Judaism

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

Is Drunkenness on Purim a No-No?

03/17/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

Q - In an age where addiction is so widespread, is it ethical to promote drunkenness on Purim?

A. No it is not.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Never Too Old To Speak Out On Injustice

Founder of Human Rights Watch, 88, starts new group to counter HRW’s alleged Mideast biases.

03/09/2011
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.”

Gary Rosenblatt

What Makes for Sacred Space?

03/07/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

 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.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

Live or Let Die?

03/06/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

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?

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

From My Book Shelf To Yours

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):

Reconstructionist Bodies Set to Merge

02/22/2011

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.

Reform Leaders Push New Image of Strong, Growing Israel Movement

02/18/2011
JTA

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.

Is Jeter a Cheater?

02/18/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

Q - With baseball’s spring training underway, I’m reminded of an incident from last season. Derek Jeter, one of the few superstars from the past decade not implicated in baseball’s steroid sample, was caught on video pretending to be hit by a pitch.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Don’t Dismiss the Jewish Character of Cupid

02/14/2011
JTA

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. (JTA) -- What’s Jewish about Valentine’s Day?

The day was first released from the purview of the Catholic Church in 1969, when Pope Paul VI declared that Valentine’s Day was no longer a saint’s day for universal liturgical veneration on the Catholic calendar. This restored Valentine’s Day to its original state, a traditional mating day of birds -- and humans -- in the English folk calendar.

But Cupid isn’t exclusively a pagan symbol.

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