Judaism

Creative Judaism

03/23/2011 - 20:00
JInsider
Newsweek recently ran a cover story on the crisis of creativity in America. To understand the Jewish perspective, JInsider asked Rabbi Yehuda Sarna to explain how our tradition promotes and fosters our creative self. Sarna has earned a following in the college community for his thoughtful leadership as Rabbi for the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at NYU and University Chaplain.
The creativity crisis

If I'm an Ethical Person, Does That Make Me a Good Jew?

03/23/2011 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Q - I have been struggling with some issues. I am not observant and the teacher of a class I've been taking has led me to believe that this makes me a bad Jew. I do lots of good deeds and am ethical in my actions. So can a good person be a bad Jew?

A - Relax. Loving your neighbor puts you are well on your way to being a "good Jew," whatever that means.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Tim Boxer: The Lives and Loves of Elizabeth Taylor

03/23/2011 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Elizabeth Taylor, the legendary Hollywood icon who died Wednesday, March 23, in Los Angeles at age 79, was perhaps the most famous convert to Judaism since Ruth.

When she wed the flamboyant producer Mike Todd (born Avrom Goldbogen), she wanted to renounce her Christian Science and espouse his Judaic faith. He talked her out of converting, believing she wanted simply to please him.

Out of a total of seven spouses, Todd was the only one she did not divorce. He died in a 1958 plane crash and left a weeping widow.

Elizabeth Taylor and Israeli President Ephraim Katzir at a Variety Club dinner in 1976 at Tel Aviv Hilton. Photo by Tim Boxer

The Masks We All Wear: Remembering Japan this Purim

03/17/2011 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Okay, I have a secret to tell you. But you have to promise to keep it a secret. Promise? Well, then, here goes: I’m a “theater person.” Yep, it’s true. I have a big background in theater, drama, musical theater, sketch comedy, and improvisation. Yes, that means I speak in silly voices and accents sometimes. And, yes, hopefully it does make my sermons at least a little more engaging. I’ve noticed that there are many fascinating similarities between the theater world and the rabbinate, but I suppose those observations will have to wait for another column.

Rabbi Marci N. Bellows

"But I'm One of the Chosen People!" Why Entitled People Drive Us Nuts

03/17/2011 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

It was supposed to be one of those mother-son experiences that memories are made of.

I was invited to be the keynote speaker for a fundraising event at a midwestern Jewish Federation, and, since it was within driving distance of my alma mater, The University of Michigan --Ann Arbor, I decided to bring my then-seven year old son Jacob. While I got excited to show him where I had gone to class and bought my books and partied hard (well, maybe I'd skip that part), I discovered what was to be the icing on the cake as soon as we got to JFK airport: We'd been upgraded to First Class.

Deborah Grayson Riegel

Japan’s Agony: Natural Disaster Through a Religious Lens

03/17/2011 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

After one or two probing and thoughtful questions from my Hebrew High School students this week about the unfolding disaster in Japan, I decided to shelve my lesson plan and just talk with them about what they were feeling. They were, like we all are, horrified by the images they were seeing, and struggling to frame this great tragedy in some way that was manageable for them.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Is Drunkenness on Purim a No-No?

03/16/2011 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Q - In an age where addiction is so widespread, is it ethical to promote drunkenness on Purim?

A. No it is not.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Never Too Old To Speak Out On Injustice

Founder of Human Rights Watch, 88, starts new group to counter HRW’s alleged Mideast biases.
03/08/2011 - 19:00
Editor And Publisher

Robert L. Bernstein has enjoyed two distinguished careers, one professional and one volunteer, in the interest of freedom of expression. Now, at age 88, he is about to launch a third, which he calls his “obsession” and “one of the most important things I’ve ever done.”

Gary Rosenblatt

What Makes for Sacred Space?

03/06/2011 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

 Last Friday evening, the Kabbalat Shabbat service in The Forest Hills Jewish Center took place in our newly refurbished “Little Synagogue,” the small sanctuary where our daily minyan meets.  In addition to new carpeting, wallpaper and lighting fixtures, we also moved the cantor’s amud off the bima, turned it around to face the Ark, and placed it in the middle of the congregation, with chairs on either side of it and behind it. In both style and substance, it was a major change.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

Live or Let Die?

03/05/2011 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Q - I am the designated medical surrogate for an individual who has a living will specifying DNR/Do Not Resuscitate. The physicians and hospital have been informed and have copies of the living will and DNR. Our loved one took a downward turn but the medical team resuscitated him. The patient prospered from their efforts and returned to his pre-resuscitation health status. Should I report the medical team for ethical non-compliance of the DNR/living will orders?

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman
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