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Editorial & Opinion | Opinion

09/01/2015 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

We all know that Israeli society is deeply polarized, with religious fanatics combating secular extremists. We all know that Orthodox rabbis dismiss Reform and Conservative rabbis, as most Israelis reject Judaism out of disgust for this Orthodox zealotry. We all know that the openness, tolerance, pluralism, and broad religious spectrum characterizing American Judaism is sadly lacking in Israel’s narrow, intolerant, all-or-nothing Judaism. Or do we?

08/26/2015 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

For close watchers of the Jewish community, peering into the future (and fretting about it, as Jews seem to be a people whose DNA includes a built-in “worrier” gene) seems to be an occupational hazard. The most recent Pew surveys provide a glimpse, especially when it comes to the finding that the millennial generation is unmoored from formal institutions of all kinds, including Jewish ones. But the surveys raise as many questions as they answer.

08/25/2015 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Opinion

The Obama administration’s policy toward Iran — the attempt to engage Tehran in the vain hope that the regime will somehow transform itself into a useful and productive member of the community of nations — represents a lost opportunity. Given the unrest in the Middle East, the administration had the chance to reshape the geopolitical contours of the region in a way that would have advanced American interests and assured regional stability for decades to come. That prospect has been squandered.

08/25/2015 | | Opinion

The Jewish year ending in a few days was marked by severe erosion in Israel's strategic positioning in a geo-political world in rapid transformation. There are two components in such erosion, an external one globally defining relations between the countries of the world and Israel, and an inner one reflecting Israel's response to these challenges and, unavoidably, also involving the Jewish diaspora. The hook to which we can hang the whole story is undoubtedly the Vienna agreement of July 14 (the anniversary of the French Revolution) between the representatives of the world powers and Iran on the future development of Iranian nuclear capabilities.

08/25/2015 | | Opinion

The horrifying stabbings and murder of Shira Banki at the recent Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem are in no way representative of the Orthodox Judaism I live and breathe.  Yet, that horrifying incident should give all of us in the Modern Orthodox community pause, and cause, to rethink the stance we take, and the message we send about homosexuality and LGBT Jews. It calls for a fundamental change in the way we interact with these men and women of our community— our children, our siblings, our congregants.  We must do it because it is right. And we must do it because the alternative to such a change has become too great to bear.

08/20/2015 | | Opinion

There was a time, wrote the Yiddish author I.L. Peretz, a terrible time, when the ghetto of Prague was under assault.  For the Jews had received word that their women were about to be raped, their children about to be burned alive, and their men about to be slaughtered.  Just when the situation seemed beyond hope and the end imminent, the great Maharal of Prague, Rabbi Yehuda Loew, set aside his studies of the Gemara and went out into the street.  He went up to a large pile of clay, took it into his hands, and fashioned the image of a man.  The rabbi breathed into the nostrils of the golem, and the thing began to move.  Then he whispered into its ear the name of the Holy One, and the golem rose up.  The rabbi turned to go back into the house of prayer, and the golem turned to leave the ghetto.  Once outside the ghetto, the golem fell upon our enemies and attacked them without mercy.