(Courtesy of Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals) The Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals promotes an intellectually vibrant and inclusive Jewish vision to the broader community. Based on an unwavering commitment to the Torah tradition and to the Jewish people, it fosters an appreciation of legitimate diversity within Orthodoxy.
Rabbi Marc Angel founded the Institute in 2007 and his son Rabbi Hayyim Angel joined the organization in 2013. Together, the Rabbis Angel reach a wide variety of people who seek voices representing an intelligent, inclusive Orthodoxy. Rabbi Marc Angel specializes in Sephardic history and thinkers. He focuses on how diversity benefits the entire Jewish community. Rabbi Hayyim Angel is a longtime member of the undergraduate men’s Jewish Studies faculty at Yeshiva University. His passion is Tanach and its impact on religious thought and experience.
The Institute’s vision bridges the spectrum of Jewish thought, uniting these voices in Jewish life and learning. Speaking to and connecting with Jewish people of all ages, backgrounds and levels of observance, the Institute presents Judaism as a world religion which thoughtfully explores the interface between values of tradition and those of the modern world.
By exploring a multiplicity of voices through their scholarship—together they have published over 50 books and hundreds of articles—the Rabbis Angel teach that there are many avenues into tradition. A healthy Judaism respects diversity and promotes unity without conformity. We must engage through respectful dialogue and healthy disagreement. Ideas and questions are to be embraced and explored with the guidance of Torah, scholarship and love. The more traditional voices accessed by our community, the stronger we all become. All Jews must be welcomed and engaged by the Orthodox community. Through its programs and publications, the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals does just this.
Thanks to its growing membership base and the generosity of its visionary donors, the Institute reaches many thousands of people each month through an exciting array of classes, symposia and the stimulating articles and resources published on its website (jewishideas.org) and in its print journal, Conversations. The Institute mixes a wide variety of speakers and writers who keep the doors of lively discussion open in a thoughtful, inclusive engagement of tradition and contemporary society.
The Institute currently serves over 400 college students through its free University Network program. The Institute provides resources relevant to the interface of tradition and university life to students thirsting for a forum to discuss and process the unique religious and intellectual challenges confronted on campus. Students have opportunities to assume leadership roles through the Institute’s Campus Fellowship program. Students receive a budget and stipend to run meaningful and relevant programs which engage fellow students and promote the Institute’s dynamic vision.
Through its Sephardic Educational Network, the Institute aspires to create a more inclusive day school curriculum that seamlessly incorporates the contributions of Sephardic thinkers—particularly from the past 500 years—so all students may study the wholeness of the Jewish people. The Institute runs training programs for educators and sends free resources to Jewish day schools, most recently publishing its first volume for educators: “Insights from the Sephardic Tradition: An Educational Guide.”
In order to address a wide array of topics of pressing concern in the Jewish community, the Institute’s National Scholar program runs many teacher trainings, scholar-in-residence programs and a variety of symposia. Having moved with his family to Teaneck in 2017, the Institute’s National Scholar Rabbi Hayyim Angel has taught extensively throughout Bergen County. He serves as the Tanach Education Scholar at Ben Porat Yosef (BPY) yeshiva day school in Paramus, where he works with senior administration to design a Tanach curriculum singular in its scholarship, inclusiveness and expansiveness. After nearly two years of this unique program, young BPY elementary students are excited to learn the whole of Tanach and display a knowledge impressive for any age. He also serves as the regular Tanach teacher at the successful Beit Midrash of Teaneck (BMT) where learning comes to life.
Rabbi Hayyim Angel has also taught in a number of local communities including Ahavath Torah (Englewood), Bnai Yeshurun (Teaneck), Darchei Noam (Fair Lawn), East Hill Synagogue (Englewood), Keter Torah (Bergenfield), Netivot Shalom (Teaneck), Ohr Saadya (Teaneck), Rinat Yisrael (Teaneck), Shaarei Orah (Teaneck), the Young Israels of East Brunswick, Fair Lawn, Fort Lee and Teaneck. He has also taught regularly at Lamdeinu of Teaneck and CareOne Teaneck.
Members of the Institute help the organization to build programs and publications which unite the Jewish community in respectful and inclusive dialogue. We live in a time with many rifts at personal, interpersonal and communal levels. Good scholarship coupled with an inclusive religious philosophy can help heal and strengthen the individual and the community. To learn more and get involved, please visit www.jewishideas.org. You may register online for free.