As the year 2021 comes to a close, the Lehrhaus team is delighted to highlight many of the thought-provoking essays we’ve published. The Lehrhaus remains the center for conversations and ideas in the Modern Orthodox community and beyond.
This year, we have collaborated with a diverse array of incredible thinkers and writers to consistently publish over 100 original articles, reviews, and thought pieces on wide-ranging topics. We also hired a new social media manager, Max Hollander, who is already taking our online presence to the next level.
In honor of our accomplishments, we are proud to reshare a series of popular articles that showcase the breadth and depth of what Lehrhaus has offered this past year.
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Our Year in Review series begins with a powerful retrospective piece. On the anniversary of the March 11th lockdown, Mijal Bitton and Elana Stein Hain examined the communal response to mikveh during COVID-19, exploring the experiences of women who chose to use—or not use—the mikveh during this time, and offering constructive recommendations for the future.
We continue our Year in Review series with another important date on the calendar. As Daf Yomi reached Tractate Shekalim, Harvard fellow Tamara Morsel-Eisenberg offered an erudite answer to the question: What is Yerushalmi Shekalim doing in the Babylonian Talmud?
In memory of various Torah personalities that we lost this past year and in recent times, check out the powerful tributes by Ben Elton (R. Jonathan Sacks), Matt Lubin (R. Yehuda Kelemer), David Landes (R. Aharon Lichtenstein), and Moshe Kurtz (R. Moshe Tendler).
Looking further back, Moshe Simon-Shoshan shed new light on the Rav’s approach to pluralism and academic Jewish studies.
In honor of the yahrtzeit of Dolce, the wife of Rabbi Eleazar of Worms, Chaya Sima Koenigsberg explored Rabbi Eleazar’s moving elegy for his wife and reflected upon Dolce’s character as a model for Koenigsberg’s own life and the lives of Jewish women today.
As we transitioned from 2020 to 2021, a number of Lehrhaus authors began to take stock of how COVID has affected Modern Orthdoxy. Following the arrival of vaccines, Judah Kerbel grappled with the new post-COVID reality for synagogues, prompting thoughtful responses by Yechiel Shaffer, Sruly Motzen, and Yaakov Jaffe.
Similarly, Ezra Schwartz examined competing trends toward decentralization of synagogue life and centralization of halakhic decision-making that have been reshaping the Modern Orthodox world; this piece spurred incisive rejoinders by Nati Helfgot and Jeff Fox.
Another series of conversations on the Lehrhaus this year began with a provocative thought piece by Steve Gotlib, our former social media manager, exploring Modern Orthodoxy’s strengths and weaknesses with regard to kiruv. This article prompted our first ever letters to the editor by Moshe Kurtz and Simon Levy, and the exchange led to a Facebook live event with Yair Lichtman viewed by hundreds of people.
Finally, we conclude our Year in Review series with two imaginative pieces. The zogerke or firzogerin, once the vernacular translator in the women’s section of the synagogue, has faded into distant memory; Dalia Wolfson reimagined her for our times. Reading R. Eliezer b. Hyrcanus and Shammai through an autistic lens, Liz Shayne explored how uncompromising, righteous anger can find a place in the beit midrash.