After Rabbi Milton Steinberg recovered following his heart attack he walked out into the bright midday sun. He thought, “How precious — how careless.” Life is so precious and we are so careless with it. How can we pay so little heed when we know that everything cherished must end? Perhaps we fear that if we care too much, the losses of life will be unbearable.
Two seemingly unrelated events that occurred recently made me think about how related they actually were. One was the death of the great Bible scholar Moshe Greenberg in Israel last month; the other was the publication of a new biography of the prominent American Zionist leader Abba Hillel Silver. Greenberg was born in 1928 and made aliyah in 1970; Silver was born in 1893, and though he helped found the State of Israel, he never settled there. Greenberg probably knew of Silver’s activities, but it’s unlikely the two ever met.
Some Jewish community leaders expressed disappointment over the recent resolution of the Rabbinical Council of America, the leading Modern Orthodox rabbinic association, opposing the ordination of women. By contrast, I was greatly encouraged by the RCA resolution that called for the creation of “halachically and communally appropriate professional opportunities” for women scholars.
When the New Israel Fund sent an action alert to protest gender-segregated buses in Israel, we got an enthusiastic response.
When we and the human rights groups we fund were attacked in Israel, viciously and dishonestly, we asked for signatures to a petition to Prime Minister Netanyahu in support of democratic dissent, and we got a very enthusiastic response.
But the immediate reaction we got to a brief, carefully-balanced letter we sent about the...well, let's call it the disastrous incident of the Gaza flotilla... now that was a response.
Between the lines of the Bible, we glimpse the difficulties — even tragedy — of Moses, the greatest prophet in history who nevertheless sees himself losing the fealty of the Hebrew nation, failing to direct the people toward the very goal of their Exodus; the conquest of and settlement of the Land of Israel. Where has he gone wrong, and why?
In selecting candidates to recommend to the state Democratic Committee, members of the Ninth Municipal Civil Court District Screening Panel wanted input from the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty.
But not enough to change the panel’s meeting schedule, which included two Friday nights and the first night of Shavuot.
Storahtelling’s Amichai Lau-Lavie is out to revolutionize the
ceremony in emerging partnership with families, synagogues.
Arguably one of the most memorable scenes in last year’s Oscar-nominated “A Serious Man” is the bar mitzvah, when Danny Gopnik does his Torah and Haftorah portions while visibly stoned, having smoked prodigious amounts of pot in the Hebrew school bathroom.
So accustomed are they to tuning out the foreign chanting from the bima that his parents and the other congregants in the soulless 1960s Midwestern temple don’t even seem to notice anything amiss.