Judaism

Ethical Kosher Seal Nearing Marketplace for Conservative Jews

Conservative movement’s ambitious ‘Magen Tzedek’ in testing stages, hoping to have certified products on store shelves within year.

05/25/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

With the trials of Sholom Rubashkin, the former CEO of the Agriprocessors kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa, still looming large over the kosher food industry, the Conservative movement is ready to make its mark on a field that is dominated by Orthodox companies.

After years of discussion and planning, the “Magen Tzedek” — which the Conservative movement calls the world’s first Jewish ethical certification seal — will complete beta testing with two food companies by the end of 2010.

Rabbi Morris Allen heads up the Conservative movement’s Hekhsher Tzedek commission.

Wisdom Is Easy, Change Hard

05/25/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

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!

Learning To Listen

05/25/2010

Gary Rosenblatt’s column on the variety of Shavuot observances was terrific (“Shavuot’s Big Tent,” Between The Lines, May 14).

Learning to listen to and appreciate the many ways in which Judaism is and can be relevant is a great art, and thank you to Rosenblatt for being one of its best practitioners.

Manhattan
 

Celebrating Shavuot

05/25/2010

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?

Highland Park, N.J.
 

Slippery Halachic Slope

05/25/2010

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.

Soulful Approach

05/25/2010

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.

Conservative Judaism: Broadening The Tent

05/25/2010

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).

Bat Mitzvah Firsts

05/25/2010

Is it really a surprise that Elena Kagan, likely our next Supreme Court justice, insisted on being the first girl at her Orthodox synagogue to have a bat mitzvah (“A Pioneer at Age 12,” May 14)?

The Ethics of Innovation

05/14/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

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?

Shmuly Yanklowitz

What We Don’t Know About Jewish Views On Dating, And More

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).

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