Judaism

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

Young Israel Movement In Turmoil Over Upstate Shul

No-confidence vote in leadership sought after threat to expel Syracuse synagogue.

06/30/2010
Staff Writer

In the wake of an unprecedented move by the National Council of Young Israel to expel a member congregation in upstate Syracuse, a rebellion is brewing among some of the Orthodox congregations affiliated with the movement.

The challenge to the National Council surfaced during a conference call last Thursday with representatives of the organization’s nearly 150 member congregations.

Discrimination Within Orthodoxy?

06/25/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

Last week, thousands of Ultra-Orthodox Jews came out for mass protests across Israel. What was the contested issue: defense for Israel? Support of Agunot? Parents against child molestation? An end to violating business ethics and Israeli law? Not in the least bit. Sadly, this mass protest, the largest of its kind in years, was for the right to keep Sephardim out of Ashkenazi schools.

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

What We Don’t Know About Jewish Views On Dating, And More

One of the most enlightening and disturbing articles on Jewish life that I’ve read in awhile appears in the Spring issue of Lilith, the Jewish feminist magazine, in which Rabbi Susan Schnur interviews her daughter and two other 20-something young women (rabbis’ daughters, each, and observant, to varying degrees).

When Intermarriage Happens To 'Good' Parents

Undoubtedly the two most vexing theological questions are the issues of bad things happening to good people and free will versus destiny.
While most of us are all too aware of the randomness and injustice in the world, we nonetheless are quick to credit ourselves for our good fortune and blame ourselves (and others) for bad fortune.

Fundamentalists are especially good at this little exercise. 9/11? God’s punishment for permissiveness and homosexuality. The Holocaust? A punishment for assimilation and Reform Judaism. Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War? Divine intervention.

Women Rabbis: A Conservative View Of An Orthodox Decision

05/11/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

In the book of Genesis, God allows Adam to create names for all the beasts and birds in existence. With that powerful act, the first man establishes the identity of every earthly creature. From then on the image and function of a whale or a dove would always be tied to its name.

Technology and Jewish Education Conference

Jewish techie Ari Davidow listened in on JESNA's recent "Technology and Jewish Education" conference and posted some of his observations on the Jewish Women's Archive blog. JESNA's conference is run through its Lippman Kanfer Institute.

Technology and Jewish Education

Gag Rule For Gentiles

Interfaithfamily.com has published a very disturbing personal essay by a mom who wasn’t allowed to speak from the bima at her daughter’s bat mitzvah.

The essay by Debbie Burton doesn’t say how long ago the incident occurred, but the gag rule for gentiles remains in place at her Chicago congregation, which she describes as an independent lay-led minyan that relies on “Conservative legal opinions.” (To learn more about independent minyanim, which vary tremendously in their overall outlooks as well as their approaches toward interfaith families, read my colleague Rivka Oppenheim's excellent recent article or go to the Mechon Hadar Web site.)

Offensive, Disrespectful Ad

05/04/2010

The J Street ad that you published [April 30, containing an open letter to Nobel Prize Winner Elie Wiesel from Yossi Sarid, a former Israel minister of education and of the environment], is highly offensive, and lacking in sophistication.

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