Zionism 301: The Salmon of Certanity

By Jonny Sherman, Shevet Lavi, Mazkir 5773

So let’s talk Salmon. Classic machane analogy #27: There are two types of Salmon in the supermarket: farmed and wild. Difference? Farmed Salmon are raised in a protected environment – sans predators, but tastes…average. Wild Salmon are free to roam the rivers, developing greater flavour…but may not end up on your plate, since bears eat them.

So it’s risk vs reward:
Salmon = Jews
Farm = Chareidi world
Rivers = World, rest of
Bears = Bad things.

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Welcome to the Men’s Club – and I Want In

By Jemma Silvert 

There are a thousand things that this article could be, and there are a thousand things that it is not. This could very easily be a conversation about the Orthodox Union’s recent barring of women from serving as clergy in synagogues; this could very easily be about the potential of Partnership Minyanim within Orthodoxy. This could very easily be about the ways that my desire to follow halacha and my desire to fight for equality seem to conflict with each other on a daily basis. It is about none of these things. (Well, maybe the last one…)

Instead, I wish to step outside halacha for a moment. Continue reading “Welcome to the Men’s Club – and I Want In”

Sacrifices – the problem of entrails

By Hannah Cowen

Sacrifices are often a conundrum. Why do we offer them? Why dead animals? It’s all very confusing. But I’m not going to deal with any of that today. My question is simply this: Why throw out the entrails of bird sacrifices, rejecting them as an offering to Hashem? (We know that with animal sacrifices, entrails are welcome on the altar).

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Religious Girls in the Army – A personal Perspective

By Mia Gray, Lehava 5777

Until this year, whenever I had debates with people about religious girls in the army, I always argued from an ideological or intellectual standpoint. My big mistake had been believing that religious girls could join the army. I am under the firm impression that if a religious girl feels that she doesn’t want to be in the army, then that’s her choice and we must accept that forcing anyone into an army that they don’t want to be in is probably detrimental. However, I don’t think the reasons behind why religious girls won’t join the army are being addressed. The common answer is that “the army lifestyle is incompatible with that of a religious girl.” This is true. The issue is two-fold: they are girls and they are religious, and being either one of those things in the IDF is exceedingly difficult, if not impossible. Trust me, I tried. The issue is clearly not that religious girls aren’t joining the army, it’s that they don’t have the option to do so!

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Dealing with a Divided Israel

By Kobi Weiner

Talk to anyone in Israel remotely interested in politics (which is most people) in the past few months, and it’s likely that one topic would crop up eventually: the evacuation of the settlement of Amona. For a good background of the whole story and the political pressures around it read this article from The Atlantic.

In short, Amona is the largest of around 100 outpost settlements illegal under Israeli law, which were created 20 years ago. For 10+ years a Supreme Court battle has raged over whether it was built on private Palestinian land, and eventually the Court ordered the government to evacuate the 40 families living in Amona and demolish the whole settlement. This month it was finally evacuated amongst violent protests, with dozens of police and protesting teenagers injured.
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You are cordially invited to a wedding. Or is it a funeral?

By Hannah Cowen

At this crucial point, when Bnei Yisrael have prepared themselves totally to receive the Torah, Moshe brings them to the foot of the mountain to fulfill their destiny. Here we can see the reactions of both Hashem and Bnei Yisrael to their impending covenant, and we should be able to learn the approach we should be taking to this day as this was a covenant for all time. But there’s a confusion. Rashi’s comment on this verse is ambiguous:Continue reading “You are cordially invited to a wedding. Or is it a funeral?”

Giving outside the community

By Rebecca Silverblatt and Elise Abrahams

The halachic rule of thumb has always been to help those closest to ourselves first. Once our family is cared for, then, we reach out to our neighbours, our community and – at a stretch – other communities. It is now time to look to those meta-halachic values which teach us that not only must we help ourselves but we must break out and help others too. The reluctance to help others has always been justified in the past. We were always the persecuted ones, somewhat justifying our insular focus.Continue reading “Giving outside the community”

The year so far…

David Reuben – Mazkir 5776

As the Mazkirut touched down in Luton from Chazon, the UJIA Mazkirim Seminar, there was no time to rest, as that Motzei Shabbat was the first night of Selichot, hosted by the Chief Rabbi for the entire community. Bnei Akiva helped promote the event and many of the stewards were donned with movement shirts.  We were glad to be able to welcome our two amazing Shinshinim, Ariel and Guy, just in time for what really was a special communal event. This was just the start of an incredible couple of weeks, with over 50 Chaverim coming together each night in the London Bayit, sharing Divrei Torah and joining together for Selichot in preparation for what was to be an unforgettable Yom Kippur.

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Camp Maketh the Man: Leadership Lessons from Winnipeg to Wales

Jason Marantz, Chief Executive of the London School of Jewish Studies 

Growing up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, I obviously wasn’t part of BAUK – but after a decade of marriage to proud BAnik Gillian Marks, and having heard so many BA stories over the years that I sometimes forget I wasn’t actually there myself, I think I should qualify for honorary membership. My own years of Hadracha experience at Camp Massad of Manitoba make it easy to identify with the BA stories I have heard at so many Shabbat tables.

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Why the RCA are in denial. Response.

By Noah Haber

Having recently read Rafi Dover’s article on the RCA’s statement I was compelled to write a response. This is because I felt that although there may be some merit to his ideas and opinions, he presented only one understanding of a statement which can be understood in more than one way. I thought that it was important to broaden the discussion by suggesting other ways of understanding the issue. Furthermore, I disagree with some of the assumptions and assertions he makes in the article and also felt a need to address them. This response is intended respectfully and in the spirit of healthy debate.

Continue reading “Why the RCA are in denial. Response.”