$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.
The news surrounding Elena Kagan’s nomination has focused on more than her legal qualifications — her looks have caused a lot of buzz, too. Michael Savage, talk show commentator, said that Kagan “looks like she belongs in a kosher deli.” Another writer questioned, “Why do Janet Napolitano, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan all look like linebackers for the New York Jets?” JInsider wanted to get a Torah perspective on the relative importance of physical appearance from one of our favorite and most thoughtful rabbis, Rabbi Naomi Levy (www.nashuva.com).
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.
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).
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.
Why, oh why, did Gary Rosenblatt feel it necessary to mar an otherwise comprehensive column on the British chief rabbi’s appearances in the United States and the status of halachic leadership of Modern Orthodoxy with the unnecessary and erroneous parenthetical comment that “many prominent rabbis have been brought down by scandal?” (“Hail to the Chief,” April 23).
To transform Mother’s Day from a greeting-card holiday to one that nurtures the Jewish neshama (soul), here is practical advice on how parents can inspire and cultivate a Jewish life for their children. We are hopeful that our Mother’s Day gift will keep giving and possibly impact future generations.
Rotem determined to push bill, despite serious opposition from liberal Jews.
The author of a proposed Israeli conversion bill dismissed this week criticism of the legislation by non-Orthodox Jewish leaders here and said he is determined to see it enacted.
“I will have to think how to continue because the most important thing for me is how to solve the problem of the half-million new immigrants from Russia” who wish to convert to Judaism, Israeli Knesset member David Rotem told The Jewish Week Monday.
The case for the evolution of gender roles in Jewish life.
Rabbi Shai Held
Special to the Jewish Week
This past week, Rav Hershel Schachter, eminent Torah scholar and leading figure at Yeshiva University, issued fighting words. The ordination of women as rabbis is such a serious infraction of Jewish Law, he insisted, that it technically falls under the rubric of “Yehareg Ve-al Ya’avor”—one should sooner be killed than violate the Law.