It seems my column this week hit a raw nerve in describing how some Jewish groups are using alcohol and partying as outreach tools to attract young people.
On the first day I've already received several dozen emails, in addition to online Comments, ranging from kudos for "telling like it is," to strong critiques for exaggerating, if not outright fabricating tales of overindulgence at organizational events.
Hundreds of Reform Rabbis traveled to New Orleans… sounds like the start of a joke, yes? This past week marked the 122nd Annual Convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis - the CCAR - and, yes, this year's convention was held in New Orleans, Louisiana.
On Sunday through Thursday of this week, hundreds of my colleagues in the Rabbinical Assembly and I gathered at our international convention, held this year in Las Vegas. The Rabbinical Assembly is the professional organization of Conservative rabbis around the world. In addition to my work as the rabbi of The Forest Hills Jewish Center, I currently serve as the RA's Vice-President, and am slated to assume the Presidency in another year.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.