Orthodox Judaism

Zamir Lifts Women’s Voices

10/31/2010 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

To be a Jewish musician is easy, says Matthew Lazar, but to be a Jew and a musician is sometimes difficult

Nevertheless he has overcome many hurdles over the years as he guided the world-renowned coeducational Zamir Chorale as its director and conductor — in an age when modern Orthodox Jewish sensibilities shifted fundamentally to the right.

Zamir Chorale was founded by Stanley Sperber in 1960. He made aliya in 1972 and passed the baton to Lazar.

Theodore Bikel presents talit to Matthew Lazar at Zamir gala. Photo by Tim Boxer

Paladino Asked About ‘Backdoor Deals With The Orthodox’

10/24/2010 - 20:00
Assistant Managing Editor

A host of Fox TV’s “Good Day New York” Monday morning asked Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino if he was “making any backdoor deals with the Orthodox to stay alive.”

Rosanna Scotto noted the candidate’s campaigning this week in Williamsburg and a previous appearance there on October 11th that caused a controversy over gay rights.

GOP gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino

Rifts over Israel: is it all about Judaism?

Is the debate inside the Jewish world over Israeli and U.S. policy in the Middle East increasingly about religion and the bitter question of “who is a Jew?”

Talk about asking the obvious.

Yet this escapes the notice of most commentators, who continue to see only political and ideological differences. And it's something Jewish leaders don't like to face up to because it eats at the heart of one of their most cherished self-deceptions – that Israel is the issue that unites a disunited Jewish community.

Orthodox Union Nixes Women Leading Friday Night Services

10/14/2010 - 20:00

(JTA) -- The Orthodox Union issued a statement saying women may not lead Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat services if men are present.

Last week’s decision by the group's board of directors is the latest setback for Orthodox Jews seeking greater roles for women in worship ritual.

“With regard to the matter of a woman leading Kabbalat Shabbat services before an audience of men and women, the position of the Orthodox Union is that such practice is improper and constitutes an unacceptable breach of Jewish tradition," the board said.

The Road Not Taken: Avi Weiss, Michael Broyde And Women’s Roles

09/04/2010 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Rabbi Avi Weiss’ recent introduction of women-led Kabbalat Shabbat services in his synagogue has produced yet another kerfuffle among his rabbinical colleagues, albeit one significantly subdued when compared with the recent “Rabba” controversy. And Rabbi Michael Broyde, a noted rabbinic scholar, has once again responded with an article that purports to outline the “normative” Orthodox position on Rabbi Weiss’ latest innovation. Not surprisingly, that position is different than Rabbi Weiss’.

Time To End The Reform-Orthodox Wars

08/30/2010 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

With the renewed seasonal outbreak of the Reform-Orthodox wars, I cannot see myself as a mere bystander, inasmuch as the letter by Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar, is addressed to me, as an official town rabbi. (See).

Rabbi Naftali Rothenberg

Media: Clinton’s Rabbi Is Mainstream, Israel’s Rabbis ‘Extreme’

Victories for intermarriage against the ‘narrow.’
08/09/2010 - 20:00
Associate Editor


Maybe some Orthodox Jews are feeling “triumphalist” these days, with their high birthrates, high degrees of Jewish literacy and low assimilation rates, but to read the papers lately is to see Orthodoxy as a Palooka getting pummeled in a Pier 6 brawl. Between Chelsea Clinton’s intermarriage and the shelved conversion bill in Israel, the Orthodox are certainly getting the worst of it.


Orthodox Rabbis were called "extreme" but not Rabbi James Ponet, above.

Orthodox Solidarity with Frum Homosexuals

08/03/2010 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Three leading Modern Orthodox rabbis and personal teachers of mine (Nathaniel Helfgot, Aryeh Klapper, and Yitzchak Blau) recently released a statement of principles on how Orthodoxy can and must relate to homosexuals in our community.

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

Weiss Moves Beyond ‘Rabba’

Woman cantor at HIR praised, rapped in new round of Orthodox feminist wars.
08/03/2010 - 20:00
Staff Writer

This time, in the pitched battle between Rabbi Avi Weiss and the Orthodox establishment, the “rabba” was merely the undercard.

Sara Hurwitz is a spiritual leader at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, and her promotion in March to rabba, a member of the shul’s rabbinic leadership, by Rabbi Weiss set off a brushfire of criticism at HIR and across the Orthodox world. She was at shul as usual last Friday night, but she was hardly the main event.

Rabbi Avi Weiss allowed woman to lead services last Friday night.
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