Are we Indeed One People?

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?

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.

Career Paths Take A Detour To Israel

Three young New Yorkers with solid jobs make the leap to Jewish state.

Special To The Jewish Week

 Note: In the third installment of “Aliyah Journal,” we report on three New Yorkers — one married couple and one single woman — who are leaving successful careers to start over in Israel.

 She worked in Mayor Bloomberg’s office. He was a New York City cop.

Their lives couldn’t be more “New York” — until the Serkins decided to fulfill their dream of making aliyah.

 Tracey Goldstein,  shut down her own event planning company to move to Israel.

Israel: Overhaul The Conversion Process


The leadership of organized Jewry, from the Jewish Federations of North America to the Jewish Agency for Israel, is expressing frustration, anger and a sense of betrayal — understandably — with the Netanyahu government for allowing a controversial conversion bill to go forward in the Knesset, even though it would alienate the vast majority of diaspora Jewry.

Peoplehood: A Cloudy Concept


With the coming and going of our national holiday of barbecues - I mean - our holiday of national independence, JInsider has been grappling with the concept of peoplehood in the Jewish community.

Jewish peoplehood exercise

Rabbis Draw Lessons From Spill

Staff Writer

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld spent a few days around fishermen near the Gulf of Mexico last week and thought of the Israelites in the Sinai Desert.

Rabbi Schonfeld, executive vice president of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, was part of a 12-member, interfaith clergy group that toured the Gulf Coast area for 2½ days under the auspices of the Sierra Club and the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life.

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, second from left (obscured), with other clergy in the Gulf.

Appreciation: Rabbinic Leader Mixed Faith, Openness

Remembering Rabbi Yehuda Amital, who helped found Meimad party and challenged religious Zionist orthodoxy.

Special To The Jewish Week

Rabbi Yehuda Amital, who died last Friday in Jerusalem at 85 after a long illness, was a unique blend of Talmud scholar and political activist who balanced his love of Israel with his advocacy for territorial concession to save lives.

Rabbi Amital.

Appreciation: Tuesdays With Moshe And Rhoda

Remembering inspirational meals with YU history professor and scholar Moshe Carmilly and his wife.

Staff Writer

My favorite date a few years ago was 200 years old — he was 97, she was 93.

A few times a year, usually on a Tuesday evening, my late day at the office, I would spend a few hours over a kosher meal with Rhoda and Moshe Carmilly, a couple I had met in the late 1980s.

Rabbi Moshe Carmilly

Extravagant Jewish Celebrations – Have We Gone Too Far?

Special to the Jewish Week

$100,000 for a wedding? $20,000 for a bar mitzvah? When did extravagance and luxury become such primary Jewish values? I can’t remember the last simcha (Jewish celebration) I attended at which there were not tremendous amounts of wasted food, overly expensive napkins and bands large enough for a royal banquet.

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

Disaffected Synagogue Leaders Push For Change In Young Israel

Reps of 18 synagogues rally support to make national organization ‘more transparent, accountable and responsive.’

Staff Writer

A group of  disaffected leaders of 18 Young Israel synagogues has begun soliciting support for constitutional changes that they say would make the National Council of Young Israel “more transparent, accountable and responsive to member branches.”

Shaarei Torah Orthodox Congregation of Syracuse
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