11/8/17

My Judaic studies books (9 Kindle books) are free for 5 days - hurry

My Judaic studies books (9 Kindle books) are free - from Friday 11/9 thru Monday 11/13, for 5 days. I haven't offered this promotion for quite a while. Grab this deal! Tell your friends!

11/5/17

Maimonides Films from Israel - 2017: The Great Eagle - in three parts

A new set of professional documentaries about the great Sephardic rabbi Moses ben Maimon, Maimonides. Approximately three hours. A valuable course of study with scholars and interviews and travels.

בפרק הראשון חייו המוקדמים של הרמב"ם, מלידתו בקורדובה (ספרד של היום), הבריחה למרוקו התאסלמותו בכפייה והגעתו לארץ ישראל.

הפרק השני מלווה את חייו של הרמב"ם במצרים בה חיבר את ספר ההלכה המונומנטלי "משנה תורה" אשר ממשיך להשפיע על חיינו עד עצם היום הזה.

הפרק השלישי עוסק ב"מורה נבוכים" ספר הפילוסופיה אותו כתב הרמב"ם אשר נותר שנוי במחלוקת ומציב שאלות קשות ליהדות בת ימינו אנו.

Chapter One


Chapter Two


Chapter Three



11/2/17

Is Kevin Spacey Jewish?

No, Kevin Spacey is not a Jew.

Spacey plays the disgraced lobbyist and Orthodox Jew, Jack Abramoff in the 2010 film, Casino Jack. At the original web site for that film you could take a "Test" to find out how corrupt you are.

Spacey has already been nominated for this role, a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.

Previously Spacey played the Jewish attorney Ron Klain in the HBO film, Recount. Klain was Al Gore's chief of staff in the White House and General Counsel to Al Gore's recount committee after the 2000 election.

Spacey was born in South Orange, New Jersey, the son of Kathleen Ann, a secretary, and Thomas Geoffrey Fowler, a technical writer and data consultant. According to rumor, Spacey's father was an antiSemite.

Spacey has been accused in 2017 of the sexual harassment of a 14 year old boy in 1986.

My Dear Rabbi Zahavy Talmudic Advice Column for November 2017: How can I find Jewish ways to be meaningfully and mindfully meditative?

Dear Rabbi Zahavy
Your Talmudic Advice Column
The Times of Israel - Jewish Standard

Dear Rabbi Zahavy,

At my health club I have joined a class in meditation. We practice techniques of breathing and mindfulness and achieve tangible positive physical and mental results. In the past, I have associated meditation with spiritual movements. So why can’t I find more of it in my Jewish contexts? What can I do to become a more meditative Jew?

Distractedly Seeking Spirituality in Demarest


Dear Seeking,

If you seek properly, you can find many meditative opportunities in our Jewish practices. Our traditions are rich in interior modes of spiritual expression. I practice Jewish meditations throughout the day, and not just at times of prayer.

There are many resources available. Teaneck’s Len Moskowitz offers meditation training at nearby Yeshiva University. Books by Aryeh Kaplan and others have been popular for years. In Brooklyn, Jerusalem, and elsewhere you can find many Jewish meditation teachers and groups.

The main shortcomings of such options is that they assume that to practice Jewish meditation, you must learn peripheral kabbalistic texts or seek practices outside of the regular cycle of Jewish rituals.

I believe that need not be the case. A person can become an adept meditation practitioner within the regular daily practices of our religious communities.

Let me give you some background, and then tell you how I have developed and integrated my mindful Jewish practices.

10/5/17

My Dear Rabbi Zahavy Talmudic Advice Column for October 2017: Is Israel Anti-Semitic and Is there an Afterlife?

Dear Rabbi Zahavy
Your Talmudic Advice Column
The Times of Israel - Jewish Standard

Dear Rabbi Zahavy,

My neighbor is Jewish, but from many of the things he says about Jews and Israel, I think he is an anti-Semite, who expresses antagonism towards anyone who is not an Orthodox Jew. Lately he has invoked the policies of the State of Israel towards the non-Orthodox to support his attitudes.

First, how is that possible – that a Jew can be such an open anti-Semite? And more important, what can I say or do to bring this person back in line?

Buffering the Bigot in Bergenfield

Dear Buffering,

Yes, it is a terrible fact that a Jew can be an anti-Semite.

9/29/17

Are Crocs shoes permitted on Yom Kippur?

I recall posting this in 2009 - and now I have Croc-like shoes that I plan to wear in a few hours to shul for Kol Nidre on Yom Kippur. My shoes are quite comfortable.

It's my impression that the brouhaha of 2009 over this issue has faded away and now it is permitted to wear these shoes on Yom Kipur.

Here is my post from 2009.............. Enjoy! ... Gmar Hatimah Tovah to all!

The Internet is buzzing with the late breaking news that a prominent Orthodox rabbi has banned croc-wearing on Yom Kippur because the shoes made from lightweight, antimicrobial foam are too comfortable, even though they contain no leather.

Crocs have sold 100 million pairs in seven years. Of late, the company that makes them is rumored to be in bad financial straights.

We have never owned or worn crocs. We checked with a relative of ours, who prefers to remain anonymous, who informs us that he has worn crocs on several occasions and that they gave him blisters each time. Apparently, the rabbi has been misinformed as to the comfort of the crocs brand of shoes.

We do not issue on this blog religious rulings for others to follow. But we can tell you that it is our informed opinion that if we were to wear crocs on Yom Kippur we could rest assured that we had not violated any prohibition in the Torah.

Rav Elyashiv: Crocs Should Not Be Worn On Yom Kippur

rav-elyashiv1crocsThe posek hador, Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, has ruled that Crocs should not be worn on Yom Kippur. Matzav.com had actually reported this ruling of Rav Elyashiv before Tisha B’Av (see here), but now the p’sak has been reported in Bakehillah and various news outlets. The p’sak is based on the fact that the issur to wear leather shoes on Yom Kippur is because they are considered the most comfortable footwear and are therefore included as one of the five prohibitions, or inuyim, of Yom Kippur. Thus, Crocs which are especially comfortable, ruled Rav Elyashiv, should similarly not be worn.

Israeli Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger and others had previous ruled that Crocs are allowed on Yom Kippur, even though they are comfortable, because they are not made of leather. They say that in the past, as mentioned, the prohibition on wearing leather shoes was because they were considered the most comfortable, and therefore, they claim that just because nowadays rubber shoes are no less comfortable, they, and similar sport shoes, are permitted.

The posek hador has disagreed, however, and has ruled that comfort must be considered, and therefore, Crocs, which are worn for their extreme comfort, should preferably not be worn on Yom Kippur.

See Matzav.com’s earlier report here which contains the views of Rav Moshe Shternbuch and others.

9/17/17

Online Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Kol Nidre services, on Video, on a Live Webcast for 5778

Our sincere and heartfelt best wishes to all our readers for a Year of Blessing and Health, Prosperity and Good Cheer.

Rosh Hashanah 5778 - 2017 falls on Thursday, the 21st of September and will continue for 2 days.

Yom Kippur 5778 - 2017 falls on Saturday, the 30th of September.

From Central Synagogue in NYC come Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur online services and videos. Scroll down to find the feed and schedule. See the LIVE webcast of Kol Nidre service this year.

The 92nd Street Y also plans a webcast of services.

Rabbis on videos at various places discuss atonement and repentance. There also are holiday video recipes for tzimmes, honey cake and tagelach that you can find online.

And see Video-streamed Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Services.

In these coming Days of Awe all of this is good nourishment for the soul.



Purchase some of these wonderful books for the holidays.


From Amazon for Kindle: The Book of Jewish New Year Prayers in English: The Rosh Hashanah Machzor


You should be interested in my Kindle book from Amazon
 L'Shanah Tovah - Happy New Year
The Book of Jewish New Year Prayers in English: The Rosh Hashanah Machzor
The Book of Jewish New Year Prayers in English: The Rosh Hashanah Machzor
by Tzvee Zahavy
  Learn more  
Amazon.com
Connect with us Facebook Twitter Pinterest


8/31/17

My Dear Rabbi Zahavy Talmudic Advice Column for September 2017 - Why Koreans Study Talmud and Why Yom Kippur Fasting Matters

My Dear Rabbi Zahavy Talmudic Advice Column for September 2017 - Why Koreans Study Talmud and Why Yom Kippur Fasting Matters

Dear Rabbi Zahavy,

I read that every South Korean child studies Talmud in school. I can’t imagine that is the case. Should I believe rumors like that? Why would the Koreans do that?

Wondering in Weehawken about the Seoul Talmud

Dear Wondering,

To the point, yes, it is true that Talmud is popular in Korea, but the why is complicated. (To be clear, we aren’t talking about North Korea here, for sure.)

To confirm a rumor like this use a rule of thumb: If it sounds sketchy, it probably is false. You should research the question. In this case, the report is true, though maybe not entirely what you think.

A 2015 New Yorker article spelled out nicely how this cross-cultural scenario unfolded. (The story is “How the Talmud Became a Best-Seller in South Korea,” by Ross Arbes.) Check out the essay. You will find that it is true in part. In part, it is not true that the Koreans study Talmud.

They study Jewish sources that come from the Talmud, which is a massive 1,500-year-old book of Jewish laws, stories, folklore, argumentation, and interpretations. Korean teachers engage their children in debating and analysis exercises that they call talmudic. But their version of the Talmud is highly popularized and adapted for their cultural context. Many Koreans also learn parts of basic Jewish rituals, like reciting the Shema.