Rabbi

All-In-The-Family Hebrew School

Pilot ‘Yerusha’ program seeks new level
of engagement for kids and their parents.

Associate Editor
06/23/2010

 On an unseasonably hot Sunday afternoon in May, Karen and David Nathan are in their Princeton, N.J., backyard with their two children and four other families. 

But instead of barbecuing or chatting, the parents are watching as the kids, ranging in age from 5 to 14, prepare to act out a story from the Talmud.

Justus Baird, a soft-spoken entrepreneur-turned-rabbi, passes out the short scripts and divides up the parts — which include Elijah the Prophet, God and Old Man with Two Myrtle Branches — among the 11 children.

Parent Esther Rose, left, leads a session while Ezra Edelman, Eli Nathan and Laila Finkelstein listen.

Post-Wedding Planning

Looking beyond the ceremony to the realities of marriage.

06/16/2010

 Weddings are perfect moments in time: celebrations of love, certainly, but also carefully crafted productions that express status, values and religious identity. Saturday-night dinner dance or Sunday afternoon in the backyard? Factory-farmed prime rib or sustainable wild salmon? Seven circles around the groom or none at all? Nothing is too insignificant to help a couple display their identity.

 Elderly couple embraces under the chupah after their wedding at Malben home for the aged. Netanya, Israel, 1959. Courtesy of th

Of Love Abundant and Abiding

Toward a Jewish Theology of Marriage

06/16/2010

 In Judaism, the covenant between God and Israel has two aspects to it—a concrete contract, on the one hand, and an infinite set of aspirations, on the other.

  Wedding reception held in Displaced Persons camp Porta Nuova; near Turin, Italy, c. 1948.

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, 35

Taking feminism and Judaism seriously, and putting it in print

Staff Writer
06/15/2010

Danya Ruttenberg grew up fiercely liberal. Her family attended a Reform synagogue in Chicago, but she says, “I was a cranky atheist ... the feminism came early and was never really questioned.” During her last year at Brown University, the death of her mother prompted her to rethink religion. She began sitting shiva, praying, asking the cosmic sort of questions that a strictly realist view of the world could not alone answer.

“I felt threatened by it,” she says of her sudden spirituality.

Danya Ruttenberg

Trope Tools - Learn to Read Torah on the iPad

Rabbi Eli Garfinkel, rabbi of Temple Beth El in Somerset, New Jersey and the techie behind the award-winning RabbiPod, has created his first app for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad family of Apple devices.

Trope Tools iPad App

A WaPo editorial on Arizona immigration law echoes concerns of Jewish groups

 A strong editorial in today's Washington Post sheds some light on why a number of Jewish groups think Arizona's new illegal immigration law is stupid and dangerous.

The Post writes that the new law 'will turn immigrants who came here illegally into quarry for law enforcement agencies statewide,” and that it “twists the Constitution."

Journal Watch

Special to the Jewish Week
04/28/2010

The Talmud — and everybody else — ponders the puzzling discrepancy between the two formulations in the Chumash with respect to the Sabbath. One iteration of the Ten Commandments (or “Articles”) in the Chumash uses the word shamor (“keep, guard”), while another uses zachor (“remember”) to describe the broad Sabbath requirement. These two locutions have been midrashically interpreted in different ways, in the broad range of halachic details that the Torah places under rubric of Shabbat.

A Lonely Levantine Shabbat

In Cairo, the once-crowded Shar Hashamaim is restored, but there are almost no Jews left to pray in it.

Special to the Jewish Week
04/28/2010

 I make it a point to go to shul on Saturday morning, and that wasn’t going to change when I found myself in Cairo last summer. Yes, it is in an Arab country, but it is my Arab country, where I was born and where of late I have found myself traveling again and again. There is no one there for me — the 80,000 Jews who once lived in Egypt are pretty much gone, as are all my relatives. Cairo, to paraphrase Janet Flanner, was yesterday.

  david cowles, Ark at Ben Ezra, Cairo,1994.

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.

Liberal Jewish Groups Optimistic About Stevens’ Replacement

04/14/2010
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The Jewish groups who liked John Paul Stevens as a Supreme Court justice are getting ready to dish out the same like to whomever replaces him.

Most of the Jewish groups closely tracking court decisions favor Stevens' liberal record, with minor qualifications, and do not believe that President Obama will choose a replacement who deviates from the norm.

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