Social Issues

Bergen County’s Thriving Yeshiva

While many New York-area day schools are in crisis, Yeshivat Noam — blessed with a growing Modern Orthodox community and energetic faculty — is riding high.
05/31/2010 - 20:00
Editorial Intern

When Yeshivat Noam first opened its doors in 2001, it was the kindergarten students — the upperclassmen, so to speak — who ran through the building, checking that every door had a mezuzah.

“We like to refer to them as our pioneers,” said Rabbi Chaim Hagler, principal of the Modern Orthodox school located in Bergen County. “They’ve kind of been eighth graders now for nine years.”

Second graders listen to a unit on bugs and their habitats.

Israel’s ‘Minority In A Minority’

Dor Guez’s video triptych examines the complicated identities of his Arab Christian family members.
05/31/2010 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

If you don’t think that human identity is evanescent, multilayered, poly-vocal and downright confused, you probably won’t get “The Monayer Family,” a triptych of short videos by Dor Guez currently on display at the Jewish Museum.

Guez is a provocative, gifted artist who works in a variety of disciplines and media, focusing his attention on issues of multiculturalism, ethnicity and personal identity; appropriately, his own identity is as contested and complex as it is possible to imagine. The work, unsurprisingly, is the same.

The filmmaker’s grandfather, Jacob, in scenes from “The Monayer Family.”

New Zealand Bans Shechita

05/27/2010 - 20:00
JTA

SYDNEY (JTA) – New Zealand has banned shechita, the kosher slaughter of animals.

The country’s new animal welfare code, which took effect Friday, mandates that all animals for commercial consumption be stunned prior to slaughter to ensure they are treated “humanely and in accordance with good practice and scientific knowledge.”

The regulation has shocked the Jewish community.

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.

Beinart Pleasantly Surprised He Hasn’t Been Marginalized

Peter Beinart, the former New Republic editor whose strong critique of the American Jewish establishment in a New York Review of Books essay continues to reverberate in the community, says he has been pleasantly surprised by the responses he has received from pro-Israel critics

Jewish Leaders Meet with Senate Democrats

05/26/2010 - 20:00

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Jewish leaders met with more than a third of the Democratic caucus in the U.S. Senate.

Twenty-two senators, led by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), attended Wednesday's meeting. The caucus has 59 senators.

Pro-Israel, With Questions: Beinart Pins his Thesis to the Synagogue Door

05/25/2010 - 20:00
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Peter Beinart attends an Orthodox synagogue, once edited The New Republic (the closest thing to a smicha for Jewish policy wonks) and backed Sen. Joe Lieberman’s quixotic 2004 bid to become the first Jewish president.

Which is why he’s always been counted among the Washington pundits who defend Israel, Zionism and the right of American Jews to lobby for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.

Beinart also frets about how Jewish his kids will be.

Raising Children To Embrace Judaism: Authors Discuss Their Own Ambivalent Experiences

The struggle to raise an emotionally healthy child in a home where one parent is more religiously observant than the other was the subtext of a lively and revealing Jewish Week Forum last night with authors Judith Shulevitz (“The Sabbath World: Glimpses of a Different Order of Time”) and Dani Shapiro (“Devotion: A Memoir”) at Cong. B’nai Jeshurun on the Upper West Side.

More than 250 people attended the program.

Rand Paul Victory Poses Risks For Jewish Republicans as Tea Party Movement Surges

RJC, in unusual move, opposes Tea Party candidate.
05/25/2010 - 20:00
Washington Correspondent

 Rand Paul, the Tea Party insurgent who was the upset victor in last week’s Kentucky Republican Senate primary, could be the biggest headache yet for a Republican Party that hopes to capitalize on the populist surge without getting tainted by the angry movement’s extremists.

Some observers say Rand Paul’s strong pro-Israel views could draw Jewish campaign givers.

Changing Images Muddy Picture Of Zionism, Israel

For young American Jews, it’s a long way from ‘Exodus’ to the separation wall.
05/25/2010 - 20:00
Staff Writer

 In 1960, the film “Exodus” was nominated for three Academy Awards. Based on Leon Uris’ novel about the founding of Israel, it seems hard to believe that such a film, drenched in Jewish military heroism and suffused with Holocaust imagery and Arab aggression, could have such broad and unambiguous appeal. But it did. It not only won an Oscar, it also starred a Hollywood icon, Paul Newman, as the heroic Jewish fighter, and even made a commendable showing at Cannes.

But almost a half-century later, a very different film about Israel won an Oscar nomination. “Waltz With Bashir,” (2008) directed by the Israeli Ari Folman, put a spotlight on the massacres at the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps during the first Lebanon War.  

Two images of Israel, two generations: “Exodus” and “Waltz with Bashir.”
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