A Rabbi's World

06/04/2010 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

In what is probably an epic understatement of major proportions, there is much to say about the events of the past week in Israel. In fairness to my congregants, many of whom read this column but also are waiting to hear what I might have to say on the subject tomorrow morning during Shabbat services, I shall wait until next week to put into written, published words my own take on the flotilla incident.

05/28/2010 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

I spent the past week at the annual convention of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international organization of Conservative rabbis. This year, it was held at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, the academy from which the overwhelming percentage of RA members were graduated and ordained.

05/21/2010 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

In the religious world, there has been much discussion over the past few years, and rightly so, of the struggle between what sociologists like to call the “commanding presence” and the “sovereign self.” The “commanding presence” is an outside source of authority- in the larger religious sense, God, or in a lesser religious sense, rabbis. The “sovereign self” is the autonomous individual, who chafes at being told what to do.

05/14/2010 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

Just a day or two ago, a young Israeli woman named Noa Raz, a product of the Masorti movement and its NOAM youth program, was physically assaulted by a Haredi Jew in the Central Bus Station in Beer Sheva.

Were the story to stop there it would be bad enough, but it gets worse.

Why was Noa assaulted? Because the Haredi Jew, a man, saw the marks left by her tefillin straps that morning. Noa prays with tefillin in the morning, as do many women in the Conservative and Masorti movements. That was her  “provocation.”

05/07/2010 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

In this period of heightened tensions between the United States of Israel, we seem to have entered into a period of "dueling ads."

Lately it seems that there has been a spate of full page advertisements in both the secular and Jewish newspapers that would claim to articulate the collective will of the Jewish people.

04/30/2010 | | Special to the Jewish Week | A Rabbi's World

Of the many things that I admire my wife for, one (surely not the most significant) is her ability to walk into an empty room in a house and imagine how it might or ought to look with furniture and everything else that makes up a room. The couch can go there, the rocker there, that painting over there… it’s this remarkable ability to see beyond what presents right now and have an image of what it might be.