Education

A Black-Jewish Hip-Hop Star

Thanks to the Jewish Outreach Institute blog for tipping me off about a Heeb profile of Aubrey “Drake” Graham, an emerging hip-hop star who is black and Jewish.

I know as much about hip-hop (or for that matter, any music produced more recently than, say, 1990) as I do about sports, which is to say virtually nothing. Nonetheless, the 23-year-old former TV star (Canada’s “Degrassi: The Next Generation) sounds like an interesting personality, and his Jewish story is fascinating.

Reborn Again? A Jewish Moral Argument for Reincarnation

06/11/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

I fear death. I think about dying frequently and often try to make meaning of my mortality. Until recently, if someone had mentioned reincarnation to me, I would have dismissed it as a non-Jewish theological belief. I imagine most people share my visceral skepticism of the possibility of reincarnation and of its authentic Jewish roots, but perhaps we can temporarily suspend this disbelief and explore the idea together in search of a theology that can improve us. Perhaps, this thought experiment can even promote certain moral virtues.

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

Birthright: It’s Not About The Sex

06/08/2010

Once again Shaul Kelner, in an otherwise thought-provoking article on Birthright Israel (“So Near, So Far,” May 14, Israel Now section), unduly focuses on what he describes as the “hookup scene” of Birthright. If one is to read this article, and the previous Jewish Week article reviewing his book, “Tours That Bind,” one might be prone to think that the primary purpose of Birthright is to work on “Jewish continuity” during the trip itself in a very practical manner.

Jewish Identity: Finally, The Right Discussion

06/08/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

The dispute now raging over how American Jewry should fund overseas Jewish needs will have at least one important outcome: it will put a serious discussion about Jewish identity on the front burner of the organized American Jewish community (“Jewish Agency, JDC, Stake Claims In Funding Fight,” May 7). Such a discussion is long overdue.

Orthodox Who's Who Making Israel Home

07/02/2008
Editorial Intern

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert may have declared the age of mass aliyah over, but aliyah from North America has ticked up in the last few years. And among those making the move this summer is a who’s who of Modern Orthodoxy.
Prominent rabbis and educators from the New York area, including Ari Berman, spiritual leader of The Jewish Center, a leading congregation on the Upper West Side, were feted last week by the Jewish Agency for Israel in its annual Olim Farewell ball.

'Write On For Israel’ Graduates A New Crop, Just In Time

Looking out at the more than 100 people gathered for the eighth graduation ceremony of The Jewish Week’s Write On For Israel on Tuesday night, I confided that I never envisioned that the advocacy-through-journalism program for high school students would last this long.

At the outset, nine years ago, I envisioned Write On as an immediate response to the intifada, which was raging in Israel. I thought that the program could and would end when the terrorism and suicide bombing stopped. But I was wrong.

A New Act For The Old Bar Mitzvah

Storahtelling’s Amichai Lau-Lavie is out to revolutionize the
ceremony in emerging partnership with families, synagogues.

06/02/2010
Associate Editor

Arguably one of the most memorable scenes in last year’s Oscar-nominated “A Serious Man” is the bar mitzvah, when Danny Gopnik does his Torah and Haftorah portions while visibly stoned, having smoked prodigious amounts of pot in the Hebrew school bathroom. 

So accustomed are they to tuning out the foreign chanting from the bima that his parents and the other congregants in the soulless 1960s Midwestern temple don’t even seem to notice anything amiss.

Storahtelling ceremonies aim to be creative and engaging, with humor, music, drama and costumes. Photo by Lisa Kimmell

From Kristallnacht, Learning What Not To Do

Nassau police recruits participate in
Holocaust Museum training program.

06/01/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

On Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, when a massive coordinated attack on Jews took place in Germany, why did the police not protect the Jewish citizens and prevent such devastation? How do the lessons of the Holocaust apply to law enforcement today? Do police officers bring their own prejudices to their work? How can they use the lessons of the Holocaust to increase tolerance and understanding?

Officer Shevach Berkowitz, Nassau County Police Chief Karen O’Callaghan and Holocaust Memorial Center Chairman Howard Maier.

On-The-Job Jew Training

Two great new pieces out this week — both from West Coast Jewish publications — by women who grew up in interfaith families.

I especially related to the piece by Emily Savage, a staff writer at northern California’s The J, about how she’s basically acquired a Jewish education from working at a Jewish newspaper.

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