Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

We Need A Little Chanukah

12/18/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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It is difficult, if not impossible, to walk into a store at this time of year without being subjected to mind-numbing Christmas Musack playing in the background, just soft enough that you can speak over it, but also just loud enough that you can’t help but hear it. I assume that the intention is to put shoppers in the “Christmas spirit,” and make them spend more. I doubt that it has any positive effect in that regard. The message, though, comes through loud and clear in ways both liminal and subliminal: “We need a little Christmas, right this very minute.”

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Israel's Politics, America's Jews

12/04/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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As I write, the government of Israel is literally in the process of dissolving itself, as a vote taken in the Knesset mandated that it do. New elections will be held this coming March. Metaphorically, Israel's government has been dissolving itself without benefit of Knesset action, slowly and tortuously, step by painstaking step, over the past few weeks.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Living In Suspended Animation

10/02/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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The ancient rabbis referred to the period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur by a number of names. One, “bein Kesseh Le’Asor,” means between Kesseh (the full moon, Psalm 81), another name for Rosh Hashanah in the Torah, and Asor, “the tenth,” meaning of course Yom Kippur, which falls on the tenth of Tishrei. The other, more commonly used phrase is the Asseret Y’mei T’shuvah- literally, the ten days of penitence.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

A Thought For The New Year

09/19/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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I don’t anticipate having a chance to write for next week’s paper– the week of Rosh Hashanah is just a little busy for rabbis in the pulpit– so I hope you’ll indulge me in sharing a thought that, though a few days early for the holiday itself, is actually timely for the Shabbat of S’lichot, the penitential prayers recited on the Saturday night before Rosh Hashanah.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Consider The Parents Of Converts -- To Judaism

09/03/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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What would you do if your child married out of Judaism?

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

A Simchat Bat Among Christians

08/29/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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The end of our stay in Okinawa, where my wife and I had been staying with our daughter and son-in-law upon the birth of their first child, coincided with the arrival of my son-in-law’s parents. Our brief overlap allowed all us to be present for our granddaughter Calanit’s Simhat Bat, the ceremony in which she was formally welcomed into the community of Israel, and the eternal covenant between God and the Jewish people. 

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

From The Far East, Looking To Israel

08/07/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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As I write, I am about as far from my home and synagogue in Forest Hills as I can be, or at least as I am likely to get. I am sitting in the living room of my daughter Leora’s apartment on Marine Camp Foster, one of some fifteen American military bases on the tiny but strategically important island of Okinawa, Japan. She is married, as many of you know, to Rabbi/Lieutenant Yonatan (Yoni) Warren, a Navy chaplain who is currently posted to a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) here in the Far East. A MEU is basically a Rapid Deployment Force that can move quickly to where the trouble is. There are a few of them stationed around the world in potentially volatile areas; this one covers the Far East. We are very, very proud of his service, and hers.

The proud Saba in Okinawa

A Lone Soldier No More

07/25/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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Like every war, the current conflict between Israel and Hamas has a broad narrative that varies according to who is telling the story. But it is also true that this war, like every war, is made up of countless stories of individual soldiers and civilians whose lives have been directly impacted.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

They Elected Rivlin? Nu, B'Emet?

06/11/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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After what seemed like endless haggling, much of it public and not at all mediagenic, Israel’s Knesset has elected Reuven (Ruby) Rivlin to be the tenth President of the State of Israel.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

The Parade Is About Israel, Not Us

When will we learn that no one group or ideology owns 'love of Israel?'

05/22/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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As the June 1 Israel Parade draws closer, some organizations are threatening not to march. They are protesting the decision of parade sponsors to allow organizations like the New Israel Fund– a favorite target of the right wing of the Zionist movement– to be included in the parade, because of its alleged sympathy for the BDS strategy (boycott, divestment and sanction) designed to modify Israel’s position on settlements in the West Bank. The NIF steadfastly denies supporting BDS. They (the more right-wing organizations) feel that the NIF and its friends should have no place at the Zionist table, or at a parade that salutes Israel. And as long as they do, these more right-wing organizations won’t march.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik
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