As concerned as we are about economic justice, the American Jewish community has failed to understand, on a gut level, a glaring reality: adults with disabilities in the U.S. disproportionately experience poverty. According the census bureau, about one in five Americans has a disability. That means twenty percent of us.
On the 7th day of Hanukah, an anonymous donor gave to me a car-fridge and a new Wii. (Or so I dream.)
According to Maimonides, this kind of gift, where the donor knows the recipient (i.e. the coveted car-fridge) but the recipient doesn't know the donor, is the 3rd highest level of giving. The highest is the well-known teach-a-man-to-fish and the lowest is when donations are given begrudgingly.
After the death of an infant who contracted herpes during a controversial circumcision practice, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office said it is investigating the case as a possible criminal matter.
Jerry Schmetterer, the spokesman for Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes, told The Jewish Week Monday, “Our Crimes Against Children Bureau is looking into this situation. I would not assume what any possible charges would be.”
After months of anticipation laden with some odd admixture of dread, pride, satisfaction, and a few other random emotions, our nest officially empties this Saturday night. Our third child, a junior at Barnard who has already lived at school for almost three years, leaves for a semester abroad in Copenhagen- much farther away than Morningside Heights. With our youngest in Israel for the year, our oldest in Florida, and our older daughter in Japan, we are left without children to pack up and send away.
As we approach the Days of Awe, our annual exercise in self scrutiny and stock-taking can be a daunting task. Rather than highlight a single ethical dilemma this week, I offer here some suggestions, some “ethics-ercises,” as it were, to assist you on this journey.
Of all the arcana of Jewish life, that most universal instrument, the Jewish calendar, is one of the more enigmatic. Solar? Lunar? Length of month? Two days of a holiday, or one? What about the “leap month”? And whence derives our calendar? Ancient Judaea/Palestine? Babylonia? The Tanakh? The Talmud?
Eight hundred and seventy-five years ago, Maimonides was born. I didn't realize that till yesterday, when I was doing a bit of research on the man, and came across a wonderful summation of his life and contentested legacy. It's a piece by Arthur Hertzberg, another titan of Jewish learning, who attended an academic conference in Paris for Maimonides' birthday, back in 1985. Though the conference happened a quarter century ago, Hertzberg's observations are eerily pre