The Sefaria Project is about building the future of Jewish learning in an open and participatory way.
We are building a living library of Jewish Texts and their interconnections, in Hebrew and in translation. Our scope is Torah in the broadest sense, from Tanakh to Talmud to Zohar to modern texts and all the volumes of commentary in between. Sefaria is created, edited, and annotated by an open community.
Having digital texts enables us to create a new, interactive interface for the Web, tablet and mobile which allows students and scholars around the world to freely learn and explore the interconnections among Torah texts.
Judaism’s core texts grew out of millennia-long conversations and arguments across generations. We envision creating an open space for ancient conversations to continue in new ways, with new participants, new questions, and new layers of dialogue.
Why not let women thank God for not making them men? Surprisingly, this is not some modern, liberal attempt to mess with tradition. Instead, such a prayer actually exists in a siddur dating back to 1471 Northern Italy, which you can see here (p. 5v). This siddur was written by Rabbi Abraham Ben Mordechai Farissol, a well-respected Italian rabbi at a time when there were no Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, or other denominations of Judaism. The prayer’s language is unambiguous and unabashed: blessing God “she-asitani ishah v’lo ish”–for making me a woman and not a man. The beauty of this prayer is that, in one line, it affirms the inherent dignity and worthiness of women in society, rebutting (though by no means removing) the toxicity of the male praise for not being made a woman. Its poignant language promotes gratitude for the privilege of having been born as a woman.
Mosley enthusiastically welcomes Jewish readers who are drawn to his fiction because of a feeling of shared cultural experience or a common identity. “I know that people who aren’t insecure about their identity and who are Jewish like hearing that I’m Jewish,” he said. He also knows that his dual identity gives Jewish readers “an entrée” into the African-American experience. And, because his Jewish learning and political orientation run deep in his life and work at an unconscious level, he welcomes the notion that his Jewish readers “might see things in my work that I don’t see.”
And the arrow points in the other direction, too, as Mosley celebrates moments of acceptance in his life and in his experience as a Jew. “A long time ago I was talking to a rabbi, a young rabbi who was a student at City College,” he recalled. “And I said, ‘I’m Jewish too you know.’ And he kept talking. And at one point I said, ‘I said I was Jewish and you didn’t bat an eye or ask a question.’ And he looked at me and he goes, ‘Who would lie about that?’ Now, I got that.”
Southern women, unlike women from Boston or Des Moines or Albuquerque, are leashed to history. For better or worse, we are forever entangled in and infused by a miasma of mercy and cruelty, order and chaos, cornpone and cornball, a potent mix that leaves us wise, morbid, good-humored, God-fearing, outspoken and immutable. Like the Irish, with better teeth.
Cantor Shayna Postman, who attended the service, said gatherings like this were important to “show our support for Women of the Wall and for pluralism at the Kotel and in Israel in general.” The same group of women held a Conservative service last month, while the one this morning was led by reform rabbis. The next service will be in the Orthodox tradition. Postman explained that this pluralistic model of support for the Women of the Wall in Israel is meant to show that tolerance and pluralism is possible. (via Female Rabbis in New York Lead Service in Solidarity With Israel’s Women of the Wall – Tablet Magazine)
City Room, based on its extremely poor religious training, made the mistake above of wondering aloud whether meat from a pig with an uncloven hoof would still be considered nonkosher. Rabbi Moshe Elefant, chief operating officer of the kashrut division of the Orthodox Union, the largest kosher certification organization in the world, quickly set us straight. “Actually this pig is even worse than all other pigs,” he said. “Not only does it not chew its cud, it doesn’t have a split hoof.” Split hoof = kosher. Unsplit = nonkosher. The thing that makes pigs nonkosher is that they don’t chew their cud. We will remember this. Thanks, Rabbi.
Meat eating is always surrounded with lots of rules, because a lot is at stake. There is death, there is killing, there is sharing. That’s a good thing; eating meat is consequential, and it should be approached with a lot of consciousness and care, and that’s a very positive thing about kashrut. I said semi-jokingly in this little sermon [on April 12 at Beth El Synagogue, in Minnesota], it might be time to reconsider pork as treyf. The beauty of the kosher rules is that food choices should be informed by our ethics and not be careless and just about consumption or fueling up, and ethics change over time.
There was a time not long ago when you couldn’t keep up with all the states moving heaven and earth to etch discrimination into their laws and constitutions to prevent loving and committed same-sex couples from marrying. Today, the opposite is true. Rhode Island last week become the 10th state to approve same-sex marriage. Delaware, the First State, is poised to become the 11th state.