Culture

Extravagant Jewish Celebrations – Have We Gone Too Far?

07/09/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

$100,000 for a wedding? $20,000 for a bar mitzvah? When did extravagance and luxury become such primary Jewish values? I can’t remember the last simcha (Jewish celebration) I attended at which there were not tremendous amounts of wasted food, overly expensive napkins and bands large enough for a royal banquet.

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

The "Half-Jewish" Glass: Half-Full Or Half-Empty?

 Jews in All Hues, a new-ish “peer-led program that provides a safe space for people from interfaith families to explore their identities as mixed heritage Jews,” is holding a conference in San Francisco on Sunday, May 30.

I attended their conference last year in Philadelphia and came away with mixed feelings, a no doubt appropriate emotion for an event focusing on the state of being mixed!

What We Don’t Know About Jewish Views On Dating, And More

One of the most enlightening and disturbing articles on Jewish life that I’ve read in awhile appears in the Spring issue of Lilith, the Jewish feminist magazine, in which Rabbi Susan Schnur interviews her daughter and two other 20-something young women (rabbis’ daughters, each, and observant, to varying degrees).

Technology and Jewish Education Conference

Jewish techie Ari Davidow listened in on JESNA's recent "Technology and Jewish Education" conference and posted some of his observations on the Jewish Women's Archive blog. JESNA's conference is run through its Lippman Kanfer Institute.

Technology and Jewish Education

Gag Rule For Gentiles

Interfaithfamily.com has published a very disturbing personal essay by a mom who wasn’t allowed to speak from the bima at her daughter’s bat mitzvah.

The essay by Debbie Burton doesn’t say how long ago the incident occurred, but the gag rule for gentiles remains in place at her Chicago congregation, which she describes as an independent lay-led minyan that relies on “Conservative legal opinions.” (To learn more about independent minyanim, which vary tremendously in their overall outlooks as well as their approaches toward interfaith families, read my colleague Rivka Oppenheim's excellent recent article or go to the Mechon Hadar Web site.)

Toward Holocaust Remembrance

05/04/2010

 The question that frames Gary Rosenblatt’s April 9 column is  “what will Yom Hashoah be like in a decade or two, when there are no more survivors to give witness?” It is one that we at the World Federation of Jewish Child Survivors of the Holocaust have been actively addressing. The World Federation is an international umbrella organization of more than 50 independent groups of survivors who lived through the Holocaust as children.

Wrong Priorities

05/04/2010

 Regarding “Can We Afford To Make Others A Priority?” (March 12), I have conducted religious services at senior residences for close to a decade. In order to qualify for government funds, beds had to be full, forcing historically Jewish institutions to admit non-Jews. At first these admissions were limited in order to maintain their Jewish character, but gradually many institutions became Jewish in name only, catering basically to non-Jews, but still receiving Jewish communal funds. Fewer homes schedule services for remaining Jewish residents.

Mother’s Day: Creating A Jewish Home

05/04/2010
JInsider

To transform Mother’s Day from a greeting-card holiday to one that nurtures the Jewish neshama (soul), here is practical advice on how parents can inspire and cultivate a Jewish life for their children. We are hopeful that our Mother’s Day gift will keep giving and possibly impact future generations.

Three generations of Sackses.

On Schlemiels, Shlimazls, Shmendriks and Schmuks

One hopes that the New York Times story today on Jay Roach's upcoming film, "Dinner for Schmucks," starring Steve Carell, will inspire us all to brush up our Yiddish.  Critics have started to question the appropriateness of the title given to Roach's new film, a comedy of manners in which Carell plays a hapless idiot.  Given the premise, "schlemiel" or "shlimazl" -- Yiddish words that more closely translate into "idiot" -- should be in the title.&nbs

The Dimensions Of Revelation

05/04/2010

Candlelighting, Readings:
Candlelighting: 7:39 p.m.
Torah Reading: Lev. 25:1-27:34
Haftarah: Jeremiah 16:19-17:14
Sabbath Ends: 8:44 p.m.

Must the precepts of Torah have productive purposes? Must they, in other words, “have a point”? Most modern thinkers have thought so. God’s Revelation, they assumed, must surely be as rational as the human species that God created to receive it.

Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman
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