Editorial & Opinion | Opinion

12/06/2011 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

Agunot again. In 1988 I attended an American Jewish Congress convention in Israel. In the middle of one of the speeches, a line of women tied together by chains pushed across the stage. On her chest each woman wore a letter that, taken all together, spelled the word “agunah,” a woman chained to a marriage from which she cannot free herself because her husband refuses to give her a get, a Jewish divorce.

11/29/2011 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

During a recent conversation about the circumstances, future and significance of Israel for liberally minded North American Jews, the 20-something scion of a prestigious American Jewish family, with long Jewish and Zionist credentials, made a clearly painful confession; “To tell you the truth, Israel disgusts me.”

11/29/2011 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

I recently spent a day at West Point meeting Jewish and non-Jewish cadets, seeing the sights, talking about leadership education with administration and faculty, and teaching a class about Judaism. We spoke of the distinctive pattern of religious belief and practice in America, and the role of religion in stimulating and sanctifying violence — and in eliciting and sanctifying compassion.

11/22/2011 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

Before 2005, I knew little about child sexual abuse. That year, I was approached by a friend, now 44, who was molested as a teenager by two prominent figures in the Brooklyn ultra-Orthodox Jewish community: a teacher in a respected yeshiva, and a renowned chasidic therapist.

When my friend reported the teacher’s abuse to the school’s dean, my friend and his family were intimidated into inaction. A communal taboo against reporting a Jew to the secular authorities meant calling the police was not an option.

11/22/2011 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

When 18-year-old Margot Haas visited Rwanda’s Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village on a summer service and learning trip, she was described by her mom as “ambiently Jewish.” The term itself reflects the gap between what so many “next generation” Jews think of themselves and how they are thought of by their parents and teachers. 

11/15/2011 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

The economic downturn of 2008 revealed the existence of many cracks in our local and national systems. In the Jewish community, one of the most prominent conversations to emerge out of the seismic shifts in the markets was the affordability of Jewish life in general and of day school education in particular.