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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.

Celestial City, Terrestrial City

The dizzyingly complex question of sovereignty over Jerusalem.

Special To The Jewish Week
05/12/2010

 Late last month, as Israelis celebrated the 62nd birthday of the Jewish state and the 150th of its inventor, the great Theodor Herzl, a full-page ad appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. The text was penned by another esteemed Jew, the Nobel laureate, prolific author and Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel. Needless to say, his piece drew a lot of attention.     

 Jerusalem

Slow Cooked Through the Ages

The story of cholent goes to the heart of Jewish history and tradition.

Special to the Jewish Week
04/28/2010

The origins of cholent, the thick, slow-cooked savory Shabbat stew, the traditional Sabbath midday meal, go all the way back to the time of the Talmud. Indeed, its history takes it on a route so dispersed across centuries and cultures throughout the diaspora, that in different countries it’s alternatively known as hamin (Aramaic for warm, Hebrew for hot); or dafina or adafina (Arabic for “covered”). There are even variants in its Yiddish name, whether schalet in the Yiddish of Germany or shulet in the Yiddish of Eastern Europe.

PHOTO: American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Baking challah for Shabbat at the Immouzer camp.

Mother Superior

"The last two weeks of August are when kids are out of school in Israel and since so many people will be away from the office, I need to know if you will be able to work," my boss said to me.

In other words: Can the office count on me, a single, childless woman, to hold down the fort when everyone else is home with her kids?

Shulevitz’s Shabbat

The author of The Sabbath World shares what she’s learned about the day of rest.

Staff Writer
04/28/2010

 Cultural critic Judith Shulevitz grew up in a house divided when it came to observing Shabbat. And she’s not the only one. What for some people is a kind of refuge is for others an antiquated and sometimes oppressive ordeal. From its very beginning, the Sabbath has raised questions, posed challenges and has spawned new ways of thinking for Jews and Christians alike. In her new book, “The Sabbath World, Glimpses of a Different Order of Time,” Shulevitz explores how the Sabbath has been observed and understood over the course of millennia.  

Photo By Michael Datikash

Does a Jewish Woman Need a Jewish Man Like a Fish Needs a Bicycle?

Two recent pieces have me wondering if I’ll be out of a job soon.

Not because of the sorry state of American journalism, but because these articles, both based on conversations with Jewish women in their 20s, indicate that intermarriage has become a complete non-issue for the next generation.

Will Smartphones & Handhelds Lead to an Educational Revolution?

In a recent blog post, my colleague and teacher Rabbi Hayim Herring writes about the Fast Company article that questions whether the introduction of smartphones and handheld computers into classrooms worldwide will be the start of an educational revolution. Anya Kamenetz, author of the book DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education wonders "How technology could unleash childhood creativity -- and transform the role of the teacher."

Is an Educational Revolution Ahead?

When Intermarriages Get 'Hit By A Bus'

My friend Laurel Snyder, editor of “Half/Life: Jew-ish Tales from Interfaith Homes” and author of numerous children’s books, has a thoughtful piece out this week on Killing The Buddha about intermarriage, divorce and the Reyes case. 

Laurel who, like me, has divorced parents and is herself intermarried, explores a lot of the same issues I’ve been thinking about (some elaborated on a column to be published in next week’s Jewish Week), vis a vis how interfaith issues play out when marriages implode. In emphasizing how she advises interfaith couples to discuss their differences before they become problems, she writes

Sabbath: Not Just For Jews

Judith Shulevitz's new book, "The Sabbath World: Glimpses of a Different Order of Time," is attracting a good bit of attention, as well it should. Blending personal experience with history, theology and philosophy, the book is both an emotionally and intellectually rewarding encounter for the reader, and the product of a highly intelligent and thoughtful writer willing to probe every angle of what the Sabbath has meant to the world.

Support For Settlers

04/13/2010

If it’s time for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be creative, as was asserted in Francine Klagsbrun’s opinion piece last week, it’s time for the author and Israel to learn from history, or be doomed to repeat the disasters of appeasement. Moral relativism is now in ascendancy, so that there is the equivalence of the Israel narrative and the Palestinian narrative, no true or false, no right or wrong, but never let the facts get in the way.

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