Blogs

A Conversation With Hila Ratzabi

Twenty-eight-year-old poet Hila Ratzabi has the kind of credentials Jewish leaders like to tout as the surefire antidote to intermarriage: 12 years of Jewish day school followed by four years in the Jewish Theological Seminary/Barnard College undergraduate double-degree program.

The daughter of an Israeli father and American Jewish mom, Ratzabi always assumed she would marry a Jewish man. But in the year and a half since she met her Mexican-American (Baptist-raised) atheist boyfriend José, a grad student in chemistry, Ratzabi, who has an MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College, has been questioning her long-held assumptions about intermarriage and eagerly reading stories of how other people have negotiated interfaith relationships.

Rabbi David Forman - Baruch Dayan Emet

David Forman, 65, a Reform rabbi and founder of Rabbis for Human Rights -- a far-left organization that increasingly acted contrary to Forman's own priority of defending the human rights of Jews before (or at least alongside) everyone else's -- died May 3 in Dallas while awaiting a liver-transplant. He made aliyah in 1972. Rare is the leftist or the Reform rabbi who challenged his own as profoundly as did Forman, or who so profoundly challenged the rest of us. Steve Lipman has an appreciation of Forman in our upcoming issue.

Oren says Netanyahu not humiliated at White House, readers don't believe it

So Amb. Michael Oren, Israel's eloquent ambassador in Washington, says it didn't happen; Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wasn't dissed when he came to the White House on March 23, according to this JTA  story  and numerous other reports.

Technology and Jewish Education Conference

Jewish techie Ari Davidow listened in on JESNA's recent "Technology and Jewish Education" conference and posted some of his observations on the Jewish Women's Archive blog. JESNA's conference is run through its Lippman Kanfer Institute.

Technology and Jewish Education

Hey, Are The Orioles Still Playing Baseball?

What do Robin Roberts, the Hall of Fame pitcher, and Ernie Harwell, one of
baseball's most beloved announcers, both of whom died this week, have in
common?

Obviously, the fact that they both were affiliated with the Baltimore
Orioles in the team's early years. Well, obviously to an Orioles fan who, in
early May, is already worrying that his favorite team could be
mathematically eliminated from the pennant race by Memorial Day.

More on Elie Wiesel, politics and Jerusalem

Reading Jewish Week editor and publisher Gary Rosenblatt's interview with Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, I can't help but wonder if this moral paragon is on his way to being perceived as just another political activist. Given Wiesel's eloquent and moving contributions to our understanding of the Holocaust and its aftermath and his stature as a moral teacher on the issue of genocide, that would be sad.

Lovers Lane

You would think the word “lovers” in the bed and breakfast’s name would have given it away, but no.

Which explains why I was nothing but surprised when my friend, G, and I pulled up into the lovely little zimmer in the vegetarian community nestled in the lush green splendor of the Galilee and discovered that we had stepped into lover’s lane.

The Virtual Minyan Revisited

It was 1998 and I was in my first semester of rabbinical school at the Jewish Theological Seminary. My Talmud professor, Rabbi Avram Israel Reisner, approached me after class one day to discuss a project he was working on. As a member of the Conservative Movement's Law Committee, he was examining the acceptability of a virtual minyan (prayer quorum).

Can Virtual Prayer Communities Work?

The Prophet Williams, William Carlos Williams

Hats off the the 92nd Street Y's Poetry Center Archives.  If you haven't heard of it yet, basically, it's one of the poetry gems on the Web.  The 92nd Street Y's Utenberg Poetry Center has, for decades, been inviting renowned poets to give lectures, read, and teach poetry to readers and writers. And they haven't lost a step in the digital age.  Many new poetry readings are quickly posted online, and they've also begun posting archived readings on the Web too. 

Is New York Blessed?

It’s hard to consider a city that sustained the worst terror attack in history lucky. But when you look at the attempts made since 9-11 (and a few prior) to cause widespread carnage in New York, you have to count the blessings. In a city that seems to top terrorists’ most wanted list, plots have been hatched to bomb Bronx synagogues, Herald Square, the Lincoln Tunnel, the subway, the Long Island Rail Road and other sites with an extremely fortunate track record of 0.

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