Debra Nussbaum Cohen

Hebrew College To Ordain Rabbis

01/24/2003
Staff Writer
Boston's Hebrew College, the 82-year-old center of secular Jewish studies, plans to open the doors of a new rabbinical school in September, adding to the handful of Jewish independent ordaining institutions in the United States. The new program will likely create competition for students among New York-based seminaries. The move by Hebrew College, which has about 400 students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs in Jewish studies and Jewish education, is being welcomed in some quarters and criticized in others.

New Language For Abortion Debate

01/17/2003
Special To The Jewish Week
Jan. 22 marks the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal. Even as political battles over legal abortion again heat up, for most people the topic is difficult to discuss. The language we use amplifies the discomfort. In periodicals I read, from Ms. magazine to the Evangelical Today's Christian Woman, the vocabulary around abortion seems mired in the '70s.

Mainstreaming The V Word

01/10/2003
Staff Writer
Attention Jewish women: Eve Ensler thinks you're hot. "Jewish women are really sexy," said the creator of "The Vagina Monologues" this week, after shooting publicity photos for an upcoming benefit performance of her hit show. Proceeds from the Feb. 12 performance, being presented at Town Hall by the women of UJA-Federation of New York, will aid Jewish victims of domestic violence.

Gay Issue Gets Personal

12/27/2002
Staff Writer
For Rabbi Elliot Dorff, the gay issue being grappled with by the Conservative movement has hit home: literally.

A New Consensus For Gays?

12/27/2002
Staff Writer
The job looked like a perfect fit. A Solomon Schechter day school had offered a Judaic studies teaching job to an experienced Conservative rabbi, and had wrapped up negotiations over salary and benefits. Signing the contract was all that was left. But just before signing, the rabbi wanted to make sure the principal knew she was a lesbian. The next day the school's rabbinic authority informed the rabbi that the job offer was being revoked on the basis of that information.

You've Got Mechila

09/29/2000
Staff Writer
It's a question rooted in an age-old practice but made new by the vicissitudes of modern technology: Is it kosher to ask mechila by e-mail? Asking forgiveness, or mechila, for wrongs committed against others is emphasized during the month of Elul, and given particular attention during the 10 Days of Repentance from Rosh HaShanah to Yom Kippur.

God Didn't Get An Invite

09/15/2000
Staff Writer
Suddenly, God is seemingly everywhere these days: on the presidential hustings, in the stands at high school football games in the South, overflowing the shelves of the neighborhood bookstore. But He/She wasn't at Cooper Union last weekend when the International Federation of Secular Humanistic Jews gathered for its biennial conference. Didn't even get an invite.

Rabbis And Scandal: Are We Losing Faith?

07/28/2000
Staff Writer
The unsettling reports of rabbis committing crimes against both secular and Jewish law, and against common-sense morality, seem these days to come unrelentingly. Reform Rabbi Fred Neulander from Cherry Hill, N.J., sits in prison awaiting trial for arranging his wife's murder, which happened at the same time he was having an affair. Orthodox Rabbi Baruch Lanner was accused recently in these pages of physically and sexually abusing the young people in his charge in his nearly three decades with the Orthodox Union's National Conference of Synagogue Youth.

Rabbis Explore Uniqueness Of Gay Shuls

06/09/2000
Staff Writer
The rabbis of the nation's gay and lesbian synagogues gathered this week at a first-of-its kind meeting, held at Congregation Beth Simchat Torah in the West Village. Their goal was to share experiences "and to find out whether there are in fact things unique to us as leaders of gay and lesbian congregations," said one participant, Rabbi Lisa Edwards of Los Angeles' Bet Chayim Chadashim, during a lunch break. The answer, she and other participants said, is that there are and there aren't.

Shelter From The Storm

05/19/2000
Staff Writer
In Jerusalem, fervently Orthodox women in abusive marriages today have what they've never before been able to find: a place to go. The founder of the first shelter for haredi victims of domestic violence, a reticent man named Noach Corman, recently came to New York on his first trip outside of Israel, in order to raise money for the shelter. He has, until now, declined all requests to speak with the press in Israel and elsewhere.
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