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“Is There a Conflict Between Serving and Learning?”

Episode 26: “Is There a Conflict Between Serving and Learning?”

From the time of the establishment of Israel and through today, there has been a constant tension between the place and importance of military service in defense of the state and its inhabitants, and the important value of Torah study.

At times like these when the question again arises, perhaps the personal story of Rabbi Brander’s cousin, Tuvia Bier z”l can be used as an inspiration for a solution to this ongoing dilemma.

What do you think about the compromise?

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“Divided We Fall”

Episode 25: “Divided We Fall”

What’s the connection between the Jewish community of Chicago and the synagogue that saved the residents of Jerusalem’s Mekor Chaim neighborhood during the Arab Revolt between 1936 and 1939?

Does such a strong relationship still exist today?

Watch this week’s episode of “If These Stones Could Speak,” where OTS President and Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Kenneth Brander shares stories hidden in Israel’s past, to help us build a better future.

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“From Pain to Purpose”

Episode 24: “From Pain to Purpose”

How do you transform trauma into healing and growth?

Rabbi Brander shares an inspirational Jerusalem-based story of a Holocaust survivor, a clinic for people in need – and a meaningful legacy that continues to make a difference today in this week’s “If These Stones Could Speak”.

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“Being Kind, a Holy Ideal”

Episode 22: “Being Kind, a Holy Ideal”

One of the priestly families who worked in the Second Temple were given improved work conditions and through their burial place, they attained immortal recognition.

The family didn’t receive these things it because of “protekzia” or connections, but rather because of their kindness – which should serve as an example to us all.

What do we want to be remembered for in 2000 years?

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“When the Stones DO Speak”

Episode 22: “When the Stones DO Speak”

Use of innovative technological advances to examine ancient stones from the time of the First Temple corroborates the bibilical narrative. Is this good news for believers in the Torah? Do we really need new technology and scientific evidence to confirm our traditions and beliefs? Or do we act only upon our faith?

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“Sacred Space or Social Center?”

Episode 21: “Sacred Space or Social Center?”

What do you do in a synagogue?
We pray, of course!

So then why is it called a “synagogue” or “congregation”, and not a “house of prayer”?

And along those lines – what lessons can we learn from the ancient synagogue of Gamla? Watch this week’s episode to find out!

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“Building Blocks of Character”

Episode 20: “Building Blocks of Character“

Four elements: fire, water, air and earth.
Four holy cities: Jerusalem, Hebron, Tiberias and Safed.
And four holy letters in the name of God.
What is the relationship between them?

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“Jerusalem in our Hearts: Near and Far”

Episode 19: “Jerusalem in our Hearts: Near and Far”
What caused a small group of Jewish warriors in the Golan Heights, so far away from Jerusalem, to put their lives on the line and go to war against the mighty Roman army?

And what surprising message can each of us learn from their priorities today?

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“What is God’s Role in the Halakhic Process”

Episode 18: “What is God’s Role in the Halakhic Process”

An angel appears to you and teaches you Torah. Would you rule on matters of Jewish law in accordance to the revelation you received, or according to your own human interpretation? Rabbi Yosef Caro, author of the Shulchan Aruch, had an unequivocal position: human interpretation. How did he dare to approach Jewish law that way?

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“The Chamber of Silent Gifts”

Episode 17: “The Chamber of Silent Gifts”

How many of us think of the Beit HaMikdash as a place of chessed and acts of kindness?

In this week’s episode of Rabbi Kenneth Brander’s “If These Stones Could Speak,” a visit to an ancient site shows how the secret acts of kindness took place in the Holy Temple were replicated in the synagogues – and examines the implications for us today. 

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“Visioning What Others Don’t See”

Episode 16: “Visioning What Others Don’t See”

True Jewish leadership is leadership with a vision. Leadership that sees beyond the here and now.

What is the important message that Rabbi Akiva teaches us about today? And how can each of us see what has not yet happened?

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If These Stones Could Speak – “Why the Rabbi Wrote on Shabbat”

Episode 15: “Why the Rabbi Wrote on Shabbat”

Why did Rabbi Kalonymus insist on being buried outside of the Jewish cemetery – and without a tombstone?

How is his request related to the legend of a terrible attempted massacre on the Jews of the city, after the bloodstained body of a Christian child was found in synagogue on Shabbat?

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