‘Watershed’ Lanner expose has led to communal efforts to deal with improper sexual behavior.
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.
It’s not often New Yorkers open their homes to strangers, but many will be doing just that on Sunday, April 25 as part of Limmud Across NY, a day of “simultaneous intimate learning sessions.” Throughout the metropolitan area, individuals will be hosting participants in celebration of Jewish life, learning, and community.
The debate over Yeshiva University’s recent forum, “Being Gay in the Orthodox World,” concerns not just the specific issue at hand, how Orthodox Judaism should relate to homosexuality. It also, and perhaps even more significantly, concerns the broader question of the current state of Orthodoxy.
One morning this past July, I visited the bet midrash (study hall) of Yeshivat Hadar in Manhattan. Nearly 50 young people were there, spending their summer in serious engagement with Jewish texts. The room pulsated with the vitality of a traditional yeshiva and the intellectual openness of a university.
Not surprisingly, as the economic downturn drags on, there is much communal discussion about the need for more and more funding to keep our most precious institutions and programs intact, from the federation system to Birthright Israel to day schools.
The idea that God is a “person with whom people can have a relationship” seems right out of Evangelical Christianity.
Yet a new study of religion in America finds that a full quarter of Jews believe in such a personal relationship.
Is that figure high or low, and is it good for the Jews?
A politically aware teenager in Queens in the 1960s, Gary Krupp shared the prevailing opinion of Pope Pius XII, the controversial leader of the Roman Catholic Church during World War II. “I grew up hating him,” Krupp says. Today, he is one of the pope’s most vocal defenders in the Jewish community.
In March, some 200 members of Brooklyn's Congregation Talmud Torah of Flatbush received an unusual letter. They were informed that three shul officers had been put in a form of religious excommunication called a seruv.
The controversy over Mel Gibson's upcoming film about the death of Jesus has spurred painful exchanges between Jews and Christians and progressive and traditional Catholics in recent days. To date, the debates have centered on the "proper" interpretation of the role of Jews in Jesus' Crucifixion, as presented in the four New Testament Gospels.
But this week, Gibson's $25 million biblical epic, which the director insists is about love and forgiveness, has triggered a new squabble: among Jewish scholars.
At West Side Judaica, seder plates are the hot item these days. A little south, at Manhattan Judaica, a new Haggadah by the late philosophical leader of the Modern Orthodox movement is a best-seller. Further south, at J. Levine Books & Judaica, novelty items like a Pharaoh punching bag and a where-did-the-wine-go? Elijah’s Cup are popular.
In this national time of recession, in the Jewish period before Passover, business is off for many merchants – but it’s not as off as expected for businesses selling goods for Pesach.