20 10, 2013

Islamic legal system

By |2013-10-20T04:50:13-07:00October 20th, 2013|Book Reviews|

                                                                              By Israel Drazin     Heaven on Earth By Sadakat Kadri Sadakat Kadri gives readers a good history of Islam from the life of Muhammad to the present. He focuses mostly on the development and changes in the Islamic legal system. Although Kadri doesn’t discuss it, it is interesting to compare the [...]

21 12, 2011

Why write law codes after Maimonides did?

By |2011-12-21T07:16:04-07:00December 21st, 2011|Thoughts|

By Israel Drazin   Maimonides wrote his Mishneh Torah, his code of Jewish law. About a century after his death in 1204, Jacob ben Asher (1270–c. 1340) composed a code of Jewish law that he called the Tur. Roughly two centuries later, Joseph Karo (1488–1575), compiled his law books, which he named the Shulchan Arukh. More [...]

23 11, 2011

Should we have faith?

By |2011-11-23T05:15:16-07:00November 23rd, 2011|Thoughts|

By Israel Drazin   The humorist Ambrose Bierce wrote in his The Devil’s Dictionary that faith is: “Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.” Unlike most people, I agree with Bierce. I am convinced that religion should be based on reason, not faith. People should [...]

14 11, 2011

May women say the mourner’s kaddish?

By |2011-11-14T05:06:30-07:00November 14th, 2011|Book Reviews|

A Daughter’s Recitation of Mourner’s Kaddish By Rahel Berkovits JOFA, 2011, 93 pages   Orthodox Judaism, like American and other judges, makes legal decisions based on precedences, not only on what modern people think is correct. When a question arises, Orthodox rabbis examine what has been said about the matter in the past, and scrutinize [...]

23 08, 2011

Did Rabbi Slolveitchik make a mistake?

By |2012-06-05T04:29:35-07:00August 23rd, 2011|Thoughts|

               One of the great tragedies of Judaism is the way that it handles divorces. The rabbis interpreted the Torah to state that only men can initiate marriages and divorces. Thus if a woman wants a divorce but her husband refuses to give it to her, she is chained (Hebrew, aguna) to her husband forever. [...]

23 08, 2011

There is a need for change

By |2011-08-23T06:03:54-07:00August 23rd, 2011|Book Reviews|

The God Who Hates Lies Confronting & Rethinking Jewish Tradition By David Hartman with Charlie Buckholtz Jewish Lights Publishing, 2011, 192 pages               David Hartman points out that Modern Orthodox Judaism has in many respects been frozen in suspended animation, refusing to budge and grow despite moral imperatives and logic, resulting in many people [...]