Judaism

Is it Cruel to Force Dogs to Keep Passover?

03/31/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

Q - I've heard that pets are supposed to keep Passover. I'm fairly traditional regarding Passover and just got a dog. Isn't it cruel to force an innocent animal to change its entire diet for a whole week? It's hard enough for humans!

A- As the proud owner of two adorable standard poodles, one of whom is extremely neurotic, I can sympathize with you.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Jewish Hotel Ethics

03/31/2011
Special to the Jewish week

Hotel workers are among some of the most poor and abused laborers in America today. Over 90 percent of hotel housekeepers have reported suffered work-related pain due to the demands of the job. How can the Jewish tradition inform an authentic Jewish ethic for hotel guests?

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

Talking To Conservative Rabbis: What’s In A ‘Movement’?

03/29/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

Since the beginning of January, I have been on a tour of North America and have seen over 400 Conservative rabbis face-to-face or conducted extensive phone interviews with them.

What am I looking for?

I have been reaching out to my colleagues with the question: “As a rabbi, what are you trying to accomplish in your community? How does your Torah inspire your community to bring change in their lives and the world?” In the aggregate, their stories are a lens on the Conservative movement today.

Another Kosher Scandal: What's at Stake

03/24/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

Yes, once again kosher is not yosher (just)!

Pickles used to be my favorite snack, but now I can't help but think of the workers in a pickle at Flaum Appetizing before taking a bite.

Just a few years ago, Flaum, which also produces Sonny & Joe's and distributes Tnuva and Bodek products, fired seventeen Latino workers who stood up against over a decade of abusive treatment and unlawfully-withheld benefits and overtime pay.

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

Creative Judaism

03/24/2011
JInsider
Newsweek recently ran a cover story on the crisis of creativity in America. To understand the Jewish perspective, JInsider asked Rabbi Yehuda Sarna to explain how our tradition promotes and fosters our creative self. Sarna has earned a following in the college community for his thoughtful leadership as Rabbi for the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at NYU and University Chaplain.

The creativity crisis

If I'm an Ethical Person, Does That Make Me a Good Jew?

03/24/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

Q - I have been struggling with some issues. I am not observant and the teacher of a class I've been taking has led me to believe that this makes me a bad Jew. I do lots of good deeds and am ethical in my actions. So can a good person be a bad Jew?

A - Relax. Loving your neighbor puts you are well on your way to being a "good Jew," whatever that means.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Tim Boxer: The Lives and Loves of Elizabeth Taylor

03/24/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

Elizabeth Taylor, the legendary Hollywood icon who died Wednesday, March 23, in Los Angeles at age 79, was perhaps the most famous convert to Judaism since Ruth.

When she wed the flamboyant producer Mike Todd (born Avrom Goldbogen), she wanted to renounce her Christian Science and espouse his Judaic faith. He talked her out of converting, believing she wanted simply to please him.

Out of a total of seven spouses, Todd was the only one she did not divorce. He died in a 1958 plane crash and left a weeping widow.

Elizabeth Taylor and Israeli President Ephraim Katzir at a Variety Club dinner in 1976 at Tel Aviv Hilton. Photo by Tim Boxer

The Masks We All Wear: Remembering Japan this Purim

03/18/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

Okay, I have a secret to tell you. But you have to promise to keep it a secret. Promise? Well, then, here goes: I’m a “theater person.” Yep, it’s true. I have a big background in theater, drama, musical theater, sketch comedy, and improvisation. Yes, that means I speak in silly voices and accents sometimes. And, yes, hopefully it does make my sermons at least a little more engaging. I’ve noticed that there are many fascinating similarities between the theater world and the rabbinate, but I suppose those observations will have to wait for another column.

Rabbi Marci N. Bellows

"But I'm One of the Chosen People!" Why Entitled People Drive Us Nuts

03/18/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

It was supposed to be one of those mother-son experiences that memories are made of.

I was invited to be the keynote speaker for a fundraising event at a midwestern Jewish Federation, and, since it was within driving distance of my alma mater, The University of Michigan --Ann Arbor, I decided to bring my then-seven year old son Jacob. While I got excited to show him where I had gone to class and bought my books and partied hard (well, maybe I'd skip that part), I discovered what was to be the icing on the cake as soon as we got to JFK airport: We'd been upgraded to First Class.

Deborah Grayson Riegel

Japan’s Agony: Natural Disaster Through a Religious Lens

03/18/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

After one or two probing and thoughtful questions from my Hebrew High School students this week about the unfolding disaster in Japan, I decided to shelve my lesson plan and just talk with them about what they were feeling. They were, like we all are, horrified by the images they were seeing, and struggling to frame this great tragedy in some way that was manageable for them.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik
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