The Curious Case of Steven Slater

Special to the Jewish Week

After a three hour delay for what our pilot blithely referred to as a "catastrophic failure" of one of our brakes (how fortuitous to learn this before takeoff and not after!), my wife and I are finally on our way to California for a well-earned vacation. Watching flight attendants deal with frustrated passengers at 34,000 feet seems like a good time to spend a few minutes thinking about America's new cult hero, Steven Slater.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

File Sharing: Kosher or Not?

Special to the Jewish Week

 Q - Is it ethical to download and share current movies, songs and articles without paying for them?

It's hard to find a justification for the free use of video or music that people should be paying for. There's a reason they call it "piracy." But it all comes down to drawing the line between sharing and stealing.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Teaching Talmud In Moscow

Special To The Jewish Week

Now that the Russian government permits the practice of religion, I often wonder what is happening to the Jews of Russia. This past May I found out. I spent the month in Moscow teaching Talmud at the Moscow State University for the Humanities. 

Appreciation: Rabbinic Leader Mixed Faith, Openness

Remembering Rabbi Yehuda Amital, who helped found Meimad party and challenged religious Zionist orthodoxy.

Special To The Jewish Week

Rabbi Yehuda Amital, who died last Friday in Jerusalem at 85 after a long illness, was a unique blend of Talmud scholar and political activist who balanced his love of Israel with his advocacy for territorial concession to save lives.

Rabbi Amital.

Toddler Talmud

Special to the Jewish Week

When my daughter was 3, she taught me Talmud.

One morning I was making her waffles. When the toaster oven rang I said, “Oh, your waffles are ready.”

She said, “Why did you say ‘oy?’”

“I didn’t, I said ‘oh.’”

“You said ‘oy’” she insisted.

“OK” I conceded, I said “oy.”

“Aha!” she said, eyes gleaming with toddler triumph. “You misunderstood yourself.”

Is it OK to Hide a Fugitive From the Police?

Special to the Jewish Week

Q: You are out for a walk one night and you see a man running towards you. He looks terrified, stressed and panicked. He comes up to you with tears in his eyes and says, “I am going to hide right here. I can’t run anymore. I didn’t do anything wrong. Please, promise me you won’t tell them where I am!”

So you promise the man, he hides behind a bush and you keep walking.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Journal Watch

Special to the Jewish Week

The Talmud — and everybody else — ponders the puzzling discrepancy between the two formulations in the Chumash with respect to the Sabbath. One iteration of the Ten Commandments (or “Articles”) in the Chumash uses the word shamor (“keep, guard”), while another uses zachor (“remember”) to describe the broad Sabbath requirement. These two locutions have been midrashically interpreted in different ways, in the broad range of halachic details that the Torah places under rubric of Shabbat.

What Matters On Sukkot

Special to the Jewish Week

The Talmud has some advice: “A disciple of the wise may not live in a city which lacks one of the following ten things: a court, a charity-treasury with two collectors and three distributors, a synagogue, a public bathhouse, sanitary services, a physician, an artisan, a barber, a butcher, and a teacher of the young” (Sanhedrin 17b).

Tens Of Thousands Mark Talmud Completion

Staff Writer
Shmuel Mermelstein found the time during a vacation in Anatalia, Turkey. Jay Radin took a meaningful pause outside the elephant cage of the Bronx Zoo. Abraham Biederman often indulged his spiritual pursuit at City Hall, when he was the city’s commissioner of finance in the 1980s.
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