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Editorial & Opinion | Opinion

01/09/2014 - 19:00 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

In German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer’s fable of the porcupines, a group of animals were huddling together to shelter from the cold. Finding that they were pricking each other with their sharp quills, they moved apart, only to feel the cold again. And so on, back and forth, until they found it best to be a little distance from each other – not too close, and not too far away. Yet, notes Schopenhauer, a prickly character himself, “by this arrangement the mutual need for warmth is only very moderately satisfied.” That distance, transposed to human interactions, “is the code of politeness and fine manners, and those who transgress it are roughly told—in the English phrase—to keep their distance.” In order to avoid each other’s barbs, in other words, we compromise on the intimacy we crave.

01/08/2014 - 19:00 | | Opinion

It was inevitable. Once they came after Reform, Conservative and other progressive Jews, it was only a matter of time until the Chief Rabbinate turned on other Orthodox Jews.

01/07/2014 - 19:00 | | Opinion

Rabbi Avi Weiss is an unabashed iconoclast. Understandably, this makes some people uneasy, and others downright fearful. However, given the current state of the institutions that govern Jewish religious life, I would like to suggest that a little iconoclasm might not be such a bad thing.

01/06/2014 - 19:00 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

A legend in many realms, Edgar M. Bronfman lived a rich and varied life, embodying many facets in his work and personality.

Yet while Jews the world over marked the loss of a leader to whom they owe much, for our community, the Bronfman Youth Fellowships, it is a personal loss. We “Bronfmanim”— as we call ourselves — have lost our founder and our inspiration, but truly, we have lost the person who invited us to live talmudically in the modern world.

01/06/2014 - 19:00 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

The recent controversies over the American Studies Association’s decision to boycott Israeli universities, and Swarthmore Hillel’s rejection of Hillel International’s Israel guidelines, are but two recent examples of how small groups can steal the limelight and divert attention from the most important Jewish issue on our campus and communal agenda: Jewish identity-building.

01/06/2014 - 19:00 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has apparently bought into Jerusalem’s demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state — not as a precondition to peace negotiations, which are well under way again, but as a necessary outcome of them. A senior Palestinian official reportedly dismissed this position cavalierly, comparing it to recognition of America as a state of white Christians. Usually, one hears a more sophisticated and nuanced response from Palestinian leaders, namely, that it is not up to them, but rather up to the Israeli people to define the nature of their state.