Bible

Preparing for Passover: Keeping Perspective Amidst the Madness

04/13/2011 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

It is often said that if it were possible to remember pain, no family would have more than one child. And yet, year in and year out, we Jews engage in this annual ritual of completely subverting the normal order of our kitchens, and often our furniture, and willingly subject ourselves to the very arduous task of preparing for Passover.

By the way, it is also often said that if the ancient rabbis ever set foot in their kitchens, such that they were, the laws of Passover would look quite different. But we won't go there…

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Enslavement, Redemption, and the Arab World: A Passover Unlike All Others

04/06/2011 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Each and every year, at precisely this time of year, I find myself struggling with the question of who owns Jewish history.

It sounds like an odd question, I know. In a sense, it is. But what I mean is that there are some chapters of our history that are so imprinted on the broader consciousness of western civilization that it often feels as if we have handed over our historical experience to the rest of the world, to use as it pleases.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Good Samaritans

Israel’s smallest religious minority offers Jews a glimpse of what might have been.
04/04/2011 - 20:00

What would the Jews look like had they not been exiled to the four corners of the earth, had they gone untainted — but also unenriched — by the cultures in which they tarried? Imagine Jews who retained their fierce attachment to the Torah and the faith of their fathers, but without the rabbinic response to displacement.

Efforts To Improve Security At Israel’s Ancient Cemetery

'People are afraid to be buried here, out of concern for their graves and their family members.'
02/22/2011 - 19:00
Israel Correspondent

Jerusalem — Every time Menachem and Avraham Lubinsky, from Brooklyn, visit their parents’ graves at the Mount of Olives (Har Hazeitim) cemetery in east Jerusalem, they feel it necessary to request an armed escort.

“I’ve been going to the cemetery for 25 years and I still feel fearful,” Menachem Lubinsky, a businessman, said in a telephone interview from New York. “One time kids threw rocks at me.

Arab homes have been built right next to — occasionally within — 3,000-year-old Mount of Olives cemetery. Photo: Michele Chabin

Don’t Dismiss the Jewish Character of Cupid

02/13/2011 - 19:00
JTA

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. (JTA) -- What’s Jewish about Valentine’s Day?

The day was first released from the purview of the Catholic Church in 1969, when Pope Paul VI declared that Valentine’s Day was no longer a saint’s day for universal liturgical veneration on the Catholic calendar. This restored Valentine’s Day to its original state, a traditional mating day of birds -- and humans -- in the English folk calendar.

But Cupid isn’t exclusively a pagan symbol.

The Rental Controversy In Israel: A Time For Bold, Ethical Halachic Decision-Making

12/22/2010 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Much has already been written about the letter signed by dozens of communal rabbis in Israel proscribing Jewish residents from renting or selling property to gentiles on halachic grounds. It is clear from the context of the controversy that the motivation behind this provocative step is the concern for the demographic makeup of neighborhoods in the north of Israel, fueled by the fear of a concerted effort to undermine Jewish majorities in those locales.

Rabbis' Ban Of Renting To Arabs Must Be Condemned

12/12/2010 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Israel is roiled once again in sad and needless moral controversy. Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu of Safed, son of former Israeli Chief Sephardic Rabbi Mordecai Eliyahu, and with the support of 49 other rabbis, has ruled that it is forbidden by Jewish law for Israeli Jews to sell land or rent property to an Arab.

Abraham’s Children: Alone, Together

‘Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam’ at New York Public Library: The joy, and the complexity, of text.
10/25/2010 - 20:00
Staff Writer

One approaches “Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam,” a new exhibit of religious texts at The New York Public Library, with caution. The animating idea might cause you to roll your eyes at its surface naiveté: at a time of heightened tensions among Muslims, Jews and Christians, the curators suggest we should emphasize what we all share in common.

Or should we?

An Italian marriage contract, or ketubah, from 1782, featuring images of the Abraham’s Binding of Isaac.

You Broke It, You Own It, Own Up to It

10/07/2010 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Q.  While visiting a friend, I almost tripped on an expensive piece of electronics that was not where it was supposed to be - in fact, it was on the floor, sticking out into the hallway, posing a hazard. When I hit it, I heard an ominous "crack." Obviously I did it some real damage, although it was not immediately visible.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Tyler Clementi's Tragic Suicide: Kohelet was Right

10/07/2010 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Just about a week ago, on Shmini Atzeret, many of us read in synagogue the book of Kohelet, known more widely to most as Ecclesiastes. People who know the book tend to regard it as more than a little cynical, and clearly, the author of the book- ascribed by tradition to King Solomon in his old age- had been around the proverbial block more than a few times. There was little that he hadn't seen, and he was sure that what he was yet to see would not be new to him. Ein hadash tahat hashamesh, he famously said- there is nothing new under the sun.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik
Syndicate content