We are awash with insight. There is no shortage of books, pundits, philosophers, clergy, psychologists and psychiatrists, ethicists and counselors who offer the distilled wisdom of the ages. How much easier to seek wisdom than it is to change!
So now we have the editor of a major Jewish newspaper actually making the case that a Dawn Festival in San Francisco is simply another way of celebrating the holiday of Shavuot (“Shavuot’s Big Tent,” Between The Lines, May 14).
Shavuot, like Passover, Yom Kippur, etc. is a Jewish religious holiday — it is not a comedy club for gays or a rock concert. And if next year some group of nominal Jews decides to slay and eat cats to celebrate Shavuot, will that be just another good option?
Francine Klagsbrun (Opinion, May 14) both misunderstands Orthodox Judaism and unintentionally strengthens the Rabbinical Council of America’s rationale for stating that “regardless of title” a woman cannot be a member of the Orthodox rabbinate.
Judaism, in the eyes of Orthodox Jews, has always encompassed much more than codified laws. It includes the judgments of a broad consensus of rabbinic leaders about what is Jewishly proper, particularly when Jews are faced with new social or political circumstances and movements.
Chancellor Arnold Eisen often states that JTS is the center of the Conservative world (“JTS Chancellor Charting New Course For Outreach,” May 21). He dismisses the efforts and results that Rabbi Bradley Artson of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles has realized.
Gary Rosenblatt’s article spoke of combining “heart” and “head.” There is a difference between the two schools: whereas JTS aims for the head, the Ziegler School goes directly to the heart.
Kudos to Arnold Eisen for recognizing the opportunity to broaden the Conservative tent and provide leadership to a growing number of people who do not feel a denominational affiliation should trump their own sense of values and Jewish identity (“JTS Chancellor Charting New Course For Outreach,” May 21).
Faster! Bigger! Newer! More in touch! The innovative sector of Jewish life is thriving as never before through grassroots movements, including hip prayer groups, Jewish farming, and religious community organizing that are emerging to meet an expanding range of Jewish needs. While I consider myself a social entrepreneur within this trend and am excited by its progress and creativity, I can’t help but raise ethical concerns and questions about this progress. Why do so many innovators find it necessary to disparage the larger Jewish establishments?
One of the most enlightening and disturbing articles on Jewish life that I’ve read in awhile appears in the Spring issue of Lilith, the Jewish feminist magazine, in which Rabbi Susan Schnur interviews her daughter and two other 20-something young women (rabbis’ daughters, each, and observant, to varying degrees).
The Talmud — and everybody else — ponders the puzzling discrepancy between the two formulations in the Chumash with respect to the Sabbath. One iteration of the Ten Commandments (or “Articles”) in the Chumash uses the word shamor (“keep, guard”), while another uses zachor (“remember”) to describe the broad Sabbath requirement. These two locutions have been midrashically interpreted in different ways, in the broad range of halachic details that the Torah places under rubric of Shabbat.