Dec 29, 2010

Masorti Teaches Torah to Haredim

If you're having trouble viewing this email, you may see it online.

Share This:

the masorti (conservative) movement in israel - promoting religious pluralism and building community through inclusive, traditional, egalitarian Judaism

"Yellow Pages" in English translation

Masorti's "Yellow Pages" poster

Masorti Teaches Torah to Haredim with "Sages in the 'Yellow Pages'"Ad/Poster Campaign


Bold Message: 'Torah Unaccompanied by Work is Path to Sin'


Dear Friends,


Many Jews know that the medieval philosopher Maimonides, aka Rambam, made his living as a physician. But how many today are aware that the sages of antiquity and other great rabbis throughout history didn't simply sit around studying Torah? Rashi? A vintner. Shammai? A builder. Hillel? A lumberjack. Rav Joshua ben Hananiah? A needlemaker. Plenty of others earned livelihoods as: tailors; cobblers; orchard guards; cistern diggers; potters; surveyors; millers; porters; or distillers. In fact, according to specific references in the Mishnah and the Talmud, rabbis of old were found in just about every occupation that existed.


In a creative response to the brewing controversy in Israel over government stipends for yeshiva students and the broader issue of ultra-Orthodox men who choose not to work, the Masorti movement has developed a Sages' "Yellow Pages," listing learned rabbis and sages by occupation, under the heading, "Torah that is not accompanied by a worldly trade will in the end amount to nothing and will lead one into sin" (Mishnah Avot, chapter 2; rulings on this basis: Mishneh Torah, "Laws Concerning Torah Study, chapter 10; and Shulkhan Arukh, Orah Hayyim, #157). Reproduced as a colorful, detailed poster and ad, (complete with illustrations and Mishnaic/Talmudic citations), the "Yellow Pages" is now appearing on posters and buses in Jerusalem.


The "Yellow Pages" almost immediately made it onto television news and otherwise attracted much favorable attention. In fact, the effort was so well received that a decision was made to print posters and purchase bus ads featuring the "Yellow Pages."



"Yellow Pages" on Jerusalem bus

Above you will see both the Hebrew version of the "Yellow Pages" and an English version created for our use. For more readable copies of each, log onto You are more than welcome to distribute these posters either in hard copy or via the Internet. In fact, we encourage you to do so. it would be great if Jews throughout the United States saw these posters and were presented with an opportunity to learn about these developments in Israel.


In this email message are photographs of these posters as they appear in Jerusalem. These can also be seen at,


"Yellow Pages" posters in Jerusalem

It was wonderful how our community responded with support for the Fire Emergency Fund. In producing and distributing the "Yellow Pages," Masorti is attacking a crisis that is every bit as significant for Israel. Putting it bluntly, we cannot do this without your financial support. Please help. You may contribute online through the Masorti Foundation website at, or mail your check to:


Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel

475 Riverside Drive

Suite 832

New York, NY 10115-0122




David H. Lissy

Executive Director & CEO

Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel



To learn more, please contact:
Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 832
New York, NY 10115-0068
(212) 870-2216; 1-877-287-7414;