Call & Responsa: Rabbinic Commentary
The video and commentary Series Call & Responsa engages Hartman Institute scholars with leading North American rabbis in a public and interactive exchange about issues affecting the Jewish people worldwide.
Each edition of Call & Responsa features a video segment from a Hartman scholar (the “Call”) that sets out a view of the challenges facing the Jewish world in Israel and elsewhere. Paired with the video is original commentary by leading rabbis on the issues raised (the “Responsas”).
The Call: How Do We Find a Torah for a Jewish Democracy?
Donniel Hartman: How do we find a Torah for a Jewish democracy which recognizes that Israel cannot be Jewish merely by the fact that it is the nation-state of the Jews? Israel is not going to be the United States or Canada of the Middle East, where Jews are a majority. The model of separation is not one they are going to accept.
If Israel wants to think of Judaism not in terms of a nation-state, where a nation-state is only Jews…there cannot be one sub-community. You actually have to recognize there are multiple sub-communities, each with their own sensitivities and sensibilities, each of which has to have their own rabbinate.
Sarah Mulhern, Shalom Hartman Institute, New York
I want to see Israel take the Torah of Shabbat seriously. The practices we have developed are gifts to humanity and deeply radical, and the Jewish state should pay attention. Read more
Aaron Brusso, Bet Torah, Mt. Kisco, NY
The tragedy would be if, after seeing our multicolored beauty, we chose to enslave ourselves by requiring uniformity of identity and practice under the banner of one chieftain. Read more
Avital Hochstein, Shalom Hartman Institute, Israel
Being the majority and having Jewish sovereignty are new experiences for Jews, even after 70 years of having a state. As we mark this anniversary, we have a lot of work ahead of us. Read more
Shraga Bar-On, Hartman Institute, Jerusalem
I don’t believe we should give up the aspiration to shape a full Jewish culture with a Jewish parliament, health system, foreign affairs, and courts, just because of the challenges we face. Read more
Baruch Frydman-Kohl, Beth Tzedec, Toronto
Respect religious diversity in Israeli society and move toward a public conversation that emphasizes managing a conflict, rather than deciding it through legal or legislative systems. Read more