Chaim Brovender sees in Rembrandt’s art a message for our humanity: Rembrandt telegraphs to us that each person’s individual identity cannot be suppressed. Each one’s face is unique and meaningful. Each figure is not quite like anyone else, and recalls to our minds the midrashic observation: “Just as no two people resemble one another, so no two people think alike. Rather, each person has an opinion of his own.”
Following Chaim Waxman’s expression of pessimism regarding the current role of great works of Western literature in the Orthodox world, Yitzchak Blau strikes a more optimistic note arguing for the significance of this literature – and the live possibility of encouraging our students to read it.
Addressing the many challenges facing the contemporary Orthodox rabbinate, time and again R. Norman Lamm returned to the foundational, sometimes conflicting, dual obligations of Ahavat ha-Torah and Ahavat Yisrael. The primary challenge is to produce a self-confident, strong Rabbinate that will empower its members to fulfill their complex calling, while meeting the challenge to balance the unrelenting truth of Torah, with hesed – loving-kindness toward all Jews. Benjamin J. Samuels explores R. Lamm’s vision of the rabbinate, its challenges and opportunities, in his contribution to the “Rabbi Lamm Memorial Volume” (open access).
Dalya Koller writes on Joni Mitchell’s “Blue”: Being pulled in multiple directions and towards multiple homelands — what it feels like to have one leg in multiple countries at once — this theme of a dual homeland is an integral and historical aspect of the experience of a diaspora Jew. “Blue” teaches that this feeling of duality isn’t exclusive to Jews.