Jewish life

Finding Ourselves In Family Photos

07/13/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

It’s easy to “photo-shop” people out of pictures these days, but as any genealogist will tell you, sending relatives to the “recycle bin” is usually a very bad idea.

Even before I became an amateur genealogist, I was the person in my family who saved our photographs and placed them in albums. My collection dates back to 1895, soon after my great-grandparents arrived in New York. Within weeks, they put on their best clothes and posed for pictures to send back home.

The Serious Side Of Silly Bandz

07/13/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

If you happen to know a child of almost any age, you probably have heard about Silly Bandz. If you don’t, you likely haven’t, even though these rubber band bracelets have taken the country by storm, following in the footsteps of the great fads of prior decades like Pet Rocks, Beanie Babies and Cabbage Patch Kids. 

Words that Bite You in the 'But'

07/09/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

Our kids had just departed for a month of sleep-away camp. Michael and I were finally alone, and we were ready for adventure, romance, and connection. For our first night, we had it all planned out, something we had never done before:

His and hers dentist appointments.

As Michael sat in one reclining chair, feet up, bibbed, and suctioned, I sat in the next examination room, similarly bedecked. Dr. W put on his four-lens glasses and attempted to relax me:

“I’m just going to take a look, so this won’t hurt yet.”

Deborah Grayson Riegel

Extravagant Jewish Celebrations – Have We Gone Too Far?

07/09/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

$100,000 for a wedding? $20,000 for a bar mitzvah? When did extravagance and luxury become such primary Jewish values? I can’t remember the last simcha (Jewish celebration) I attended at which there were not tremendous amounts of wasted food, overly expensive napkins and bands large enough for a royal banquet.

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

Disaffected Synagogue Leaders Push For Change In Young Israel

Reps of 18 synagogues rally support to make national organization ‘more transparent, accountable and responsive.’

07/06/2010
Staff Writer

A group of  disaffected leaders of 18 Young Israel synagogues has begun soliciting support for constitutional changes that they say would make the National Council of Young Israel “more transparent, accountable and responsive to member branches.”

Shaarei Torah Orthodox Congregation of Syracuse

Toddler Talmud

07/06/2010

When my daughter was 3, she taught me Talmud.

One morning I was making her waffles. When the toaster oven rang I said, “Oh, your waffles are ready.”

She said, “Why did you say ‘oy?’”

“I didn’t, I said ‘oh.’”

“You said ‘oy’” she insisted.

“OK,” I conceded, “I said oy.”

“Aha!” she said, eyes gleaming with toddler triumph. “You misunderstood yourself.”

Does Silence Signal Agreement? The Limits of Self Restraint

07/02/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

In the Babylonian Talmud, the ancient rabbis taught that silence, while a sign of humility and often wisdom, can also have a darker side. Sh’tika k’hoda’ah damei, they said. Remaining silent can, in the wrong circumstance, indicate your agreement with or surrender to what has been said. Silence can be a two-faced sword.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that ancient teaching lately.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

Models Of Leadership

06/29/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Shabbat candles: 8:13 p.m.

Torah reading: Numbers 25:10-30:1

Haftarah: I Kings 18:46-19:23

 Parshat Pinhas provides us with two contrasting styles of leadership, that of Pinhas and that of Moses.

Beth Kissileff

We Have Met the Enemy…

06/29/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Since returning from the 36th Zionist Congress in Jerusalem a week ago, I have struggled with a palpable sense of unease about the state of Zionism and the Jewish future. My first impulse was to rather brutally lay that unease at the feet of the World Zionist Organization, which convened the Congress.

In retrospect, I think that impulse was wrong, and unfair.

Kushner And Gillman: Still Wrestling With Uncertainty

Fifty years after their JTS graduation together, Harold Kushner and Neil Gillman reflect on their career paths.

06/29/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

When, late this spring, 16 distinguished-looking silver-gray and white-haired gentlemen stood side by side on a stage at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS) to pose for their half-century reunion photograph, you could almost see them blinking through their smiles, reflecting in their minds’ eyes on the younger selves that appeared in a similar photo of the rabbinic class of 1960.

Fifty years of influence, and counting: Rabbis Harold Kushner and Neil Gillman.
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