LET’S ASK THE RABBI
When we began our weekly OzTorah emails years ago we did not realise how popular they would become, not only in Australia but worldwide. The pattern has remained the same – divrei Torah on the weekly sidra and the festivals as they fall, plus an “Ask the Rabbi” feature dealing with a huge range of Jewish and global issues – but the readership and response have grown amazingly.
The material is syndicated and used in journals as diverse as “The Australian Jewish News” and “Torah Tidbits”, the weekly publication of the Israel Center of the American Orthodox Union. Rabbis in various communities quote us from the pulpit and in their synagogue bulletins, not always with acknowledgement. One rabbi even lost his job because his president complained that he had no ideas of his own and had to use mine!
People constantly asked when I was going to make a book out of selections from OzTorah – and finally I have done it: over 300 pages of “Ask the Rabbi” answers listed from A (“Abortion”) to Z (“Zionism”).
I think it’s a good piece of writing, but then I’m biased. I believe it’s a moral voice in an uncertain society, bringing Jewish wisdom to bear on dozens of issues of current concern.
Readers often ask, “Are they real questions you deal with in OzTorah, or do you make them up?” The answer is, “Some of each”. But all are real questions in the sense that they show what has exercised thinking minds over these two decades – climate change, cloning, politics, whistleblowing and many more.
None of the answers are pontifications from a papal chair. They arise out of real problems and though I do my best to apply my Jewish and general knowledge and experience, I am still agonising over many issues and am not always able to find definitive answers.
How good I am as a spiritual and ethical guide, others will have to judge. (A Christian journalist once told me he wished I was an archbishop!) Readers of “Let’s Ask the Rabbi” will decide for themselves whether I have brought them help, comfort and inspiration.