Within Judaism there are a variety of movements, most of which emerged from Rabbinic Judaism, which holds that God revealed his laws and commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai in the form of both the Written and Oral Torah. Historically, all or part of this assertion was challenged by various groups such as the Sadducees and Hellenistic Judaism during the Second Temple period; the Karaites and Sabbateans during the early and later medieval period; and among segments of the modern non-Orthodox denominations. Modern branches of Judaism such as Humanistic Judaism may be nontheistic. Today, the largest Jewish religious movements are Orthodox Judaism (Haredi Judaism and Modern Orthodox Judaism), Conservative Judaism, and Reform Judaism. Major sources of difference between these groups are their approaches to Jewish law, the authority of the Rabbinic tradition, and the significance of the State of Israel. Orthodox Judaism maintains that the Torah and Jewish law are divine in origin, eternal and unalterable, and that they should be strictly followed. Conservative and Reform Judaism are more liberal, with Conservative Judaism generally promoting a more traditionalist interpretation of Judaism's requirements than Reform Judaism. A typical Reform position is that Jewish law should be viewed as a set of general guidelines rather than as a set of restrictions and obligations whose observance is required of all Jews. Historically, special courts enforced Jewish law; today, these courts still exist but the practice of Judaism is mostly voluntary. Authority on theological and legal matters is not vested in any one person or organization, but in the sacred texts and the rabbis and scholars who interpret them.
Beth Hamedrash Hagadol is an Orthodox congregation that was, for over 120 years, located in a historic synagogue building at 60–64 Norfolk Street in Manhattan, New York, on the Lower East Side. It was the first Eastern European congregation founded in New York City and the oldest Orthodox Russian Jewish congregation in the United States. Founded in 1852 by Rabbi Abraham Ash as Beth Hamedrash, it split in 1859, with the rabbi and the bulk of the members renaming their congregation Beth Hamedrash Hagadol. Rabbi Jacob Joseph, the first and only Chief Rabbi of New York City, led the congregation from 1888 to 1902 . The congregation's building, a Gothic Revival structure built in 1850 and purchased in 1885, was one of the largest synagogues on the Lower East Side, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. In the late twentieth century the congregation dwindled and was unable to maintain the building, which had been damaged by storms. Despite funding and grants, the structure was critically endangered. As of 2008[update] the Lower East Side Conservancy was trying to raise an estimated $4.5 million for repairs, with the intent of converting it to an educational center. (Read more...)
The Hurva Synagogue is a historic synagogue located in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. Founded in the early 18th century by followers of Judah he-Hasid, it was destroyed by Muslims a few years later in 1721. The plot lay in ruins for over 140 years and became known as the Ruin, or Hurva. In 1864, the Perushim rebuilt the synagogue, and although officially named the Beis Yaakov Synagogue, it retained its name as the Hurva. It became Jerusalem's main Ashkenazic synagogue, until it too was deliberately destroyed by the Arab Legion, hours after the withdrawal of the Israeli forces during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.
After Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967, a number of plans were submitted for the design of a new building. After years of deliberation and indecision, a commemorative arch was erected instead at the site in 1977, itself becoming a prominent landmark of the Jewish Quarter. The plan to rebuild the synagogue in its 19th-century style received approval by the Israeli Government in 2000, and the newly rebuilt synagogue was dedicated on March 15, 2010. (Read more...)
“Moses spoke to the Lord, saying, ‘Let the Lord, Source of the breath of all flesh, appoint someone over the community . . . so that the Lord’s community may not be like sheep that have no shepherd.’” (Numbers 27:15-17.)
God announced that because Phinehas had displayed his passion for God, God granted Phinehas God’s pact of friendship and priesthood for all time. God then told Moses to attack the Midianites to repay them for their trickery luring Israelite men to worship Baal-Peor.
The text notes parenthetically that when Korah's band agitated against God, the earth swallowed them up with Korah, but Korah’s sons did not die. God told Moses to apportion shares of the land according to population among those counted, and by lot. The Levite men aged a month old and up amounted to 23,000, and they were not included in the regular enrollment of Israelites, as they were not to have land assigned to them. Among the persons whom Moses and Eleazar enrolled was not one of those enrolled in the first census at the wilderness of Sinai, except Caleb and Joshua.
The daughters of Zelophehad approached Moses, Eleazar, the chieftains, and the assembly at the entrance of the Tabernacle, saying that their father left no sons, and asking that they be given a land holding. Moses brought their case before God, who told him that their plea was just and instructed him to transfer their father’s share of land to them. God further instructed that if a man died without leaving a son, the Israelites were to transfer his property to his daughter, or failing a daughter to his brothers, or failing a brother to his father’s brothers, or failing brothers of his father to the nearest relative.
God told Moses to climb the heights of Abarim and view the Land of Israel, saying that when he had seen it, he would die, because he disobeyed God’s command to uphold God’s sanctity in the people’s sight when he brought water from the rock in the wilderness of Zin. Moses asked God to appoint someone over the community, so that the Israelites would not be like sheep without a shepherd. God told Moses to single out Joshua, lay his hand on him, and commission him before Eleazar and the whole community. Joshua was to present himself to Eleazar the priest, who was to seek the decision of the Urim and Thummim on whether to go out or come in.