Bergen County’s Thriving Yeshiva

While many New York-area day schools are in crisis, Yeshivat Noam — blessed with a growing Modern Orthodox community and energetic faculty — is riding high.
Editorial Intern

When Yeshivat Noam first opened its doors in 2001, it was the kindergarten students — the upperclassmen, so to speak — who ran through the building, checking that every door had a mezuzah.

“We like to refer to them as our pioneers,” said Rabbi Chaim Hagler, principal of the Modern Orthodox school located in Bergen County. “They’ve kind of been eighth graders now for nine years.”

Second graders listen to a unit on bugs and their habitats.

Thirteen And A Few Days

Shaare Tikvah honors the more than 40 women who have had adult bat mitzvah ceremonies this year.
Special To The Jewish Week

Surrounded by proud family members and supportive friends, the b’nei mitzvah who came to the bima at Scarsdale’s Shaarei Tikvah synagogue during three recent Shabbat services chanted Haftorah, read from the Torah, led Shacharit services and delivered commentary on the week’s Torah portion.

Unlike the young women who usually celebrate this rite of passage milestone at this Conservative congregation, the 40-plus women who participated in these ceremonies did so under the doting gaze of husbands, children and even grandchildren.

Members of the Shaarei Tikvah Women’s study group. The synagogue will honor them on Sunday.

New Zealand Bans Shechita


SYDNEY (JTA) – New Zealand has banned shechita, the kosher slaughter of animals.

The country’s new animal welfare code, which took effect Friday, mandates that all animals for commercial consumption be stunned prior to slaughter to ensure they are treated “humanely and in accordance with good practice and scientific knowledge.”

The regulation has shocked the Jewish community.

Of Learning and Teaching

Special to the Jewish Week

I spent the past week at the annual convention of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international organization of Conservative rabbis. This year, it was held at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, the academy from which the overwhelming percentage of RA members were graduated and ordained.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

Jewish Wisdom (not just) for Graduates


With university commencement season upon us, assorted pundits are appearing on local campuses to offer their self-help spiels. In reality, some of the best advice for graduates comes from our own Jewish wisdom. So in the spirit of America’s sound-bite culture and Hillel’s famous feat of summing up the Torah in one sentence (“What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor”), JInsider offers some concise bits of Jewish wisdom in this week’s column. Here’s a taste on how to find one’s own purpose:

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.
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

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


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.


Celebrating Shavuot


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


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.

Syndicate content