Showing posts from January, 2016

From Sinai to Ethiopia

From Sinai To Ethiopia Rabbi Dr. Sharon Shalom Gefen / 300 pages
Sharon Shalom’s book, From Sinai to Ethiopia, is a fascinating and unprecedented look into the halachic challenges facing Ethiopian Jews as they continue to struggle for integration into Israel's social and religious society. 
Sharon is a musmach of Yeshivat Har Etzion, received a Ph.D. from Bar Ilan university, and leads a congregation in Kiryat Gat where he lives. He is one of the gentlest and patient people I have ever met (well, spoken to on the phone and emailed…we hope to meet face to face soon!) who is working with all his heart toward helping Ethiopian Jews find their places within normative Judaism.The author’s intention is to support the spiritual authenticity and respect for Ethiopian Jewish customs and he works valiantly in an attempt to do so. Pluralism, acceptance, tolerance and mutual respect are the dominate themes of every page. It is the first book that I have ever seen with both rabbinic and kahenic ha…

Sexuality and Jewish Law

Sexuality and Jewish Law Yaakov Shapiro 430 pages
In his Sexuality and Jewish Law, Yaakov Shapiro, an ordained rabbi and non-conformist Lubavitcher chassid, offers a thorough, unapologetic, and uncensored presentation of everything relating to sexual activity and Jewish law. 
All rabbinic texts that deal with sexual matters are cited along with the interpretations and comments of all the relevant rishonim, achronim, and poskim. There is also a full presentation of the various halachic opinions and resolutions to the contradictions between them. The exhaustive endnotes are essentially an additional book in their own right.
While the book is extremely well researched and impressive in its scope, the author clearly has an agenda and bone to pick. As he writes in the introduction, the book was born out of a bad experience and frustrations with what he was being taught in chattan classes and the “one-sided” approach to the laws of intimacy. The author seeks to put an end to the strain, fe…