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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Woman cantor at HIR praised, rapped in new round of Orthodox feminist wars.
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.
Thirty-five congregations press for special meeting with leadership to amend constitution.
The schism between the National Council of Young Israel and its member synagogues deepened this week amid fears by some congregants that the donations they make to their local synagogues might be subject to seizure by the National Council.
Those concerns surfaced in the wake of the recent aborted attempt to seize the assets of a member synagogue in upstate New York.
‘Judge everyone favorably,” teaches the Mishna. In my years in the rabbinate I have found this is a principle we observe very strictly when it comes to ourselves. We always put our own actions in a favorable light: “I was only trying to help!” or “I only said it out of concern” or “I’m not mean — you are too sensitive!” But when it comes to others, we are too willing, even eager, to assume unflattering motivations.
Q- Do you think it's right for people to boycott BP and get their gas elsewhere, as punishment for the oil spill?
There is definitely a "punish at the pumps" mentality afloat with regard to BP and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and I must admit, I haven't stopped at a BP since it happened. Gassing up at BP in this hostile climate would be like wearing a mink at PETA convention.