The name Torat Chayim was chosen because Torah is about rootedness and Chayim is about dynamism. We want a Torah that is strongly rooted in tradition and that is also responsive to—and pushing us forward in—our time. Further, Torah is about life. It is about ethics, human dignity, and the perpetuation—and sanctification—of life. We embrace a life-affirming, dignity-affirming Torah, and work to ensure that Torah only adds to—and never detracts from—human dignity and the sanctity of life.
The Biblical Imperative to Vaccinate Against COVID-19
It is clear then, that we must take all necessary measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 to ourselves and others. With the advent of the new vaccine, it is thus a biblically mandated imperative that all, with the exception of those advised otherwise by their medical doctor, be vaccinated.
Orthodox Rabbis In Support of Human Rights for Muslim Detainees
We… echo the call of our Muslim allies to ICE to hold all of their officials accountable and ensure that Muslims at all ICE facilities have access to unexpired halal meals. This must include vetting new employees, training, and supervising all personnel more effectively, as well as disciplining and training those involved so that these violations of Muslim detainees’ rights are neither continued, nor retribution effected on any detainees insisting on their rights.
Orthodox Rabbis Stand With Asylum-Seeking Families Separated from their Families
Torat Chayim is troubled by recent developments that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) cannot and does not keep track of migrant children separated from their families… By depriving refugees and asylum seekers of basic protection, we rob them of their inherent human dignity.
Orthodox Rabbinic on Israeli Annexation
We are Orthodox rabbis from Israel and the Diaspora who oppose unilateral annexation in Judea & Samaria / Palestinian Territories. The principle that all humans are created in the Divine Image and are thus deserving of dignity (Kavod Ha’Briyot) inspires and compels us to reject unilateral moves to impose Israeli sovereignty over area C… We call on Prime Minister Netanyahu to continue showing restraint and pursue a negotiated settlement.
Statement on the Death of George Floyd
We want to express our heartbreak and outrage at the murder of George Floyd. The most recent example of an appalling pattern of hundreds of years of violence perpetrated on the black community, we also mourn the deaths of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, as recent victims. Police brutality and institutional racism are primary contributors to Black Americans being more than twice as likely to be killed by police than are White Americans.
We the members of Torat Chayim, an Orthodox Rabbinical Association, would like to express our profound gratitude to you and your colleagues at The Centre for Inter Faith Dialogue in the Diocese of Stockholm for your unwavering support in the face of multiple attacks lodged at one of our core practices– the ritual of circumcision… On behalf of the greater Jewish people, thank you for being the definition of a true friend and a protector of its faith. We believe that protecting religious freedom is a source of joy and pride for all the members of our communities. We believe that our Father in Heaven is overjoyed that the three religions, all serving one God, the God of Abraham, are now acting as partners in defending religious tradition and the sacred in a secular society.
Orthodox Rabbis Who Have Come Out in Opposition to the Practice of Chicken Kapparos
This campaign is in partnership with Uri L’Tzedek and SHAMAYIM: Jewish Animal Welfare
We, members of Torat Chayim, are aware of Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh’s expertise in the realm of Hasidut and Kabbalah but are shocked and offended by the way he uses these same ideas to employ Jewish supremacy to promote atrocities against innocent, non-Jewish civilians living in the land of Israel and their property, providing Halachic justification for these actions. Furthermore, we are even more ashamed that his thought was awarded in a ceremony attended by prominent Religious Zionist politicians such as Betzalel Smotrich and Rabbi Rafi Peretz.
Statement From Torat Chayim Rabbinic Members Condemning Gay Conversion Therapy
It is unfortunate that misunderstandings regarding conversion therapy are still popular among religious Jews in Israel, the United States, and elsewhere. These misunderstandings demonstrate that there still is a critical need to educate every community about the dangers of this therapy… As rabbis, we believe that there is always a way for all individuals to be faithful to their identity in the fullest sense of the term, and also to live a life in conformance with halakha. Conversion therapy is neither a healthy nor an effective way for individuals to resolve that struggle, nor do we believe that it is responsible for any rabbi to suggest otherwise.Hebrew Translation
The Jewish Mandate for Vaccinations!
God works to protect us through covenantal mandate to protect ourselves and one another. Ignoring this tenet of Jewish morality to rely instead on misinformation, deceit, and fear-mongering puts countless children and adults in mortal jeopardy…. Protecting life is essential to seeing the good deeds enacted and made real in this world. Let us continue to build communities that seek the values of a healthy life and a safe public for this generation and generations to come.
Over 100 Orthodox Rabbis Offering our Deepest Condolences and Solidarity with the Muslim Community
We, rabbis of Torat Chayim… are appalled by the murderous act of terror attacks on Muslims in their own houses of worship in New Zealand during Jum’ah, a time of prayer. We stand with our Muslim colleagues and together with all decent moral human beings, condemn these evil, violent acts of murder. We deeply identify with the profound feelings of shock and anguish when one is savagely attacked in one’s house of worship. (Arabic Translation)
Rooting Religious Zionism in Morality!
“We, as rabbinic members of Torat Chayim, an international association of modern Orthodox Zionist Rabbis, express our deep disappointment and rejection of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s lead role in getting the Religious Zionist party, HaBayit HaYehudi, to merge for the elections with the Otzma Yehudit party… To our colleagues, Orthodox Rabbis and political leaders of HaBayit HaYehudi, we say: shame on you.”
Orthodox Leaders Call Upon U.S. Congress to Stop Funding the Genocide in Yemen
“Our holy Torah, as all ethical theories of just warfare, teaches that it is forbidden to target civilians in warfare. Maimonides famously instructed that rather than slaughter the innocent, the offensive must offer a call for peace. The ongoing genocide in Yemen, conducted in the name of God and targeting civilians, is anything but Godly, and anything but ethical. God on high cries, as do we, over the senseless loss of life.”
An Open Letter to Wasi Mohamed, Executive Director of the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh
“Too often, at times of tragedy, we hurry to blame from a place of hurt and anger, and fail to see the helpers in our world. Therefore, we explicitly and publicly acknowledge your leadership and your community’s role as true helpers. Your caring and love for us has been deeply comforting, and give us hope that together, we can continue to work together to foster closer ties and find a way to heal the many rifts in our world that divide us and turn us against each other.”
Rabbinic Statement On the Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting
“Since ancient times, houses of worship have been considered places of sanctuary; even those who committed heinous crimes such as murder who sought sanctuary within a house of worship were accorded due process before paying their debt to society, and God, for their crimes. To turn a place of sanctuary into a place of brutal murder of people in the midst of the service of God is the highest form of sacrilege. It is a quintessential crime against humanity and against God.”
Torat Chayim Statement Offering Support to Victims of Sexual Abuse
“As Jewish leaders, we pledge to do our utmost to ensure that our synagogues, schools, camps, community centers, and other meeting places are safe spaces, and that we will take any and all allegations of sexual abuse with due seriousness. We place our full faith in our municipal, county, state, and federal law enforcement officials to professionally and diligently investigate those allegations and will fully support their efforts to do so.”
Rabbinic Statement: Turning Kapparot Into an Act of Compassion?
Rabbinic Declaration Against Prejudice and Hurtful Discourse Against the LGBTQ+ Community
“We believe that protecting religious freedom is a source of joy and pride to all the members of our communities. We believe that our Father in Heaven is overjoyed that the three religions, all serving one God, the God of Abraham, are now acting as partners in defending religious tradition and the sacred in a secular society.”
“The Torah affirms the necessity of assisting those in our society who need our aid… It is our responsibility as leaders in the Jewish community and beyond to unequivocally oppose the Trump administration’s attempts to target immigrants with disabilities and their families.”
“No one deserves to go hungry. No one deserves to be abandoned by the leaders tasked to ensure equitable access to sustenance. We, the undersigned rabbinic members of Torat Chayim, call upon our government not to abandon the most vulnerable among us. If there is even one child who goes to bed crying because his or her stomach is empty, then our nation has failed. If even one senior citizen or disabled worker dies because they weren’t able to purchase basic foods, then our nation and our government has failed.”
Members of Torat Chayim voice their support for Africans seeking asylum in Israel.
“Temporary Protection Status (TPS) protects people from being returned to harm—precisely the conditions Salvadorians face today—gang conscription, sexual violence, and human trafficking. As a nation, we promised to protect nearly 200,000 Salvadoran neighbors by allowing them to remain in the United States. Please join us in advocating for their security.”
“Judaism introduced the world to the vision of a messianic age in which peace and harmony reign, when poverty and injustice will be eradicated, and the dignity of all humans, of all race, color, gender and religion will be assured. This dream has always emanated from the City of Jerusalem whose very name means ‘teaching peace.’ We invite all nations and religions of the world to join our hands and be our partners in this awe-inspiring yet practical quest, tangibly symbolized by Jerusalem.”
“We affirm our belief that the Kotel belongs to all Jews, and call upon Prime Minister Netanyahu to implement a practical and equitable solution to allow for a pluralistic prayer space at the Kotel.”
“The Torah knows that it is difficult to achieve this high level of understanding. That’s why it has underscored the obligation to care for the stranger 36 times. But it also knows that we are capable of achieving this level of understanding. And when we do, we not only fulfill God’s commandments; we fulfill our own humanity.”
“We ask members of faith communities to learn about and speak of the Rohingya refugees around family tables and in religious centers. We call upon the nations involved to stop selling arms to Myanmar. We have serious concerns about Israel, the Jewish State, which was established on the embers of the Holocaust and understands genocide all too well, selling weapons to a state behaving in such a matter. We say to the Rohingya people: You are not alone.”
“We Jews and Christians have more in common than what divides us: the ethical monotheism of Abraham; the relationship with the One Creator of Heaven and Earth, Who loves and cares for all of us; Jewish Sacred Scriptures; a belief in a binding tradition; and the values of life, family, compassionate righteousness, justice, inalienable freedom, universal love and ultimate world peace.”
“The Jewish tradition provides a few ways to atone, including swinging money around one’s head or a chicken. Once swung around the head, the chicken is ritually slaughtered and supposed to be given to the poor. There is no legal imperative to use a chicken for this ritual and so we call on all Jews to stop using chickens for kaparot and to use money instead as the chickens are grossly mistreated.”
“The central teaching of the Bible is that every human being is created in the image of God. This means that every individual and group is unique and to be treasured — but is, no less, equal and of infinite worth. Equality and protection of the law are enshrined in the founding documents of the United States and are central to our national culture and values consensus.”
“As Jews and citizens, we believe that governments must protect the dignity and rights of every human being. By using the death penalty, our country fails to live up to this basic requirement.”
“Reducing climate change must be a central focus of Jewish life today. We strongly recommend that our fellow rabbis, Jewish educators, and other Jewish leaders, and our synagogues, Jewish schools, and other Jewish individuals and organizations take major steps to increase awareness of climate threats and steps that must be taken to reduce them.”
“The Assad regime will not cease these brutal attacks unless it faces the threat of serious military repercussions such as airstrikes against air bases associated with chemical weapons and suspected storage facilities. We therefore urge you to fully appreciate the importance of this moment and to act decisively to avoid dire consequences.”
“As a group, we acknowledge that there are many ways to be Jewish, and certainly many ways to be religious. We hope these short, thoughtful replies prompt readers to reflect more deeply on the meaning of their religious lives and to strive for deeper authenticity while re-affirming a life of moral and spiritual growth.”
“Imposing one narrow version of Orthodox Judaism as the official standard for prayer and for conversion in Israel harms the unity of the Jewish people and it harms support for Israel in America.”
“A substantial body of research suggests there is significant and unnatural pain caused toward animals during their raising and slaughter for human consumption, that factory farming is one of the leading contributors to carbon emissions, and that the consumption of large amounts of meat is a leading contributor to cardiac disease, gastrointestinal ailments, and certain types of cancers.”
“Our Sages taught that one may not with good conscience take part in actions with a government official who acts on his or her own authority or does not consider him or herself bound by any limits (Bava Kama 113b). Authority is only just and righteous when it is proscribed by law and by civic norms. Any leader who taunts, harasses, threatens and intimidates the citizens and residents of his country with abandon is one whose policies and attitudes we must respond to with acts of spiritual resistance.”
“We believe that religion should be lived in daily life and applied in the public square and in making policy judgments. We also believe that religion should be invoked with care because its tendency to judge matters in absolute or ultimate terms may interfere with the ability of the political system to work through partial steps, compromises and pragmatic accommodations. We also affirm that it is improper to claim that God or our religion is totally on one side, be it progressive or conservative. We affirm that people of good faith can come to contradictory conclusions on policy matters. “