementary school, commuting daily from Kibbutz Maagan Michael. She defines herself as not secular, but a secular person who believes. Shes bothered by what she said is her kibbutz neighbors engaging in the animalistic, hedonistic activities of grilling meat and swimming in the pool on Yom Kippur. Thats why shell again stay in town at her daughters apartment on the holiday.

Theres a certain holiness in Tel Aviv, she said.

Before moving back to the kibbutz, Cohen lived in this city for 30 years. She recalled her secular neighbors on Moshe Dayan Street arranging their plastic chairs into a circle and gabbing on Yom Kippur night. It was a picnic without food, she said. The idea was: Lets enjoy the night air.

Naftali Fishpan, a retiree living in the Florentine neighborhood, concurred. Walking in the middle of near-empty streets, seeing neighbors socializing outside, you feel the specialness, he said. In Tel Aviv, the synagogue is in the street.

Fishpans own Yom Kippur observances reflect what he admires about his city on that day. He said he fasts not because of the religious aspect, but because this is what Jews around the world do, and I want to feel connected to them.

His friend Sagman said hes likely to spend Yom Kippur sunning with friends at Banana Beach, about a half-mile south of Frishman. They bring cake and coffee, but partake modestly, because of the holiday not in front of other people, he explained. Most striking at the beach on that day, hes noticed, is that air pollution dissipates in the absence of vehicular traffic, allowing him to gaze further into the horizon.

The rest of Yom Kippur, Sagman said, he walks around town to make the most of the tranquility and the opportunity to bump into friends and acquaintances he likely wouldnt find on the streets on other days.

Therein lies an opportunity for Tel Aviv to create an oasis year-round, observed the lone American in the study group, Michael Alkow, a retired architect living in the city center.

Alkow, who regularly attends synagogue services, would like to see the seaside promenade extended over the parallel road, Herbert Samuel Street, to create a wider beach and buffer from the hubbub. Athens and Florence feature large, pedestrian-only zones, he said why not Tel Aviv?

Its the whole idea of making a city a more enjoyable place to live, he said. Its something to think about on Yom Kippur. Well leave that to future generations.

Some days after I queried the study group, I thought Id get a particularly authoritative data point viewpoint for my admittedly unscientific survey on Yom Kippur in Tel Aviv.

I called Yisrael Meir Lau, the countrys former chief rabbi and a Tel Aviv resident for more than six decades.

The sentiment doesnt surprise me, he said. Tel Avivians respect for Yom Kippur is deep in our roots.

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The synagogue is in the street: On Yom Kippur, Tel Aviv shows another side of itself - Forward


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