Q: This may sound weird, but I think my neighbor is cruel to his pet beagle. I know that if this was a person we were talking about, Jewish law would obligate me to go to the authorities. But this is a DOG. What's my obligation here?
A. You need to pursue this. I say this not merely because I am life-long pet-o-phile, a vegetarian with two cuddly standard poodles. I say this also because it is the right thing to do. Jewish culture has long championed animal rights.
Of the many things that I admire my wife for, one (surely not the most significant) is her ability to walk into an empty room in a house and imagine how it might or ought to look with furniture and everything else that makes up a room. The couch can go there, the rocker there, that painting over there… it’s this remarkable ability to see beyond what presents right now and have an image of what it might be.
Legislation would end the Orthodox hegemony over conversions in Israel, but liberal leaders worry about Law of Return provision.
The Israeli lawmaker who authored the proposed controversial conversion bill flew to New York this week to convince Reform and Conservative Jewish leaders to support it, promising to withdraw the bill if they do not.
“I want them to say we read the bill, we don’t love it but we accept it,” the Israeli Knesset member, David Rotem, told The Jewish Week.
After much debate and despite predictions of a schism, the Rabbinical Council of America, the nation’s largest group of Orthodox rabbis, this week approved without dissent a carefully balanced resolution on women’s communal roles in Orthodox Jewish life.
The statement affirms a longstanding prohibition of women rabbis but allows congregational rabbis flexibility in determining appropriate roles for women in their synagogues and communities.
This letter is being written in support of Rabba Sara Hurwitz. We are two 13-year-old Jewish girls who heard her speak and were extremely moved by her cause (“RCA Set To Rule On Women’s Roles,” April 23).
I was delighted to be contacted by Stewart Ain for his article, “U.S.-Israel Tensions Now Hitting Pulpits” (April 23), since I do not believe in the 12 years I have served as rabbi at West End Synagogue: A Reconstructionist Congregation, I have ever been asked to comment on current issues for a piece in the paper.
A young woman looks at me from her hospital bed and confesses that grappling with her illness has helped her understand what her bat mitzvah Torah portion — which concerned isolating people with certain afflictions from their community and welcoming them back in once health was restored — was really all about.
The leadership of the Rabbinical Council of America expressed great pride in passing a resolution this week among hundreds of member rabbis, without opposition, on the delicate and contentious issue of women’s leadership roles in the Orthodox synagogue and community. One could attribute the achievement to the two months spent by the committee in laying the groundwork for consensus; a cynic might argue the resolution was approved overwhelmingly because it was so pareve. There’s truth in both points of view.
Though it is now almost thirty years ago, I still remember the first time I heard my esteemed predecessor in the Forest Hills Jewish Center, the late Rabbi Ben Zion Bokser, deliver a eulogy. In his closing comments, he said to the grieving family members that grief is the mirror image of love. That is to say, people tend to grieve according to how they have loved. The greater the love they had for the person who died, the greater the pain they feel.
It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But the truth is that it’s anything but…