Editorial & Opinion | Opinion

12/08/2011 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

Nowadays Orthodoxy is all about sex. Immodesty, promiscuity, homosexuality: the public discourse of the Orthodox Jewish world seems disproportionately to take place in the bedroom, the dressing room, and the closet.

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

A month ago I officiated a Jewish commitment ceremony and civil marriage for two men in Washington, D.C. The event was sensationally reported as a “Gay Orthodox Wedding,” and this news has stirred controversy within the Orthodox community. I am aware that my conducting this ceremony has made many uncomfortable, among them, some of my friends and supportive colleagues. In light of the strong feelings I felt that it was important that I clarify the facts, describe the context and explain my intensions. I am hopeful that controversy will give way to conversation.

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.