Judaism

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).

Journal Watch

Special to the Jewish Week
04/28/2010

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.

Who Gets Religious Custody in an Interfaith Divorce?

04/20/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

The case of little Ela Reyes raises many thorny issues about church/state entanglement, parenting in a multicultural world, and the challenge of religious pluralism. Ela’s parents, Rebecca Reyes (born Jewish) and her now ex-husband Joseph Reyes (raised Catholic, converted to Judaism, and now returning to the Church) found themselves in court over the issue of his right to bring Ela to church. Cook County (Illinois) Judge Renee Goldfarb ruled that Mr. Reyes has the right to do so. 

Going To Bat For Muslim-Jewish Ties

07/22/2009
Assistant Managing Editor
As they explored common ground during a busy mission to New York this week, an international delegation of rabbis and imams found it easy to agree on one thing: They wanted to see the Yankees beat the Orioles Monday. And thanks to a walkoff homer by Hideki Matsui, they got their wish with a 2-1 Yankees victory.

Apocalypse Now?

12/31/1999
Associate Editor

Since Jews believe in the spiritual inevitability of bashert rather than the random chance of coincidence, perhaps there is something to the fact that on the final Shabbat morning of the two Christian millenniums, in 999 and 1999, the Torah reading was the same, Vayihi, with its implicit warning about apocalyptic speculation. Rashi writes that the patriarch Jacob wanted to reveal his vision about the end of days, but his prophetic portal was suddenly closed.

When Symbolism Becomes Literal

04/25/2003
Staff Writer
As Jewish soldiers recited the Ten Plagues and spilled wine from their cups at a seder table in a tent in the Kuwaiti desert, Rabbi Joshua Narrowe observed that the spilled wine was not only "for the Egyptians who died in the Exodus, but also for the Iraqi conscripts and civilians who died" in the 26-day Iraq War.

Passover Rations Missing In Action

04/11/2003
Staff Writer
Despite efforts by Jewish groups to provide kosher-for-Passover food to as many as 2,000 Jewish troops involved in the Iraq War, several Jewish soldiers and chaplains complained to The Jewish Week that there is not enough for the eight-day holiday that begins Wednesday night. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan) said he heard some of the same complaints but has been rebuffed in his efforts to get the Air Force to fly more Passover provisions to Kuwait and Iraq.

Havdalah At The Front

03/21/2003
Staff Writer
Just minutes after the blazing sun set in the Kuwaiti desert last Saturday, and as a lone candle flickered in a tent at Camp Commando near the Iraqi border, one of four Jewish soldiers at the evening Sabbath service began to cry when Rabbi Irving Elson put his hands on his shoulders and prayed. "Be strong and of courage and trust in the Lord," Rabbi Elson said, quoting from the Book of Joshua.
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