Keep up to date with our latest additions and read general news about the site
In this week’s Jewish Chronicle you may have read an article by Simon Rocker mentioning Louis Jacobs and Rabbi Zev Farber who has challenged American Orthodoxy to face up to the same issues that majorly featured in the UK 50 years ago.
Rabbi Farber is a graduate of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, whose president Rabbi Asher Lopatin will be speaking at the “Judaism – Learn Behind the Labels” conference next week.
Below are conference details and the organisers are happy to accept pre-booking and attendance on the Sunday and/or Monday sessions.
Louis Jacobs Online
Open Orthodoxy comes to the UK – 21/22 September
Do you worry that Orthodoxy is neglecting the left? Don’t miss your only opportunity to hear Rabbi Asher Lopatin, one of America’s leading authorities on Open Modern Orthodoxy and the high-profile president of Rabbi Avi Weiss’s rabbinical school in New York, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah.
– Also hear Edditor-in-chief of Maggid Books and Talmudic narrative teacher Gila Fine, one of the breakout stars of last year’s Limmud Conference.
– A very popular return to the UK of another Limmud favourite, Rabbi Dr Sam Lebens. Bringing his ability to unlock the most out of reach ideas and bring them down to earth for modern Jews.
– A great selection of our own top notch UK speakers.
They will discuss:
- What do Orthodox Jews believe and does it matter?
- Who’s in, who’s out of Orthodoxy and who decides?
- What freedom do we have and how should we use it?
- What is the future of Orthodxy in this country – and what trends can we already see in America?
BOOK NOW for
Judaism – Learn Behind the Labels
Strictly limited places and prices will rise as each batch of tickets sell out.
- Rabbi Asher Lopatin, President of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah
- Gila Fine, Editor-in-chief of Maggid Books (Koren Publishers Jerusalem)
- Rabbi Dr Sam Lebens, Associate Research Fellow at Rutgers University, Philosophy Department
- Maureen Kendler, LSJS Teaching Fellow
- Lindsey Taylor-Guthartz, LSJS Teaching Fellow
- Rabbi Dr Michael Harris, Rabbi of Hampstead US
- Dina Brawer, JOFA UK Ambassador
- Lindsay Simmonds, LSJS Faculty
- Felicia Epstein, LSJS Trustee
- Dr Miri Freud-Kandel, University of Oxford (OCHJS)
Reviewing the Past, Building the Future
PART 1 – Learn: To Be Jewish – chaired by Maureen Kendler
Sunday 21 September 10am-3pm at Dennington Park Road United Synagogue
- “What do we believe that God is doing on Rosh Hashona and Yom Kippur, and what should we make believe?” Rabbi Dr Sam Lebens
- “Eyes That Cannot See, Lips That Cannot Speak: A Tragedy of Rabbinic Rivalry” Gila Fine
- “Chareidi, Modern and Orthodox: A beautiful combination from the Psak of the Aruch Hashulchan” Rabbi Asher Lopatin
(includes light meal and refreshments)
PART 2 – The Jewish Future in Our Hands – chaired by Lindsey Taylor-Guthartz
Sunday 21 September 4pm-9pm at Dennington Park Road United Synagogue
- “The New Jewish Family: Is the community ready for them?” Rabbi Asher Lopatin “What is halakha, and how does it evolve?” Rabbi Dr Sam Lebens
- “Feminism in Judaism: foreign import or neglected ideal?”l Dina Brawer, Lindsay Simmonds and Rabbi Asher Lopatin
- Rabbis’ Panel chaired by Felicia Epstein including Rabbi Asher Lopatin, Rabbi Dr Michael Harris, Rabbi Dr Sam Lebens
(includes light meal and refreshments)
PART 3 – Beyond Belief – chaired by Maureen Kendler
Monday 22 September 8-10pm at and in partnership with Norrace Lea United Synagogue
“Reflections on the primordial Torah and the problems it raises for Orthodox doctrine” Rabbi Dr Sam Lebens
- “Torah Misinai, Innovation Misinai” Rabbi Asher Lopatin
- Q&A with Rabbi Asher Lopatin and Rabbi Dr Sam Lebens chaired by Dr Miri Freud-Kandel
Full text of letter published in the Jewish Chronicle 16th March 2012
The JC edited a letter that Ivor Jacobs wrote for publication.
Miriam Shaviv in her column (last week’s JC) notes the “thirst amongst some orthodox Jews for sophisticated discussion on theological issues”. At the same time she commented on how in the UK the “possibility of open discussion about anything to do with biblical theology” has effectively been shut down.
The purpose of the newly established charity – www.louisjacobs.org is to encourage such open discussion by helping to provide the materials and forum for the continuation of this most important debate.
It is, of course, to be regretted, as Miriam points out, that the UK is way behind the “standards of theological discussion” of committed Jews in other countries. But we do believe there is, indeed, a more open environment being established in the UK and it won’t be long before the writings of Rabbi Jacobs as well as many other modern scholars -and their theologies/arguments- become “on limits.”
Growing interest in this area is evidenced by The Oxford Centre for Hebrew & Jewish Studies arranging a major research fellowship programme, next year, entitled – Orthodoxy, Theological Debate and Contemporary Judaism: Exploring Questions Raised in the Thought of Louis Jacobs. This will be led by Miri Freud-Kandel from Oxford & Adam Ferziger from Bar Ilan. Alongside this scholarly project will be lectures and events in London led by participating academics from across the Jewish world and UK lay leaders.
Details of fellowships for this programme are now available and we do trust that among the applicants there will, indeed, be participation from British Orthodox Jews.
Trustee, Friends of Louis Jacobs.org
1st March 2012 – Fellowships news
OXFORD SEMINAR IN ADVANCED JEWISH STUDIES
Orthodoxy, Theological Debate, and Contemporary Judaism: Exploring Questions Raised in the Thought of Louis Jacobs
This Oxford Seminar in Advanced Jewish Studies will examine the state of contemporary Orthodox Judaism. Within this framework the Seminar will address the place of rational debate in contemporary Judaism, changing approaches to interpretations of revelation, the impact of gender issues, and the viability of concepts such as inclusivism, pluralism, and openness in Orthodox Judaism.
Read more about this Project
Call for Applications for Fellowships:
The Application Procedure may be found here and the Application Form may be downloaded here.
Closing date: 18 April 2012
March 2012. Several new articles have recently been uploaded. These are
The Jewish Tradition in Today’s World
- Prayer in Judaism
- A Study of Four Parallel Sugyot
- The Sugya on Sufferings
- The Doctrine of the ‘Divine Spark’ in Man in Jewish Sources
- The Talmudic Sugya as a Literary Unit—An Analysis of Bava Kama 2a-3b
- Judaic Sources of Human Rights
- God and I
- Further Evidence of Literary Device in the Babylonian Talmud
- Evidence of Literary Device in the Talmud
Saturday 16 July 2011
50 Years On: The Enduring Legacy of the Jacobs Affair
Talks by Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove, Dr Miri Freund-Kandell and Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg to dedicate New North London Synagogue’s new beit hamidrash, with seudah shelishit.
7.30pm, New North London Synagogue, 80 East End Road N3 2SY
Free but please inform the office of your intention to attend.
020 8346 8560
3 July 2011: Louis Jacobs Memorial Lecture
RABBI DAVID J. WOLPE: WHY FAITH MATTERS
at the New London Synagogue, Abbey Road, was a great success. A video of the lecture will be available soon.
Named the number one pulpit rabbi in America, Rabbi David J. Wolpe is the rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a teacher of modern Jewish religious thought at UCLA.
Saturday 9 July 2011: 24-Hour Study Day
to mark the naming and opening of the Louis Jacobs Beit Midrash at the New North London Synagogue was also a wonderful and varied 24 hours.
21 June 2011
More articles have recently been uploaded. ‘The Concept of Hasid in the Biblical and Rabbinic Literatures’ discusses the different ways the term hasid was interpreted in ancient Jewish literature. ‘The Rabin Assassination’ is an analysis of murder cases that seem justified by halakhah.
24 May 2011
New articles available now: ‘Eating as an Act of Worship’ examines how hasidic thinkers elevated the act of eating to the level of communing with the Divine, and how they imbued the act with kabbalistic symbolism. ‘The Body in Jewish Worship’ focuses on differing attitudes throughout the history of Judaism to the body, physicality and pleasure. Rabbi Jacobs structures his discussion around 3 main themes: Shabbat, death and burial ceremonies, and the Priestly Blessing. ‘Where Exactly is God?’ asks the question, how can we humans talk about God’s existence outside the constraints of space when that is the only reality we know.
16 May 2011
We have added three new pieces to the Articles section: ‘Is There a Jewish Theology?’ discusses the question of why theology is a ‘black sheep’ of Jewish thought and the main strands and representatives of Jewish theology that, Rabbi Jacobs argues, does exist. In ‘Time and Eternity’ Rabbi Jacobs looks at the various understandings of these concepts within the Jewish tradition. ‘Pesach and the Exodus…’ is an overview of how two major figures of hasidic thought understood the symbolism of the notions of Exodus, chametz and matzah.
11 May 2011
New article available: ‘How Much of the Babylonian Talmud is Pseudepigraphic?’ An exciting piece analyzing the sayings and stories attributed to the great rabbis in the Talmud. Did they really do and say what the text claims they did? And how do we know?
8 May 2011
New article available: Aliyot. Rabbi Jacobs looks at the history of honouring men by calling them up to the Torah. Which aliyah is worth more than the others? What aliyah does a hasidic rebbe get? Find out more from this engaging short piece.
15 April 2011
New article available in two parts: The Nature of Hasidic Prayer I and II. An in-depth analysis of hasidic interpretations and customs of prayer, and non-hasidic responses to it.
13 March 2011
Professor Michael Fishbane lectured on Moses Cordovero and Imitatio Dei at the Oxford Centre on 7 March, and on the Song of Songs at the New London Synagogue. Both lectures were recorded and we hope to feature them on the site soon.
18 November 2010
Friends of www.louisjacobs.org has been granted CHARITABLE status!
The 60s evening in aid of www.louisjacobs.org on 31 October raised over £1,500 for the project
29 October 2009
The number of articles is constantly growing! I’ve now also added excerpts from two of Rabbi Jacobs’ books, ‘We Have Reason to Believe’ and it sequel, ‘Beyond Reasonable Doubt’. Looking for something engaging to read on Jewish theology and philosophy? You can buy the books right now in our Shop Online section.
20 October 2009
Working on Obituaries and memorial speeches about Rabbi Jacobs. Hopefully they will all be available to you online in a short time!
25 September 2009
Two new articles uploaded, both addressing philosophical questions: how it is possible for God to know everything if human beings have free will and how the concept of power has been treated in the Jewish tradition. Two truly engaging pieces, enjoy the read!
15 September 2009
Browse through our list of video talks by Rabbi Jacobs for a wide variety of topics. These videos are not only edifying but are also great memorabilia of a Rabbi who was an engaging and highly eloquent speaker with a vast knowledge in all fields of Judaism. The short descriptions will give you a better idea of what the individual talks are about. To see the available videos, click Shop Online.
15 September 2009
A number of new articles and a review by Rabbi Jacobs were uploaded to the site. Topics include studies in Hasidism, the idea of membership in Judaism, great Jewish leading figures, and honouring one’s parents.
19 August 2009
‘Is There a Specific Jewish Ethic?’ essay by Rabbi Jacobs uploaded to the Articles section.
17 August 2009
Special offer available now! Join the Friends of Louis Jacobs and receive our pre-Yom Tov package of 3 Louis Jacobs books for free. To become a Friend, please download the pdf application form at the top of our home page.
11 August 2009
The transcript of the Third Annual Memorial Lecture, presented by Rabbi Michael Melchior on 28 June 2009, is now published on our website. Click the Memorial Lectures button to read the full text.
22 July 2009
Two new articles by Rabbi Jacobs published on our website: Sources of Jewish Law and Jewish Cosmology. Click on the General Interest button on the left to access these articles.
1 July 2009
Agi Erdos appointed as new Website Editor. Agi will be managing the site and posting new content on a regular basis. To read more, see the Who We Are section.
2nd December 2007
IS THERE STILL REASON TO BELIEVE?
This public event marked the 50th Anniversary of the publication of Louis Jacobs’s book, We Have Reason To Believe. It was a resounding success with over 250 people present.
The Film Shown – Rabbi Jacobs on We Have Reason To Believe in Torah Min Hashamayim – is now available as a DVD via the ‘resources’ section.
Speakers – Rabbi Jeremy Gordon, Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Dr. Miri Freud-Kandel (author of Orthodox Judaism in Britain Since 1913: An Ideology Forsaken). Transcripts of the talks are available under our Controversy, Community and Politics section.
20th June 2007
1st Memorial Lecture given by Rabbi Professor Marc Saperstein at the New London Synagogue. Posted to About Rabbi Jacobs.
1st March 2007
STONESETTING Feb. 25th 2007 – Address by Rabbi Wittenberg at the Stonestting of Rabbi and Mrs Jacobs who died eight months apart. To read more, go to our About Rabbi Jacobs section.
28th January 2007
OU Course – Man’s Religious Quest, from 1977. Posted to General Interest.
28th January 2007
RELIGIOUS STUDIES – Harry M. Orlinsky. Essays in Biblical Culture and Bible Translation. Posted to reviews by LJ.
27th January 2007
THE PHILOSOPHY of the Mitzvot. Transcript of a lecture in 1983 to the Masorati Association at The London Business School. Posted to General Interest.
21st January 2007
First posting for a while but hope to post many more soon. When Magicians Get in a Pickle Over Cucumbers – an article written for the Masorti Journal 1993. Posted to General Interest section.
30th November 2006
The Assembly of Masorti Synagaogues held a symposium on January 21st 1993 entitled ‘The US and Us, a Friendly Response to the Kalms Report on the United Synagogue.” For a digest of the views expressed by the three Rabbi particiapants, see our Controversy section
17th November 2006
Various entries in the new ‘THE CONTROVERSY’ section.
17th November 2006
Induction Sermon at New West End 1954 – posted to General Interest section.
16th November 2006
THE CONTROVERSY – A new main section has been added. First article from MOSAIC 1964
16th November 2006
THE LEVIN INTERVIEW 1966 – Posted to About Rabbi Jacobs
30th October 2006
Added review articles.
30th October 2006
THE PROBLEM OF PLAQUES – Posted to General Interest.
26th October 2006
THE CAPTIVE IN OUR MIDST? – Posted to About Rabbi Jacobs. THERE IS NO PROBLEM Of Descent – Posted to General Interest section. ZIONISM After 100 Years: Proceedings of the 1981 Convention – RABBI LOUIS JACOBS – Posted to this section.
23rd October 2006
JEWISH NATIONAL Consciousness in Anglo-Jewry. Posted to this section. NORMAN SOLOMON. REVIEW FROM
Journal of Jewish Studies Vol 52, No 1, Spring 2001. DAVID WEISS HALIVNI, Revelation Restored, LOUIS Jacobs, Beyond Reasonable Doubt, MENACHEM KELLNER. Must a Jew Believe Anything? posted to the Reference section of www.readingrabbijacobs.org.
22nd October 2006
THE SANCTION FOR THE MITZVOT – 1963 By Rabbi Louis Jacobs – posted to the Reference section of www.readingrabbijacobs.org. Please register on that site to view.
Oct 15th 2006
TORAH MIN HASHAMAYIM – Jonathan Sacks – from Le’ela 1995 – see Reference section of www.readingrabbijacobs.org
Oct 15th 2006
ReadingRabbiJacobs site – first reference article. Rabbi Yitzhak Schochet – an Orthodox view with a response by Rabbi Jacobs –
3rd October 2006
Posted to General Interest: Sermon preached at the New London Synagogue, 1st Day Rosh Ha-Shanah, 7th September, 1964. Revelation – Sermon preached at New London 1964. Posted to Reviews by Rabbi Jacobs: JEWISH ETHICS for the TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY – Byron Sherwin
27th September 2006
New articles posted to our section About Rabbi Jacobs: First Rosh Hashanah sermon preached at NLS 1964 – What We Stand For. Revelation – A statement of the Theological position of the NLS 1964. PULPITS Occupied, Munks, Central, New West End, New London. Neil Gilman on Louis Jacobs in the same section.
14th September 2006
Posted to this section – Review from the EXPOSITORY Times. Posted to this section – Article from Venture 1957 – The Modern Synagogue.
12th September 2006
Posted to this section – Review June 1957 of We Have Reason To Believe – Rabbi Abraham Cohen.
10th September 2006
Posted directly to BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT in Resources Books section – two reviews.
10th September 2006
Posted directly to ABOUT RABBI JACOBS – a few notes from sermons given at the New West End Synagogue in 1956.