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Editorial & Opinion | Opinion

04/24/2012 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

Ever since Hebrew schools were formed, there have not been formalized, nationally-instituted feedback mechanisms by which students of yeshivot, day schools or supplemental schools could express themselves. As a result, students have not had any way to comment — positively or negatively — on their classroom experience.

Alvin Schiff, a leader in supplemental Jewish education, has stated, “If Jewish education loses its vitality, the very survival of the American Jewish community will be endangered.”

04/24/2012 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

The State of Israel is nothing short of a true miracle: in her 64 years, Israel has achieved more than any other nation on earth, a miracle that was created by a mosaic of different groups.

A wise man once said that Israel is the only country in the world that was founded on a dream: each group had its own — one was hoping to recreate an Eastern European shtetl, another was dreaming of an egalitarian kibbutz; one aspired for an urban Western style of bourgeoisie, and the other was eying the Orient. At times, our various dreams and aspirations collided.

04/17/2012 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

Ninety years ago this spring, on 86th Street in Manhattan, the first girl became a bat mitzvah. Judith Kaplan Eisenstein was invited to read from a chumash (a printed book of the Torah) — not a Torah scroll — on a Saturday morning — not a Friday night — by her father, Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan. She read and a revolution began. 

04/17/2012 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

While flying home from Israel recently I struck up a conversation with the bright young haredi man sitting beside me. Before our talk, he had been busily studying a wonderful rabbinic text, “Mishnah Zevachim,” which details the laws concerning Temple sacrifices in ancient times. But God, it seemed, continued to be found in the text and not in me, so when I sensed that he was more interested in resuming his studies, I found a way to end the conversation so we could return to our respective pastimes.

04/10/2012 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

One of the greatest accomplishments of the Zionist movement was its ability to tolerate and even encourage differing and often mutually challenging perspectives and ideologies. It is ironic, bordering on tragic, that the fulfillment of the Zionist dream has resulted in an increasingly narrow sphere of discourse and acceptable ideation.

We are becoming more insular, accepting only a small range of views and calling others by exclusionary and outright insulting names.

04/10/2012 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

Every Passover in my youth I had something new to wear. My mother shopped exclusively at S. Klein on the Square on 14th Street in Manhattan and Ohrbachs on 34th Street, both noted for discount clothing. Money was often in short supply, but that didn’t stop her from buying me (rarely herself) a new dress or shoes for holidays and other occasions. I adored the clothes, and still have mental images of my favorites. I remember the light blue woolen dress with scalloped button holes that I wore one Passover even though we had freaky hot weather and I suffered in my woolen clothes.