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State of the Jews 
Rabbi Yaakov Emdan: What Happens to the Father Happens to the Son
Few rabbis have been willing to open up their inner, personal worlds like the exceptional character of Rabbi Yaakov Emdan, one of the most important rabbis of the 18th century. On the one hand, he staunchly defended the tradition and hounded those he considered to be steering away from it. On the other, he is considered to bone of the forerunners of the Jewish Enlightenment. Dr. Eli Freiman writes about Emdan and his unique autobiography in which he exposes his personal life and his motives for public activity read more>
Avraham Shlonsky
13.06.2011, by Reflections
Avraham Shlonsky—poet, editor, translator, playwright, and publicist—was recognized during his lifetime as one of the giants of the revival of Hebrew culture. This is precisely why Rani Jaeger writes that Shlonsky was doomed to the fate typical of individuals who become symbols (like Herzl as “the visionary of the State” and Bialik as “the national poet”), which overshadows the complexity of their creation. read more>
Abraham Sutzkever: The Greatest Israeli Yiddish Poet
10.11.2010, by Reflections 11
Few Israelis know the name of Abraham Sutzkever, who lived amongst them from his immigration in 1947 until his death this year. Sutzkever, who was extracted from the forests of occupied Vilna in a Soviet airplane after his son and mother were murdered, brought the remnants of the cultural treasures of Lithuanian Jewry with him to Israel, settled in Tel Aviv and continued to create and write in Yiddish for the rest of his life. The language that made him one of Israel’s greatest poets, writes Miriam Trin, is also what served as a barrier between him and his countrymen. read more>
Hans Jonas: Technology, Kabbalah and the Holocaust
09.11.2010, by Ron Margolin
Few people in Israel remember Hans Jonas, one of the most important and fascinating of the Jewish philosophers. Jonas was a student of Martin Heidegger who fled to Palestine when the Nazis came to power. He fought in the Jewish Brigade and in the War of Independence and became one of the leading thinkers behind the growth of the European Green movement. Professor Ron Margolin reviews the life of Hans Jonas, who combined thoughts on technology and biology with the Holocaust and the Ari’s Kabbalah. Unfortunately, a position could not be found for Hans Jonas at a university in Israel read more>
Abraham Abulafia
29.07.2010, by
The kabbalist Abraham Abulafia journeyed to the Land of Israel at the age of 18, following the invasion of the Mongolians, risked his life attempting to meet the Pope, declared himself a prophet and Messiah, and was ultimately banned and isolated. Professor Moshe Idel’s survey clarifies how even amongst self-declared messiahs, the 13th century Abulafia was a unique figure; his thought focused on individual rather than national redemption and his techniques integrated intellectual and physical elements, some of which recall Eastern schools of thought read more>
The Wondrous Trembling of the Soul
Many years prior to the crisis in the kibbutz movement, David Maletz wrote of an individual’s sorrow and loneliness in a society that preaches sharing and collectivization. “Maletz’s prominent status as one of the founders of Kibbutz Ein Harod did not overshadow his humanism and even made him more sensitive to the voice of the individual,” according to Professor Avi Sagi. Today, more than ever, Maletz’s writings - which raise numerous questions and shatter many dichotomies - are essential to the Israeli-Jewish discourse read more>
For L’ag B’Omer: Rabbi Shmuel Heller: The Forgotten Leader of Safed
30.05.2010, by Shalom Hartman Institute
While prominent Ashkenazi rabbis of the 19th century opposed the revelry (hilula) around the grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi) in Meron on Lag B’Omer, Rabbi Shmuel Heller saw this celebration as a continuation of an authentic tradition in the Land of Israel. Heller, a leader of the forgotten ultra-Orthodox school of the Land of Israel, believed it possible to work in the fields and still maintain an Orthodox Jewish life. Rivka Embon describes the figure of a leader who permitted marriage to a second in cases when the first wife refused to live in the Holy Land read more>
Weekly Shabbat talks by Emmanuel Levinas
The philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas, who was both a philosopher and an educator and one of the founders of modern Jewish thought, has in recent years received increasing interest in Israel and his translated works have become bestsellers. Less well-known is his educational activity among the Jews of France. Eli Schonfeld describes one of Levinas` unique educational projects which involved short talks on Rashi every Shabbat morning at the Jewish high school in Paris where he was the principal. This tradition continued for close to three decades and left a strong impression on numerous generations of students. read more>
What Did Poetry Give Ibn Gvirol That Philosophy Could Not?
19.01.2010, by
Shlomo Ibn Gvirol is known as a wonderful poet and an influential philosopher, writes Menachem Lorberbaum. However, while his philosophical writing deals with the importance of the human journey towards perfection using the intellect, poetry allowed him to relate to the materiality of the human body. On the tension between writing philosophy and writing poetry, and the complexity of the author’s world. read more>

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