Standing on One Foot

The Talmudic sage Hillel was more radical and welcoming than many realize.
Special to the Jewish Week
09/07/2010 - 20:00

I was sitting with a rabbinic friend swapping stories about our lives and our work. He started talking about an encounter he had recently had: “A Jewish man, probably in his early 30s, and his non-Jewish girlfriend came to speak with me. They want to marry, but his parents are dead-set against their only son marrying a gentile.

Photo by Allison Michael Orenstein

Renewing Judaism: Rabbi Telushkin on Hillel

09/07/2010 - 20:00

TEXT/CONTEXT: According to the sages, Hillel died exactly 2,000 years ago, in the year 10. In what sense do you see him as a figure of the future as well as the past?

Islam hatred and anti-Semitism...connect the dots

Reading the comments of many Jewish Week readers on the New York Islamic Center controversy, I can't help but wonder why so many fail to see the parallels between their views of Islam and traditional anti-Semitism.

A typical comment goes like this: “Don't you understand that Islam is not a religion, but a violent ideology bent on conquering the world and bringing its population under submission through Sharia law? Haven't you read the Koran?”

Kiddush Clubs: A Destructive Force?

08/12/2010 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

A number of years back, I attended a kiddush club gathering in the basement of a synagogue. Right when the haftarah reading began, about 8 or 9 older men snuck out the back and in a small dark room in the basement opened multiple bottles of alcohol. They drank excessively until the sermon was over and then not so inconspicuously returned back for the final portion of the Shabbat morning service. Isn’t it fair for one to enjoy a nice scotch on their weekend, I wondered at the time?

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

The Curious Case of Steven Slater

08/12/2010 - 20:00
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?

08/12/2010 - 20:00
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

07/26/2010 - 20:00
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.
07/12/2010 - 20:00
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

06/29/2010 - 20:00
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?

06/06/2010 - 20:00
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
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