Naturally, all the Democrat candidates for mayor tried to score points with the mostly Orthodox audience at a debate sponsored by the Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition earlier this week.
But Anthony Weiner and Jon Liu seemed to be the most over the top in trying to connect.
The Jewish ex-congressman turned comeback hopeful greeted people with “Shalom aleichems,” on two occasions referred to “shekels” instead of dollars, threw in an Eretz Yisrael or two and used his standard remark about understanding the Orthodox community “in his kishkes.”
I always assumed I would raise my children as Reform Jews, just as I had been raised. Actually, when I was growing up, I considered our family "observant Reform." We went to temple every Shabbat and holiday. My father was president of our congregation; my mother chaired innumerable committees and my sister and I served as youth group presidents. We were proud Jews, but liberal ones. Few people in our synagogue (ourselves included) kept kosher or wore kippot. In college, I was one of the few Hillel regulars who needed to learn the Birkat Hamazon. Some years after college, when my husband and I married, we joined a Reform congregation, fully expecting our own new family to follow a similar path.
Ani Maamin – I believe with perfect faith in the coming of a messianic era. In Reform ideology, we don’t necessarily wait for an individual Messiah, but we do encourage people to do all they can to create a better world, and to work towards a time when all will be peaceful, loving, and safe. Among Jews of various denominations, we have differing opinions about what will bring the Messiah. Some believe that, once every eligible Jew has observed certain mitzvot (like laying tefillin or lighting Shabbat candles), the Messiah will finally arrive. Others believe that, once things get particularly bad, the Messiah will surely come. I have a bit of a different idea.
“Orthodox isolationism” plays out in Modern Orthodox Jews' parochial view of politics
Special To The Jewish Week
Looking around at my fellow worshipers at late Maariv services at the Carlebach Synagogue the other night, I pondered political affiliation. Who, mused I, are the Obama supporters, and who are in the Romney camp? When I nudged my pew-mate, a prominent West-Side M.D., and asked him, “65 percent Romney?” he sputtered, “Get real! We’re talking 90 percent, maybe 99 percent. The 1 percent ‘Obama’ is you!”
When I first heard that a rally was planned for Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Jews to protest the Internet, I didn’t think it would attract much attention. After all, the Internet has long been under attack in Haredi communities and their rabbinic leaders have forbidden it in the past.
Will Obama’s move rally liberal Jews — or drive away what’s left of his Orthodox supporters?
Most American Jews, who continue to overwhelmingly vote Democratic, will likely see President Barack Obama’s announcement last week that he supports gay marriage as further reason to vote for him. After all, a “Jewish values” poll released last month by the Public Religion Research Institute found 81 percent support the right of same-sex couples to marry.
If Al Gore actually did invent the Internet, as he once claimed, he would be the least popular guy in any ultra-Orthodox neighborhood. It is clear that the fervently Orthodox Jewish leaders really despise the Internet and technology because they're willing to spend over $1.5 million in a rally against it next month in Queens, New York.
It is beautiful how much emphasis there is on Shabbat and holiday celebration in American Orthodoxy. However, the celebration of the values of health and exercise are sorely lacking in the community. Parents often do not stress health and exercise for their children, and day schools fall short on creating rigorous health programs. Happily, religious celebration need not compromise our commitment to health.