Between the lines of the Bible, we glimpse the difficulties — even tragedy — of Moses, the greatest prophet in history who nevertheless sees himself losing the fealty of the Hebrew nation, failing to direct the people toward the very goal of their Exodus; the conquest of and settlement of the Land of Israel. Where has he gone wrong, and why?
Elena Kagan was Lincoln Square’s first bat mitzvah.
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.”
We has just finished the cycle of days, from Yom HaShoah to Yom HaZikaron to Yom Ha’atzmaut, whose leitmotif is Kiddush Hashem: martyrdom for the sanctification of God’s name, in the Holocaust and on the battlefields of Israel reborn.
Efrat, Israel: Standing at an empty bus stop on Hebron Road under a bright hot sun, an American traveler leaving Jerusalem for the West Bank community of Efrat suddenly feels his senses turned up a notch.
Waiting for the 167 bus heading south, the traveler watches four Israeli soldiers at a makeshift military checkpoint stop taxis, passenger cars and commercial trucks, delaying the Friday "have to get home for Shabbat" rush hour traffic.
Several major national Orthodox rabbinical groups this week repudiated the work of a New York City rabbinical court that has gained popularity with women by “freeing” chained wives, or agunot, stuck in bad marriages.
Strongly worded statements were issued separately on Tuesday by both the rigidly Orthodox Agudath Israel of America and the increasingly right-wing National Council of Young Israel, asserting that the rabbinical court was operating outside the bounds of halacha, or Jewish law.
Jerusalem — Rabbi Yosef Carmel, an Israeli Army veteran and founder of an advanced training center for Israeli rabbis, received an unexpected call from overseas the other day.
The call was from an Israeli, a secular businessman whose real estate dealings in Romania with a religious Romanian Jew had become strained.
A lawsuit, with 400,000 euros at risk (more than $500,000), was pending.
Don’t go to a civil court in Romania, a Bucharest rabbi advised the Israeli — call Rabbi Carmel.
Sunday, October 19th, 2008
James Besser in Washington
It was billed as a “tele-town hall with Jewish leaders nationwide,” but Sen. John McCain’s electronic meeting on Sunday sounded more like a staged campaign event than a give-and-take with community leaders.