Volume # 0

Spring 1996(5756)

In this issue

Israeli Youth 1996: Candid Shots

Two peoples, poles apart, live in the same tiny country: Here, a community thriving in Torah; there, the vast majority of Israeli Jewry — estranged, lost, without knowledge or readiness to learn about Judaism. They live in superficial peace, each streaming along its own course.

Jewish Living

Mirror Image

The psychological insights of our great Torah scholars are often amazing. This should, in fact, not really surprise us, because the Talmud says of the Torah: “Review it and review it, for everything is in it” (Ethics of the Fathers 5:27). It should therefore not amaze us to find that people well-versed in Torah had a profound understanding of human nature and behavior without having received any formal psychological training.


Teaching Honesty Honestly

The apparent failure to make honesty, in all its forms and at all its levels, a major dimension of our daily lives is a jarring note to the modern religious renaissance. It seems as though we have developed a split religious personality, whereby integrity and honesty remain individual expressions of personal behavior, while more stringent codes of kashrut, Shabbat observance and regular Torah study have become universal hallmarks of the observant Jew

Science & Technology

The Virtual Shtender

As surely as Microsoft’s dominance grows, Torah software gets better. Two vendors have grabbed the market for major Torah libraries on CD-ROM. The competition between Davka (800-621-8227) and Torah Educational Software (TES; 800-925-6853) has led to an apparent winner: the consumer!


Kashruth and Conscience

In preparation for our 100th Anniversary in 1998, Saul Bernstein, a retired Executive Director of the Orthodox Union and a long-time lay leader, is completing a beautiful history of the Orthodox Union. In reading through his manuscript, what most impressed me is the amazing similarity between the challenges faced by our founders and those we encounter.


Introspection And Yitzchak Trembled…

“And Yitzchak trembled very greatly.” Rashi, quoting Chazal, explains that he shuddered because he saw Gehinom open beneath him. I, too, shuddered when I first heard of the Rabin assassination. And for the same reason — I sensed Gehinom opening. When a Jew savagely murders a fellow Jew, Gehinom opens, and we are convulsed by an uncontrollable tremor; a chillul Hashem of the highest magnitude has transpired.


Slice of Life: Purim

My children are at that age where their costumes for the Purim parade are far less important than the size of the noise-maker they get to take to the Megillah reading.


The Holy Fire

As a result of the unimaginable Nazi inhumanity against the Jews in Churban Europa [the Holocaust], there has arisen a genre of Jewish theology which rejects as irrational the dominant traditional Jewish understanding of God.


Seven by Twerski!

For Dr. Abraham J. Twerski, positive self-esteem is more than both the prevention and the cure for emotional ill health, emanating as it does from both Jewish religious and secular scientific sources. It is for him the basis of all spirituality and religion. (Dr. Twerski defines “spirituality” as “having a goal in life other than oneself”; he defines “religion” as “spirituality combined with Godliness”.)

Jewish Thought

Getting “Into” Gemara: How to Take the Plunge

According to recent surveys, the overwhelming majority of yeshivah high school students in Israel dislike learning Gemara.1Alas, this finding was hardly surprising, especially to educators in post-secondary yeshivot in both Israel and the Diaspora who must reap — and redress — this grim harvest of “Gemara-phobia.” Experience suggests that a similar survey of yeshivah high school students in America would generate no more encouraging conclusions.


Remembering as a Prelude to Reliving

There are two distinct mitzvot regarding the Egyptian Exodus. The first is zecher yetziyat Mitzrayim [remembrance of leaving Egypt]. This mitzvah requires that each and every day and night, we verbally recall the Egyptian Exodus.


Getting Down to Basics

No area of Torah study is more familiar to us than Parshat HaShavuah, the weekly review of the Torah reading. From Bereishit through Devarim, we regularly reacquaint ourselves with the characters, events and teachings of Biblical narrative and law.

Jewish Living

Achdut, Achdus, Whatever

The Winter issue of Jewish Action initiated the first of a series of articles created to highlight and encourage instances of mutual cooperation between diverse groups of Orthodox Jews. Fortunately, achdut is not limited to any one locale. The first article was about a successful united effort in Twin Rivers, New Jersey; the following story came to us from the West Coast.