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Editorial & Opinion | Opinion

12/22/2015 - 15:13 | | Opinion

I credit much of who I am today to the communities of the Ramaz school and Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun. Under the guidance of Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, these two communities have taught me the importance of living a life devoted to learning, Israel and Judaism, and menschlichkeit. In addition to growing up in a community that has shaped my values, I have been fortunate to have been a participant in many Jewish programs that have furthered my passions and interests. One program that has significantly influenced who I am and the causes to which I devote myself in college is The Jewish Week’s Write On For Israel, an intensive two-year high school Israel advocacy program.

12/22/2015 - 12:38 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of opinion pieces advocating for candidates in the 2016 presidential race.

American exceptionalism, the doctrine that the United States, as a people and a nation imbued with democratic values, has the unique ability and responsibility to promote these values on the world stage, needs to be a major component of how our leadership views the challenges facing our country.

12/22/2015 - 12:18 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

I gave a sermon on intermarriage to my congregation in 1994. I did not do so again until this year. No rabbi is in favor of intermarriage, but there are few congregants in Conservative and Reform synagogues (and in many Modern and centrist Orthodox ones) that do not have someone in their family married to a non-Jew. Anything that might be said on this sensitive subject will inevitably touch a nerve and cause hurt, however unintentionally.

12/17/2015 (All day) | | Jewish Week Online Columnists | Opinion

I am leaving this coming week for a brief trip to Israel, and will be returning to Forest Hills right after the New Year. Inasmuch as this is rare time away from office and home, I shall be utilizing this opportunity to take a two-week hiatus from my weekly articles in this space (barring unforeseen circumstances), and look forward to coming back to the weekly challenge with batteries recharged and perspectives similarly revitalized. Thank you to all of my faithful readers!

12/16/2015 - 16:48 | | Opinion

As I made the transition from pulpit to pew, after retiring from the rabbinate, I saw things I had not noticed over 45 years serving one congregation. My shul hopping during a six-month residence in New York City took me to synagogues of all stripes: Reform, Conservative, Orthodox and Renewal. Of course, some of what I saw was specific to particular denominations but one practice was common to all. Seemingly innocuous and insignificant, it actually reflected an institutional shift from when I began my rabbinate some 50 years ago.

12/15/2015 (All day) | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

Thirty years ago Rabbi Irving (“Yitz”) Greenberg looked ominously at the landscape of American Jewry. With spiraling intermarriage rates and the 1983 decision of the Reform movement to allow Jewish status to be determined by the identity of the father, he peered into the future and asked, in a seminal essay in Clal Perspectives, “Will There be One Jewish People in the Year 2000?” He predicted that, “within decades, the Jewish people will be divided into two, mutually hostile groups who are unable and unwilling to marry each other.”