Recent comments

  • Reply to: NYU Dorm Flooded With 'Eviction' Notices   1 hour 51 min ago

    Obviously we don't expect Jewish liberal papers to defend Jews. Jewish liberals will stab you in the back every time. Why don't you take the side of the parents who worry about their kids instead of worrying about those who wish to do Israel in?

  • Reply to: NYU Dorm Flooded With 'Eviction' Notices   2 hours 49 min ago

    Where was university security to prevent freeloading, rabblerosters from degrading the name of NYU???

    Maybe if these individuals went to school and learned something to build their society instead of being the distructive characters they are their people would have something to offer the world!

  • Reply to: Can Autism Acceptance and Autism Recovery Coexist?   1 day 2 hours ago

    This is such a touchy topic, Lisa. I accept our son, Ben, for who he is. However, like Sean, I too would jump at the chance for Ben's autism to no longer exist. And I base that, in large part, to what Ben has articulated. On a regular basis, he asks God to take away his autism or question why God created his with autism.

    And I too have been accused of somehow teaching my child not to accept his reality and to not be proud of who he is -- autism and all.

  • Reply to: Returning To Our Core   1 day 7 hours ago

    "The movement has shrunk because it has repeated demonstrated an inability to develop a sufficient base of committed members."

    @Emet: I would say "develop" sounds a bit too corporate or militaristic. I would say failed to "inspire" such a base would be more accurate.

    Whatever the movement's initial history, basically, the vast majority of Jews in Conservative synagogues do not live largely Jewish lives as defined even by the movement's own watered down versions of halacha relative to shabbat, kashrut, or chagim. There is a "core" 5-30% of each congregation that is adhering to those elements, and saddly most of those Jews are marginalized and ostracized in their own communities for being "super-Jews" or "too Jewish. Most of the others at Conservative shuls are there because it's close to their home (mostly a real estate issue), because of certain programming, or because the local Reform option is just too "out there" to stomach.

    The historical sin of Conservative Judaism is that they felt you could replace living Jewishly just with Jewish knowledge (or Jewish "seriousness," and make no mistake, here is no lack of "seriousness" in this movement). Send your kids to Schechter and fill their heads with Jewish learning... Take the (admirable, copious) adult learning options... Even, for a few, engage in study with others... The movement bet that somehow, all that serious learning would translate into continuity, but it didn't happen. There were too many winks and nods to comprise and wholesale retreats from discomfort, from the much discussed driving to shul to the (in my mind quite admirable and necessary but intellectually dishonestly justified) embracing of egalitarianism and homosexuality. It was serious learning without a soul, serious learning without any expectation, commitment, or communal expectation of living Jewishly. And as study after study after study of Jewish camping, day school, Pew, Federations, etc, etc has shown, Jewishness without living Jewishly *distinctly* from your neighbors as defined by shabbat observance (and not the driving to shul kind), some communal expectation of kashrut, chagim observance, and encouragement of inmarriage just isn't generationally transmitted. Period. It... Just.. Doesn't... Happen...

    And we're not saying everyone needs to be "orthodox" (or more accurately, orthoprax) here either. There's huge room in every Jewish mainstream movement and each of those movement's theologies (especially the Conservative movement) for communal expectations of those elements. Failure to do so (and Eisen and company's squishy visions to date have certainly failed on those measures) just won't work either.

    My life experience, having been engaged in many different movements on different levels, has lead me to believe that Rabbi Epstein's approach is the only way forward for Conservative Judaism. It needs to be smaller, but better, and the communities they create and replace will be so compelling that they will eventually draw people to them and increase their numbers. It will be painful, but necessary. It's long past time for Conservative Judaism to have the courage of its convictions and live its principals and learn the lessons of its Ramah camps and minyanim offshoots. Any other efforts it tries will no doubt be "serious" and professional and full of admirable learning, but futile...

  • Reply to: More Intermarried Bloggers   1 day 9 hours ago

    I disagree with the comment made about shiksas. I know of good jewish ladies marrying out , in fact i nearly did and I'm wondering if these good jewish men find a nice lady and she does or doesn't convert but brings her children up according to the husbands jewish customs do the non jewish children or jewish if the lady coverts become considered more jewish if they live in israel? Or if they have jewish children whom marry jews and the grandmother/s are jewish are they more or less jewish living out in the diaspora?