Jewish Ideas Daily has been succeeded and re-launched as Mosaic. Read more...


Gun Control and the Limits of Halakhah Gun Control and the Limits of Halakhah
Wednesday, January 9, 2013 by Shlomo M. Brody | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Rabbinic disputes on the proper regulation of dangerous dogs illustrate that reasonable people, who share Jewish values regarding violence and self-defense, can disagree about gun control.
The Whole Body The Whole Body
Monday, December 17, 2012 by Viva Hammer | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

My rabbinic father-in-law and my lay leader mother agree on one thing: no body piercing.  Ears, nose, and bellybutton, all are sacred property on loan from God.
Clothes Make the Man Clothes Make the Man
Friday, December 7, 2012 by Chaim Saiman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The recent daf yomi Shabbat 63 appears to present just the technicalities of what can and cannot be transported on Shabbat.  Yet it is simultaneously an exploration of war, peace, and the nature of manhood.
Inheriting Abraham Inheriting Abraham
Tuesday, November 27, 2012 by Jon D. Levenson | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

On August 28, Jon D. Levenson, the Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies at Harvard University, spoke with the current class of Tikvah fellows about his latest book, the first volume in the Library of Jewish Ideas: Inheriting Abraham. Here, an edited transcript of the event.
Keep Calm and Carry On Keep Calm and Carry On
Tuesday, November 13, 2012 by Dov Lerner | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Shabbat is designed to be a day of rest and communal prayer. But due to halakhic restrictions on their carrying items from one place to another, observant Jews can become prisoners in their own homes.  
Did Red Bull Stratos Break a Halakhic Barrier? Did Red Bull Stratos Break a Halakhic Barrier?
Friday, November 2, 2012 by Shlomo M. Brody | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Not long ago, much of the world watched as Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner jumped to earth in a record-setting free fall that broke the sound barrier.
Does Jacob Hate Esau? Does Jacob Hate Esau?
Monday, October 29, 2012 by Jerome A. Chanes | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Jews have traditionally kept non-Jews at arm’s length.  The rabbinic approach to anti-Semitism may be summarized as Halakhah hi b’yadu’a she-Eisav sonei et Yaakov, “It is an established normative principle that Esau hates Jacob.” 
The Brain Death Wars The Brain Death Wars
Thursday, September 13, 2012 by Shlomo Zuckier | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

When does a human life end? A 2010 monograph by a rabbinic body, a recent book by an independent scholar, and a forthcoming book by another rabbinic organization are the most recent entries in what is among the most discussed halakhic debates of recent times.
Spinoza in Shtreimels Spinoza in Shtreimels
Tuesday, September 4, 2012 by Carlos Fraenkel | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Philosophy professor Carlos Fraenkel wrote that “the cultural relativism that often underlies Western multicultural agendas [is] a much greater obstacle to a culture of debate than religion.”  Today, in an exclusive preview from the Jewish Review of Books, Fraenkel relates how his theory fared among a group of Hasidim.
Rav Elyashiv’s Mixed Legacy Rav Elyashiv’s Mixed Legacy
Tuesday, July 24, 2012 by Yoel Finkelman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Last Wednesday night, in the middle of a blazing heat wave, a quarter of a million people flocked to the funeral of Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv.  At the request of the deceased, no eulogies were delivered, but for the rest of the week, the Haredi press spoke of little other than the man.
Page 2 of 3123
Editors' Picks
Smashing the Idols Josh Yuter, Jewish Press. Has veneration of gedolim, great rabbis, become "the single greatest impediment to intelligent religious discourse in the Orthodox Jewish community"?
Did Miriam Sing? Gil Student, Torah Musings. Because Miriam sang at the Red Sea, say some, it cannot be forbidden by halakhah for men to hear women’s voices in song.  But did Miriam really sing?
Revisionist Rabbis Yitz Landes, Talmud Blog. A new book argues that the Mishnah's descriptions of Temple rituals serve to "claim authority for the rabbis," by portraying proto-rabbinic decisors as the arbiters of Temple practice. 
Court Jews Dov S. Zakheim, Jewish Ideas and Ideals. "To what extent does halakhah permit a Jewish official to sidestep normative rabbinic law and tradition?"
By The Sweat of Thy Brow Shall Ye Live Natan Slifkin, Rationalist Judaism. By not working and living at the taxpayers' expense, Israel's haredi men flout their marriage contracts, the Rabbis, and a basic premise of civil society.
Workers’ Rights Gil Student, Torah Musings. While Jewish law does not require an employer to offer severance pay to a dismissed employee, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein enshrined it as an American Jewish custom.
Count Your Blessings William Kolbrener, Open Minded Torah. Halakhah says that the blessing recited upon the birth of a child with Down Syndrome is the same as the blessing upon a death.  A 17-year-old girl may know better.
Musings on Metzitzah Natan Slifkin, Rationalist Judaism. If the practice of suctioning blood during circumcision was instituted on medical grounds and we now see that it has no medical benefit, why keep doing it?  Tradition.
The Six Commandments Ari Enkin, Torah Musings. If all of the Torah’s 613 commandments seem too much, relax: there are only six that a person must fulfill constantly to keep the evil inclination at bay.
Can A Woman Wear A Tallit? Michael J. Broyde, Torah Musings. Jewish tradition offers little precedent for a woman’s wearing tallit.  But the idea that wearing one is an act of rebellion is even less well founded.