Editorial & Opinion | Opinion

05/13/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

Last month’s vote to exclude J Street from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the umbrella group representing the American Jewish community’s interests in Washington and abroad, has shone a bright light on the dangerous direction some of our community’s leaders seem determined to take us.

05/13/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

After the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations voted not to accept the membership application of J Street, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, published a statement critical of the vote. He acknowledged that Conference procedures, which he could have questioned long before the J Street vote was held, were properly followed. Rabbi Jacobs seems to allege that a cabal of small right-wing members excluded a major Jewish organization because that organization espouses disagreeable views. Rabbi Jacobs seriously miscategorizes both the vote on J Street’s admission and the issues underlying the vote.

05/13/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

Princeton freshman Tal Fortgang has been making headlines with an essay demanding that his peers stop dismissing his opinions with a glib “check your privilege” retort. Relating his grandparents’ Holocaust history, he objects to his classmates’ writing him off as a white male who doesn’t understand the struggles of the less fortunate. Originally written for a campus journal, Fortgang’s essay was quickly picked up by a host of Internet sites and Fox News, and even garnered the attention of The New York Times. The essay’s popularity in conservative outlets reflects some very real problems with a common discourse on college campuses. But the essay is so unreflective that Fortgang ends up embodying the very anti-intellectualism he condemns. More importantly, the essay serves an excellent case study in the poverty of modern political discourse and the vanity of the American Jewish community.

05/12/2014 | | Opinion

I write in response to the Opinion essay by Rabbi Ari Hart, of Uri L'Tzedek, regarding the Board of Education’s handling of the fiscal crisis and political turmoil within the East Ramapo Central School District.  I welcome Rabbi Hart's interest in our District.  Unfortunately, his piece is riddled with factual errors and misrepresentations, and seems unlikely to foster the dialogue he purports to seek.

05/06/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

Six years ago, J Street was founded on the premise that a large component of the American Jewish community had a voice that wasn't being represented in our own traditional establishment organizations. Five years ago, I joined J Street's lay leadership in New York because I'd felt that sentiment personally. And as J Street went through the process of applying for membership to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, I was asked several times: Why even bother? You guys are the outsider voice by nature, so why try to get “in?"

05/06/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

It was not at my grandson Benji’s bar mitzvah ceremony two weeks ago that I first dissolved into tears (although then, too). It was on the Thursday before, when he read part of his Torah portion at the morning service. He lay tefillin for the first time in the synagogue, and that’s when I felt the lump in my throat and the tears welling. It was, of course, a “Sunrise, Sunset” moment. The little boy I once carried looked so grown up; wasn’t it yesterday that we celebrated his brit? (I’m grateful that he still wears braces on his teeth; at least some vestiges of childhood remain.)