Judaism

New Threats As Crisis Deepens At Young Israel

Thirty-five congregations press for special meeting with leadership to amend constitution.

08/04/2010
Staff Writer

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 Kindly

08/03/2010

‘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. 

Is it Ethical to Boycott BP?

08/03/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

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.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

RCA: Bill Is Not Matter For American Liberals

07/20/2010
Staff Writer

While the Reform and Conservative movements here mounted campaigns to convince Israeli lawmakers to vote against the proposed conversion bill, the largest group of Orthodox rabbis here said American Jews should keep out of internal Israeli matters. 

“The legislation is designed to change nothing regarding North American Jewish issues, a matter which in any event is far less significant to the State of Israel and its citizens than the undoubted benefits that the bill promises,” said the statement by the Rabbinical Council of America.

Conversion Controversy: A Perfect Storm (And A Way Out)

07/20/2010

The showdown over a controversial conversion bill in the Knesset will likely be averted for the moment. But any sigh of relief you may hear around the Jewish world is premature. 

Gary Rosenblatt

Even Orthodox Rabbis Here Bemoan (Privately) The Conversion Controversy

Amid all the furor from opponents of the proposed Knesset conversion bill that would turn the de facto Orthodox control into law, it’s instructive to note who isn’t speaking out, and why.

And one can appreciate how this controversy underscores the enormous gap in understanding between Jewish leaders here and in Israel.

Hanky Panky on a Shul Board

07/16/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

 Q - I'm a shul president and I've just discovered that two of my board members have been carrying on an affair, using board meeting nights as cover for their trysts. I like them both and they are very hard workers. I like their spouses too. I'm not sure what to do. Do I confront them? Do I tell the rabbi? Do I kick them off the board?

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Speak Truth to Power

07/16/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

"Speak truth to power!" "Power is corrupt!" These popular mantras have fueled rhetorical wars among the classes for generations and are still voiced by many activists today. The disdain for power long predates the Marxists and the counter-culture activists; it enters the discourse of the early Rabbis in the Mishnah: "Love work, hate holding power, and do not seek to become intimate with the authorities," (Pirke Avot 1:10).

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

Are we Indeed One People?

07/16/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

As I write this article, furious negotiations are underway in Jerusalem regarding the so-called “Rotem Bill,” which might possibly be introduced to the plenum of the Knesset as early as next week. In a Jewish world that often hyperbolizes potential disasters, this bill, if passed, has the capacity to drive a major wedge between the State of Israel and the non-Orthodox Jewish community here in North America. I suspect that certain sectors of the Orthodox community are not anxious to see it passed, either.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

Tisha B’Av 2010. Why Bother?

07/14/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

The margins have become the mainstream—and the vast majority of Jews today are not actively connected with a “temple” (a.k.a. synagogue). So it seems unlikely that a mid-summer day of mourning for the destruction of two ancient temples in Jerusalem could have much to recommend it. Throw in the prohibitions on eating, drinking, and shmoozing and the ruin of Tisha B’Av itself seems certain.

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