Judaism

Kiddush Clubs: A Destructive Force?

08/13/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

A number of years back, I attended a kiddush club gathering in the basement of a synagogue. Right when the haftarah reading began, about 8 or 9 older men snuck out the back and in a small dark room in the basement opened multiple bottles of alcohol. They drank excessively until the sermon was over and then not so inconspicuously returned back for the final portion of the Shabbat morning service. Isn’t it fair for one to enjoy a nice scotch on their weekend, I wondered at the time?

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

The Curious Case of Steven Slater

08/13/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

After a three hour delay for what our pilot blithely referred to as a "catastrophic failure" of one of our brakes (how fortuitous to learn this before takeoff and not after!), my wife and I are finally on our way to California for a well-earned vacation. Watching flight attendants deal with frustrated passengers at 34,000 feet seems like a good time to spend a few minutes thinking about America's new cult hero, Steven Slater.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

File Sharing: Kosher or Not?

08/13/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

 Q - Is it ethical to download and share current movies, songs and articles without paying for them?

It's hard to find a justification for the free use of video or music that people should be paying for. There's a reason they call it "piracy." But it all comes down to drawing the line between sharing and stealing.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Questioning My New Degree

08/10/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

I received an honorary doctorate from the Jewish Theological Seminary this spring. I appreciate the recognition, but it has prompted some disquieting questions.

Reform and Conservative rabbis often get these diplomas, usually after about 25 years of service. So the honor has more to do with survival than accomplishment. I suppose it could be said that enduring 25 years in the rabbinate, particularly in the pulpit, is deserving of special recognition. There have been times when I wondered whether a Purple Heart might be more appropriate, or maybe a Nobel Peace Prize.

Mating Patterns and Jewish Anthropology

08/10/2010
JInsider

With all of its obstacles, complexities and quirks, the search for a soul mate is one of the most exhausting and frustrating processes in modern Jewish society. In celebration of this past month’s Tu B’Av holiday, JInsider commissioned an anthropological study on the mating habits of North American Jews. We wanted to better understand the miracle of finding bashert (romantic destiny) from the text and in-field research. We assigned an undercover intern to research and scientifically document patterns of initial communication implemented in the NYC Jewish dating process.

One Prophet, No Gain

08/10/2010
Staff Writer

The “prophet” Murray rails at the excesses of the Jewish community. The targets of the “prophet” Murray are garish bar mitzvah ceremonies, non-Jewish names stuck on Jewish children, and look-alike synagogue buildings. The “prophet” Murray also makes a case against the clannishness of Brooklyn.

The quotes around Murray’s title are more real than Murray is.

Non-prophet venture: Biblical-style book offers gentle satire of American Jewish community.

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

Victories for intermarriage against the ‘narrow.’

08/10/2010
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.

Is the Clergy Life Unusually Stressful?

08/06/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

On the first of this month, just as my vacation was beginning, the New York Times published (on its front page!) an article about the phenomenon of “clergy burnout.” I was, of course, touched by the fact that they had timed the publishing of the article to coincide with the o

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

Orthodox Solidarity with Frum Homosexuals

08/04/2010
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.

08/04/2010
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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