Author: Emanuel Feldman

Of Weddings, Halachah, and Epistemology

Not long ago, I received a halachic inquiry from a concerned congregant. His daughter was married a few days earlier in a supposedly Orthodox ceremony, but there occurred a serious breach in the tradition of Jewish weddings. The father wrote that everything was meticulously arranged: the hall was paid...

Letter from Jerusalem to an American Friend

Dear__________, You ask me why a normal person, one who has the option of living either in the United States or in Israel, would choose to live in Jerusalem at such a time of conflict and danger. After all, you ask, does it not make more sense to live...

A Simple Driving Test

The notice in the papers was innocuous enough.  Under new regulations, all those who had been driving in Israel under foreign driver’s licenses are now required to obtain an Israeli license, after taking a simple test. Where bureaucracy is king, nothing is simple.  I called the Motor Vehicles Bureau...

Handle With Care

My mother used to admonish us with her favorite saying: “Not everything that one thinks should be spoken, and not everything one speaks should be written.” She tried, not always successfully, to teach us to be careful with words. These days, after WikiLeaks, my mother’s words turn out not...

Preserving our Mesorah in Changing Times: Emanuel Feldman

          Photo: Vosamo Photography The Story of the Robe When I first arrived in Atlanta, Georgia, in the fifties, the president of the shul immediately suggested that I wear a black robe on the pulpit on Friday nights and Shabbos. Why? He was open about...

God, Sod and the New York Yankees

I will never forget old Jake. A likable and generous contributor to our Atlanta synagogue, he was invited one Yom Kippur to mount the pulpit and open the Holy Ark during the recitation of the awesome Unetane Tokef prayer. There he stood right next to me, his rabbi, solemnly...

How To Handle the Financial Crisis: A Trans-Century Phone Call

Ruminating about the economic turndown, I came across a fascinating article in the June 1, 2008 issue of the New York Times, “It’s Not So Easy Being Less Rich.” It describes the financial travails of Manhattan’s super-rich. Although their investments once engendered huge annual incomes, these incomes have now...