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.
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.
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.
Founder of Human Rights Watch, 88, starts new group to counter HRW’s alleged Mideast biases.
Editor And Publisher
Robert L. Bernstein has enjoyed two distinguished careers, one professional and one volunteer, in the interest of freedom of expression. Now, at age 88, he is about to launch a third, which he calls his “obsession” and “one of the most important things I’ve ever done.”
Last Friday evening, the Kabbalat Shabbat service in The Forest Hills Jewish Center took place in our newly refurbished “Little Synagogue,” the small sanctuary where our daily minyan meets. In addition to new carpeting, wallpaper and lighting fixtures, we also moved the cantor’s amud off the bima, turned it around to face the Ark, and placed it in the middle of the congregation, with chairs on either side of it and behind it. In both style and substance, it was a major change.
Q - I am the designated medical surrogate for an individual who has a living will specifying DNR/Do Not Resuscitate. The physicians and hospital have been informed and have copies of the living will and DNR. Our loved one took a downward turn but the medical team resuscitated him. The patient prospered from their efforts and returned to his pre-resuscitation health status. Should I report the medical team for ethical non-compliance of the DNR/living will orders?
One of the perks of my job is receiving new books from publishers all over the world. Some of these books are wonderful; some (often self-published) are so bad they make me sad for the trees that gave their limbs to gratify the authors.
Here is a sampling of three very different books of note I’ve received lately and recommend (in no particular order):
SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) -- The two organizational arms of the Reconstructionist movement are set to merge.
Following a year-and-a-half of negotiations, the boards of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation have voted to form one body that will be responsible for Reconstructionist Judaism in North America.
Reconstructionist leaders say the merger will permit better use of limited resources and allow the movement to focus more effectively on its main concerns: education, movement services and social justice.
SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) -- Rabbi Reuven Bar Ephraim of Switzerland says it’s sometimes a challenge for him to defend Israel when his own Reform movement is not recognized by Israel’s Orthodox-dominated Chief Rabbinate.