Author: Harvey Belovski

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A long-awaited trip to Israel

My second daughter, Tehilloh, is very excited, as in about a month, God willing, she and I will be spending eight days together in Israel. She will become Bat Mitzvah at the end of...

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The place of a non-believing Jew

At a simchah recently, I bumped into the father of an old friend, whom I hadn’t seen for many years. Charlie was always known as a forthright person, and it was good to see...

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Rabbi in Israel – War in Gaza

I am sitting in the National Library at the Hebrew University on the third day of a visit to Israel. I am in here to catch up with young people from my community who...

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Colour Among The Black Hats?

The students of a prominent Eastern-European rabbi were about to join him to light the Chanukah lamp. The rabbi noticed a broom near the window next to his Menorah and asked for it to...

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Statues in Montreux

A few days ago, I visited Montreux, a small Swiss town by Lake Geneva. It is picturesque, temperate, and while there are plenty of tourist shops, parts of the town are pretty up-market. It...

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The Pope and Praying in Hebrew

The London Times reports that the Catholic Church is discussing reintroducing the Latin Mass largely abandoned in the aftermath of Vatican II. See here for details. Apparently, the Pope is writing to every seminary...

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Pesach Questions 5768

Most communal rabbis find that Pesach is the time of year that generates more questions from congregants than any other. This year, amid the usual (important, but easily answered) ‘how do I kasher my...

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Haggadah – Two Views

The very word הגדה (Haggadah) conjures up wonderful memories of Sedarim past, reliving the story of the Exodus with family, friends and students. It’s used to refer colloquially to the booklet — a compilation...

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If you prick us, do we not bleed?

Some pupils at the Yesodey Hatorah girls’ high school not too far from where I live have attracted UK and international news coverage (see, for example, here, here, here and here) over their refusal...

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Of Tu BiShevat And Esrogim

In many circles, it is common to daven on Tu BiShevat for a beautiful esrog to use during the coming Sukkos. There is even a special tefillah composed just for this purpose. The New...

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Modern Orthodox or Chassidic?

Last week, I was asked to make a shidduch (dating) enquiry, something that occurs on a very regular basis. For the uninitiated, a shidduch enquiry happens after someone I advise has been proposed a...

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Leading From Behind

This week’s Torah reading sees Yaakov at the end of his life dispensing blessings to each of his sons. There is a comparable passage right at the end of the Torah, in which Moshe...

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Un-hijacking Hanukah

Many of us will have come across presentations of Hanukah that portray it as the anniversary of the ultimate victory of Jewish history – that of Judaism over the secular culture of the time....

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Yippee: a Journey to Jewish Mazursky

‘Yippee: a Journey to Jewish Joy’ premiered at a special showing in London last week. At the end of the film, the middle-aged Jewish woman sitting a few seats away turned to me and...