Editorial & Opinion | Opinion

12/27/2011 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

Over the last two decades a host of commissions and task forces have assessed how the Jewish community can reach out to post-bnai mitzvah teens. The bar and bat mitzvah ceremony is an inflection point in the lives of contemporary American Jews and the question that has bedeviled adults has been how to engage teens once they step off the bima at age 12 or 13.

12/23/2011 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

It’s 25 years today that I went through quadruple bypass-open heart surgery.  It all started three months earlier, in September.  The Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry was protesting in front of Lincoln Center against the appearance of the Russian Moiseyev Dance Company.  Our position was that there should be no cultural exchange with the former Soviet Union until all Soviet Jews were free.

12/20/2011 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

Civil discourse and hands-on service, if done well, can lead to lasting positive change in the world. Rabid arguments, unleashed aggressively, will do the opposite.

For those on the extreme right of the Israeli-Palestinian argument, anyone who does not believe that the disputed land should be fully part of Israel is an anti-Zionist. For those on the far left, anyone who declines volunteering in a Palestinian village is a racist. And week after week, it seems one organization or another is derided for something as simple as planning a service trip to Israel.

12/20/2011 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

It is often difficult to sustain certain things in life. Relationships end merely because one friend does not return another’s phone call, and the ability to use a language may be lost if we don’t use it every day.

But my recent trip to Cuba proved how remarkably resilient some things can be. The Jewish community there was able to withstand 30 years of silence, only to grow stronger.

12/16/2011 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

It is often difficult to sustain certain things in life. Relationships end merely because one friend does not return another’s phone call, and the ability to use a language may be lost if we don’t use it every day.

But my recent trip to Cuba proved how remarkably resilient some things can be. The Jewish community there was able to withstand 30 years of silence, only to grow stronger.

12/13/2011 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

Late last Shabbat afternoon I came downstairs to find my husband reading aloud an article from The New York Times to our 12-year-old daughter about a free loan fund that had been started in Atlanta by a Jewish couple. Seeing the economic hardship around them, this couple put aside $5,000 to help their neighbors in need through extending small loans. As my husband read to our daughter, I immediately knew that this was a story that I had to bring to the attention of my students the following morning.