Copying Cruciform Churches, Campanas, Circuses and Colosseums

We recently mentioned in passing Rav Zvi Hirsch (Maharaz) Hajes’s prohibition of bell ringing to gather the populace for prayer; here is his discussion in full. He begins by prohibiting the deliberate construction of octagonal, and certainly quadrilateral, synagogue buildings, “in the form of the halls of the nations” [perhaps a reference to the cruciform […]

Of Mentors, Metaphor, Memory and Meno

To L.O. and M., on the former’s birth day. There is a famous Jewish tradition that a baby is taught the entire Torah in utero by an angel; its most authoritative source is this passage from the Talmud Bavli – Nidah: דרש רבי שמלאי למה הולד דומה במעי אמו לפנקס שמקופל ומונח ידיו על שתי […]

Judaism on Jihad

From a recent Salon.com profile of the very brave, or very foolish, Faizan Peerzada, a Pakistani Muslim theater promoter whose operations have been the target of multiple bombings: Faizan Peerzada seems to derive some of the strength to function in this security environment from his spirituality, which is suffused with mystical Muslim traditions. He is […]