Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Who Knows Where the Time Goes?

06/23/2016 - 16:25

Come this September, my wife Robin and I will be celebrating our fortieth wedding anniversary, a relatively rare event in this era of late marriage and frequent divorce. That span of time has afforded us the precious opportunity to bring four beautiful children into this world and raise them, each different from the other, each progressing slowly but steadily from cradle to independence. It has been an unending source of stimulation, laughter, and tears. That doesn’t stop no matter how old they get.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

A Time For Honesty, and Courage

06/16/2016 - 16:05

The horrific events of this past weekend in Orlando, where forty-nine members of the LGBT community were slaughtered en masse by a Muslim terrorist and many more were wounded, have left us all stunned and bereaved. As has been pointed out by many, this was not only a hate attack against the gay and lesbian community, but also, more widely, a terrorist strike against America’s pluralistic society and the Western culture it represents.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Yom Hashoah Reflections 2016-5776

If the Passover Haggadah, drove our imaginations with four questions, a relatively meager text and some clever if enigmatic songs, then what might we possibly say about the Shoah that would be adequate to the task at hand?

05/05/2016 - 11:32

For my column this week, I would like to share with you the comments I made at our synagogue’s annual Yom Hashoah program on Wednesday evening. They are, in every way, what I would want to say to all of you on this occasion…

Pictures from a 2005 trip to Auschwitz. Courtesy of Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

The Imperative of Empathy

04/28/2016 - 11:23

Every year, as Passover arrives and I review the Haggadah in advance of yet another set of Seders, I struggle with the true significance of this holiday. This year was no different… just more so.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Even Paranoids Have Enemies…

03/17/2016 - 12:49

Though Auschwitz was liberated more than seventy years ago, its legacy, along with the other death camps and horrific crimes that were committed against us during the Shoah, continues to cast a pall over the Jewish community worldwide.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

On the Trump Pledge: The Optics Are Worse Than Bad

03/09/2016 - 12:29

With today’s electronic and social media affording virtually anyone the chance to share thoughts and images around the world with staggering speed, it has never been more important to take care when publishing a picture in a newspaper, or, more privately, or before hitting the “send” button on a personal message or photo. More than a few of us have had the very unhappy experience of hitting that button too quickly and wishing desperately that we could take it back, especially if we sent a private message in error to an entire listserv. When a private comment or thought goes public, terrible things can happen.

Donald Trump. Wikimedia Commons

Nothing Is More Important Than Shabbat!

03/03/2016 - 14:43

The Torah portion that we read this week (Vayakhel) features, in exacting detail, the building materials that were collected for the purpose of constructing the Mishkan, the ancient portable sanctuary that traveled with our ancestors through the desert. This much gold, that much silver, copper too, all used to create the humble ancestor of the Jerusalem Temple and its various pieces of sacred furniture.

Shabbat candles. Wikimedia Commons

How Are Communities Built?

02/18/2016 - 14:05

My wife and I traveled to Florida over the Presidents Day week to visit with family and some friends. Given the weather that New York experienced in December, we imagined that New York might wind up being the warmer of the two places, but as it turned out, we couldn't have been more wrong! The weather in Florida was spectacularly sunny and warm, and the weather in New York has been equally spectacular, but in the other direction, with record cold temperatures. Through nothing but luck, we definitely won the vacation lottery.

Skyline of Tampa, Florida from Bayshore Blvd. Wikimedia Commons

On The Kotel Compromise: Non-Orthodox Streams Deserve Funding, Not Just Gestures

02/03/2016 - 10:21
Jewish Week Online Columnist

The decision this week by Israel’s governing Cabinet to formally approve a proposal accommodating non-Orthodox, egalitarian prayer at the Kotel – the remaining Western Wall of the ancient Jerusalem Temple – has evoked passionate, but predictable, responses.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

When Every Need Is Pressing: Meeting With An NYC Councilmember

01/13/2016 - 13:28
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Through the good offices of my local New York City Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz, I had the opportunity some months ago, along with the local Jewish leadership of Central Queens, to meet Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, the Councilwoman from neighboring Corona who also currently serves as the Chair of the powerful Committee on Finance of the New York City Council. Although the meeting was not organized for the purpose of advancing individual pet projects, it nonetheless attracted, as one would expect, a great deal of interest among local Jewish leaders.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik
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