Francine Klagsbrun (Opinion, May 14) both misunderstands Orthodox Judaism and unintentionally strengthens the Rabbinical Council of America’s rationale for stating that “regardless of title” a woman cannot be a member of the Orthodox rabbinate.
Judaism, in the eyes of Orthodox Jews, has always encompassed much more than codified laws. It includes the judgments of a broad consensus of rabbinic leaders about what is Jewishly proper, particularly when Jews are faced with new social or political circumstances and movements.
Walking along the route of the Israel Day Parade on Sunday, from 72nd Street down to 59th Street along Fifth Avenue, we were reminded once again, and in dramatic fashion, how the expression of Zionism in American has become increasingly the purview of the Modern Orthodox community.
The other day I received a call from a reporter at the Detroit News. She was just about to submit a story about a motorized scooter that can be used by observant Jews on Shabbat, but she wanted a local rabbi's comments first. It was fortuitous that she contacted me since I am already familiar with the Israeli-based Zomet Institute, which partnered with the scooter company, but I have also seen this Sabbath-acceptable scooter in action since I know Michael Balkin, who owns one of these scooters and was interviewed for the article.
If you keep close tabs on the Orthodox in America, you probably know Samuel Heilman’s name.
He’s been keeping tabs himself on the subject for years, having written numerous articles and two books about Judiasm’s most rigidly observant stream.
A group of Orthodox Jews will be leaving Saturday night for Israel to meet with the country’s senior political leaders in a bid to convince them to keep the status quo on conversions.
The trip was organized within the last three weeks by the newly formed Orthodox organization Am Echad. Between 60 and 70 lay leaders from across the country are expected to participate, according to one of Am Echad’s leaders, Abraham Biderman.
The action this week by the upstate Village of Pomona just north of Monsey to limit the size of college dormitories is evidence of “overt, direct, anti-Semitic discrimination” aimed at a proposed $350 million Orthodox rabbinical college in the village, according to the college’s lawyer.
The law adopted Monday night by the village’s trustees, limits the size of college dormitories to 20 percent of the size of the total square footage of the college’s buildings.
In anticipation of possible Israeli withdrawals from the West Bank, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America voted in Jerusalem last week to empower its leadership to issue statements critical of the Israeli government.
The action, taken after much debate, came after what many viewed as the organization's tepid response two years ago to the planned Gaza disengagement.