Jewish life

Words that Bite You in the 'But'

07/09/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

Our kids had just departed for a month of sleep-away camp. Michael and I were finally alone, and we were ready for adventure, romance, and connection. For our first night, we had it all planned out, something we had never done before:

His and hers dentist appointments.

As Michael sat in one reclining chair, feet up, bibbed, and suctioned, I sat in the next examination room, similarly bedecked. Dr. W put on his four-lens glasses and attempted to relax me:

“I’m just going to take a look, so this won’t hurt yet.”

Deborah Grayson Riegel

Standing Again At Sinai, This Time With Facebook

06/22/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

In recent weeks, the Jewish blogosphere has been in a state of collective shpilkas. Even before the flotilla incident, Jews in America and Israel were hotly debating two essays, Danny Gordis’ “The Storm Ahead” in the Jerusalem Post and Peter Beinart’s “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment,” in The New York Review of Books.

Hitchens On Jewishness, Israel And Zionism

06/10/2010
Staff Writer

People seem to love author and cultural critic Christopher Hitchens for precisely the reason other people seem to hate him: he has an opinion, and a strong one, about almost everything. His new memoir, “Hitch-22,” is chock full of them, too. And when he appeared at at the 92nd Street Y on Tuesday night, in a chat with his close friend Salman Rushdie, that fact was not glossed over.

Emanuelle Chriqui shares her #ish

Jewish actress Emanuelle Chriqui -- star of HBO's "Entourage" -- makes her contribution to America's Jewish federations by sharing her #ish, the national campaign to spark conversation about Jewish identity and culture. Hat-tip to a Jewlicious tweet.

The last word on Peter Beinart and the American Jewish leadership

 Can you stand a few more comments and questions about Peter Beinart's controversial article on “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment” in the New York Review of Books?

It seems to me that on the question of whether big pro-Israel groups reflect the views of the broader Jewish community, Beinart is right, but so are some of this critics.

Sandy Koufax headlines White House "Jewish Heritage Month" event

Sandy Koufax at the White House? Talk about Jewish royalty.

The Obama White House is holding the first – ever reception honoring Jewish Heritage Month tonight, and the unreleased guest list suggests something new in presidential Jewish outreach. There's an interesting cross section of Jewish athletes, columnists, writers, scholars and social innovators – but a noticeable lack of big-name Jewish organization pooh-bahs.

Germany’s First Post-war Reform Synagogue Breaks Ground

05/21/2010

(JTA) -- The Reform community of Hameln, Germany has begun building what it says will be Germany’s first post-war Reform synagogue.

Jüdische Gemeinde Hameln broke ground earlier this month for its new synagogue and community center. It will stand on the site of the former Buerenstrasse synagogue, which was destroyed by the Nazis on Kristallnacht in November 1938.

The Ethics of Giving: Jewish vs. Non-Jewish?

05/18/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

Q: My wife and I disagree about charitable giving. I believe most of our charitable dollars should go to helping our own Jewish people; she wants to give to local non-Jewish groups, like the homeless shelter and food bank. What's the magic formula about Jewish v. non-Jewish giving, according to Jewish law?

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Appreciation: Rabbi David Forman - An Orthodox Reform Jew

Although best known for founding the left-wing Rabbis for Human Rights, Rabbi David Forman defied ideological pigeonholing.

05/12/2010
Staff Writer

Over lunch several years ago, across a table at a Manhattan kosher restaurant from a middle-aged rabbi with a graying beard, large knit kipa and critical opinions about the spiritual life of most American Jews, I told my guest to ‘fess up.

“You can tell me the truth,” I said to Rabbi David Forman. “You’re really an Orthodox rabbi.”

Rabbi David Forman

A Pioneer At Age 12

Elena Kagan was Lincoln Square’s first bat mitzvah.

05/12/2010
Staff Writer

Elena Kagan, President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, wanted a bat mitzvah when she turned 12. But that simply was not done in May 1973 at Lincoln Square Synagogue, the Orthodox congregation to which the Kagan family belonged.

“I remember she was very definite,” recalled Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the congregation’s spiritual leader. “She came to me and very much wanted it; she was very strong about it. She wanted to recite a Haftorah like the boys, and she wanted her bat mitzvah on a Saturday morning.”

Kagan’s bat mitzvah was “watershed moment.”
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