Social Issues

Revolutionary Love

When a prominent kohen fell in love with a convert in 1782, newly independent American Jews flouted halacha.

06/16/2010

 The values of the American Revolution—liberty, freedom, and democracy—profoundly affected the Jewish community. Having successfully rebelled against the authority of England and its king, many early American Jews no longer submitted unquestioningly to any authorities, even religious ones. Like their Protestant and Catholic contemporaries, they insisted upon the right to make decisions, including marital decisions, for themselves.

 Ketubah of Jacob I. Cohen and Esther Mordecai.  Courtesy The Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives.

Rabbi For A Day

Officiating at a wedding gives professor a new perspective on matrimony.

06/16/2010

 I have suffered most of my life from a large case of rabbi envy. I was brought up surrounded by them, not only in school and shul, but at family gatherings as well. Uncles and later cousins carried the title. I eventually married the daughter of a rabbi. There was no escaping their sermonizing and officiating ways.

 Bride and groom under the chupah, with the author (not pictured) as rabbi. Photo: Karen Tweedy-Holmes.

The Ultimate Wedding Anthem

Whether read literally or metaphorically, the Song of Songs evokes love in a way few texts can equal.

06/16/2010

 ‘My beloved is mine and I am his…” 

With such soulful beauty does that single line, from the Song of Songs, capture the essence of enduring love that one can almost think of it as an anthem for engagements and weddings. It can be found as border decoration or embellishment in countless ketubot (Jewish wedding contracts) and has provided the text for numerous songs in honor of the bride and groom.

A Decade Later, More Willingness To Confront Rabbinic Abuse

‘Watershed’ Lanner expose has led to communal efforts to deal with improper sexual behavior.

06/16/2010
Editor and Publisher

The tenth anniversary of the public exposure in these pages of the “Lanner scandal” provides an opportunity to reflect on, and appreciate, how much has changed for the better in the last decade in responding to rabbinic sexual abuse. 

With it all, though, communal vigilance is still vital because the problem remains, as do the impulses to overlook or cover up allegations of wrongdoing in high places. And there are voices in the community calling for putting ethical standards in place in synagogues, schools and camps.

Gary Rosenblatt

Lessons From The 16-Year-Old Sailor

Just after dealing with an outbreak of panic displayed by a 9-year-old son worried about his tonsils coming out next week, I looked at an article online about Abby Sunderland, the 16-year-old determined to sail solo around the world, who ran into some difficulty with that task last week.

Jacob will eventually grow out of his fear of doctors and needles, just as his sister outgrew her fear of riding across bridges. But I hope and pray neither of them reach the level of courage and empowerment to do something as stupid as what Sunderland's parents let her do.

Hoary Bugaboo

06/15/2010

 Re: “Israel’s Delegitimizers Are Gaining,” (Editor’s column, June 4), it is dismaying to see that, yet again, Israel’s rapidly growing unpopularity in the world being attributed to that hoary bugaboo, “bad hasbara” (i.e.,  public relations), rather than to its actual causation – Israel’s disastrously wrong-headed and self-destructive occupation of the West Bank and its blockade of Gaza.  

Tennis: A Trophy Israeli Moment

06/15/2010

In the world of professional tennis, some doubles players change their partners as often as most people change their socks.

Jonathan Erlich’s choice of partners has been consistent – he usually teams up with fellow Israeli Andy Ram.

And his results have also been consistent.

Photos By Getty Images

Micah Bergdale, 28

Web entrepreneur turned Jewish community activist

Staff Writer
06/15/2010

An IT geek since he was a teenager, Micah Bergdale started his first computer business around the same time he entered an undergraduate business program — at the ripe old age of 15.

Micah Bergdale

Exhibit at Schindler Factory Site Recalls Nazi-era Krakow

06/15/2010
JTA

Krakow, Poland — In January 1994, an American tourist stepped out of a taxi into a cold, drizzling rain and entered the Jarden Jewish Bookshop at the far end of the square in the Jewish quarter of Krakow.

On the counter he splayed a weeks-old copy of The New York Times before bookshop owner Les Zdzislaw.

Workers prepare museum materials for “memory factory,” which recalls Oskar Schindler’s life-saving exploits in Krakow during WW2

NCJW leader: Enact Equal Access to Birth Control

06/15/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

Fifty years have passed since the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the birth control pill for sale with a doctor’s prescription. Now ninety-eight percent of all women will use contraception during their lifetimes, and one-third of those will use birth control pills.

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