Rabbi David Schneider’s Weekly Words of Wisdom 4: Mishpatim

mishpatim(Exodus 21-24)

First of all, an apology. I want to make it clear that in last week’s column when I said that the editor was a bare-faced liar I in no way meant he was a bare-faced liar. He’s not. He’s a very wise and judicious young man, the King Solomon of weekly Anglo-Jewish publications, who I’m sure will remember what the sages said: that one good word is worth a thousand poisonous ones. What are a thousand letters of complaints, a handful of libel actions and a threatened boycott by most if not all sections of the Jewish community compared to one letter of approval when that letter comes from no less a figure than Nelson Mandela? (more…)

Rabbi David Schneider’s Weekly Words of Wisdom 5: Terumah

(Exodus 25:1-27:19)

Last week I wrote about a quite amazing letter of support I’d received from one Nelson Mandela. This has prompted outrage from certain quarters, by which I mean a rival synagogue where the Rabbi, Rabbi F, has nothing better to do with his time because his congregation has dwindled to two elderly ladies and that meshuggener with one tooth who walks along Golders Green High Street with the sign saying “The End of the World Is Nigh. Clearance Sale: Everything Must Go!”

Rabbi F insists there is no way the Nelson Mandela would write me such a letter. (more…)

Book Review: Aaron Lansky “Outwitting History”; Dovid Katz “Words on Fire”

lansky

Is Yiddish the new rock’n’roll – at least as far as Jewish culture is concerned? Is Yiddish the new black? If it is, then one of the people responsible is undoubtedly Aaron Lansky, the founder of the National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachussetts. (more…)

Rabbi David Schneider’s Weekly Words of Wisdom 6: Tetzaveh

tetzaveh(Exodus 27:20-30:10)

What a wonderful week! “Happy are they that dwell in Thy house! They will ever be praising Thee!” And who are “they”?

“They” are not the editor of the Jewish Chronicle who insists I make it clear that I haven’t been receiving letters of support from Nelson Mandela. OK, oshamnu bogadnu, I made a mistake. On closer examination they’re from a man with terrible handwriting called Nathan Mandelbaum.  But they still count. (more…)

Rabbi David Schneider’s Weekly Words of Wisdom 7: Ki Sisa

ki sisa(Exodus 30:11 – 34:35)

It’s easy to criticize, to tell someone  “you’re no good”, “you smell like a drain”, “if your column doesn’t sort itself out in the next two weeks, I’m axing it, end-of-story”. But people who say such things, especially the last thing, should look at this week’s parsha, which deals with the Golden Calf.

Yes, I have occasionally lost focus in earlier columns, and yes, sometimes I have moved away from more traditional interpretations in favour of vicious name-calling and savage personal attacks, (more…)

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