Celebrations of Modern-Day Judaism

Among many others, three sample events that have taken or will be taking place in December and January show the versatility and dynamism of contemporary Orthodox Judaism.

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Hillel Fendel, | updated: 15:34

The Jerusalem Talmud
Two institutions - the Jerusalem Institute and the Shilo Institute - hosted a symposium last week highlighting the "Relevance of the Jerusalem Talmud in Modern Times." The Jerusalem Talmud, like the more well-known Babylonian Talmud, includes the explanations and teachings of Sages from the third to sixth centuries C.E. on the Six Orders of the Mishna.

The Jerusalem Institute is the publisher of a new edition of the Jerusalem Talmud with its own unique commentary, Or LaYesharim (Light Unto the Righteous), based on a comparative study of the two Talmuds. The commentary has received accolades from many scholars, including former Chief Rabbis Mordechai Eliyahu and Avraham Shapira.

The Jerusalem Talmud scholars seek to bring out the wisdom thereof, in fulfillment of the Medrashic teaching, "There is no Torah like the Torah of the Land of Israel and no wisdom like the wisdom of the Land of Israel."

Participating in the seminar in Ramat Beit Shemesh were Rabbi Avraham Blass, head of the Jerusalem Institute; Rabbi Moshe Pinchuk, head of the Seeking Zion Institute, and Rabbi David Bar-Hayim, head of the Shilo Institute and Deputy Court Head of the nascent Sanhedrin. "We hope this will be the first of many events that will reacquaint the public with the hidden jewel that is the Jerusalem Talmud," Rabbi Bar-Hayim said.

Bnei Akiva
World Bnei Akiva will be holding its 11th International Conference in Israel next week. Leaders of the movement and over 200 shlichim (emissaries) from around the world will be in attendance. The themes of the event: Pioneering and Strengthening the North.

The main event will take place on Monday, Jan. 8, at the Jerusalem Theatre, and will feature a reunion of Bnei Akiva veterans and friends, a performance on Pioneering, and a salute to long-time member and former government minister Yoske Shapira (nephew of R. Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, the Grand Piasetzno (Pisetchneh) Rebbe).

The Conference will also be traveling to Haifa, Nahariya and Tzfat in solidarity with the local northern residents who suffered through a war-torn summer. They will spend the Sabbath in Kfar HaRoeh near Hadera, plant trees in the historical Masuot Yitzchak forest in Gush Etzion, visit expelled Gush Katif residents in Yad Binyamin, hold deliberations in Jerusalem, and lay the foundation stone of the new World Center of Bnei Akiva in Givat Mordechai, Jerusalem.

Bnei Akiva seeks to empower and inspire Jewish youth with a deep commitment to the Nation of Israel, the Land of Israel, and the Torah of Israel. Its motto is Torah V'Avodah, standing for the combining of Torah study and observance with active contribution to the Jewish people in advancing the rebirth of the Jewish nation on its Land.

16th Annual World Conference on Monetary Matters in Jewish Law
Rabbi Ratzon Arousi, the unofficial Chief Rabbi of the Yemenite community in Israel and the Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Ono, is the President of this conference. Taking place in Jerusalem, this year's edition is dealing largely with "Jewish Financial Law During War Time."

Among the questions dealt with at the conference are the definition of a "national calamity." Rabbi Arousi explained to Arutz-7's Uzi Baruch two questions that arose in this context:
"A tenant paid a high rent for a store in the north this summer, expecting a high volume of business. However, because of the war, buyers stayed away - and the renter asked for a partial return of his rent money. In another case, a rented apartment was damaged by a rocket. It turns out that based on the definition of 'national calamity' - where most of the houses or fields are affected - the rulings in these cases are different.

"In the first case, since business in the entire area is affected, the renter is not to be held [totally] liable, and the owner must bear his share of the responsibility. But in the case of the specific apartment that was damaged, since most of the apartments were not damaged, it is fully the renter's liability and not the owner's."

"The goal is to show how the Torah of Israel is a living document," Rabbi Arousi said, "with a response to every situation. We are enriching the treasure of Jewish Law, and identify with the desire to once again make the Torah's laws the law of the land."