Jewish life

The Curious Case of Steven Slater

08/13/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

After a three hour delay for what our pilot blithely referred to as a "catastrophic failure" of one of our brakes (how fortuitous to learn this before takeoff and not after!), my wife and I are finally on our way to California for a well-earned vacation. Watching flight attendants deal with frustrated passengers at 34,000 feet seems like a good time to spend a few minutes thinking about America's new cult hero, Steven Slater.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

Washington Heights Jews Caught In A Growth Bind

As the affordable neighborhood increasingly attracts young families,
can it be more than a stepping stone to the suburbs?

08/11/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Young couples and families are flooding into Washington Heights, drawn by affordable rents, convenient commutes and a vibrant Jewish community. And they are changing the look and feel of what used to be referred to as Frankfurt on the Hudson for its concentration of German Jews.

The question on people’s lips these days is, will those young families stay in the Heights, putting down roots there, or will they move on?

Every summer sees a Jewish “outflux” from Washington Heights, says Anat Coleman, who works at the neighborhood's JCC.

Questioning My New Degree

08/10/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

I received an honorary doctorate from the Jewish Theological Seminary this spring. I appreciate the recognition, but it has prompted some disquieting questions.

Reform and Conservative rabbis often get these diplomas, usually after about 25 years of service. So the honor has more to do with survival than accomplishment. I suppose it could be said that enduring 25 years in the rabbinate, particularly in the pulpit, is deserving of special recognition. There have been times when I wondered whether a Purple Heart might be more appropriate, or maybe a Nobel Peace Prize.

Mating Patterns and Jewish Anthropology

08/10/2010
JInsider

With all of its obstacles, complexities and quirks, the search for a soul mate is one of the most exhausting and frustrating processes in modern Jewish society. In celebration of this past month’s Tu B’Av holiday, JInsider commissioned an anthropological study on the mating habits of North American Jews. We wanted to better understand the miracle of finding bashert (romantic destiny) from the text and in-field research. We assigned an undercover intern to research and scientifically document patterns of initial communication implemented in the NYC Jewish dating process.

One Prophet, No Gain

08/10/2010
Staff Writer

The “prophet” Murray rails at the excesses of the Jewish community. The targets of the “prophet” Murray are garish bar mitzvah ceremonies, non-Jewish names stuck on Jewish children, and look-alike synagogue buildings. The “prophet” Murray also makes a case against the clannishness of Brooklyn.

The quotes around Murray’s title are more real than Murray is.

Non-prophet venture: Biblical-style book offers gentle satire of American Jewish community.

Jews On The Fringe (Festival)

From day school grads-turned-college freshmen to spiritual seekers in Jerusalem to South African emigrés, annual fest includes several Jewish-themed plays.

08/10/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Why are we commanded to wear fringes on our garments? They are a potent reminder of our Jewish identity but also indicate that who we are splays out into the rest of the world, and that the boundaries between us and other people can be fuzzy.

The plays "Abraham's Daughters," above and "Omarys Concepcion Lopez Perez Goes to Israel."

Kosher Slaughter Allowed in New Zealand Until Trial

08/09/2010

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – A judge in New Zealand has allowed the kosher slaughter of animals to resume until the lawsuit filed by the Jewish community against the government comes to trial.

Justice Denis Clifford, of the High Court in Wellington, confirmed Monday an agreement reached between the Jewish community and representatives of the Crown Law Office, which is representing Agriculture Minister David Carter.

More on the AJ Congress - and the perils of progressive domestic activism

The other day I blogged about the sad demise of the American Jewish Congress and laid much of the blame for its protracted demise on its decision to turn away from the progressive domestic focus that was its traditional bread and butter.

A caller with long connections to the group took me to task.

Is the Clergy Life Unusually Stressful?

08/06/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

On the first of this month, just as my vacation was beginning, the New York Times published (on its front page!) an article about the phenomenon of “clergy burnout.” I was, of course, touched by the fact that they had timed the publishing of the article to coincide with the o

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

New Threats As Crisis Deepens At Young Israel

Thirty-five congregations press for special meeting with leadership to amend constitution.

08/04/2010
Staff Writer

The schism between the National Council of Young Israel and its member synagogues deepened this week amid fears by some congregants that the donations they make to their local synagogues might be subject to seizure by the National Council.

Those concerns surfaced in the wake of the recent aborted attempt to seize the assets of a member synagogue in upstate New York. 

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