Rabbinical Assembly

Reform Movement Mulls Leaving Presidents Conf. In Wake Of J Street Rejection

05/02/2014
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WASHINGTON — Saying the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations needs an overhaul, the Union for Reform Judaism said leaving the umbrella body could be an option.

Pluralism In Prayer

10/18/2013
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In advance of last week’s Biennial Convention of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism in Baltimore, I attended a pre-convention Shabbaton- a kind of optional add-on for those who were inclined.  (My wife had intended to come, but sadly, Amtrakhad other plans).  As President of the Rabbinical Assembly, I thought it was an important opportunity to “reach across the aisle,” if you will, and spend Shabbat with my friends and colleagues in the synagogue arm of the Conservative movement.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik is spiritual leader of the Forest Hills Jewish Center.

Disagrees With Wertheimer

10/09/2013
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As a Conservative Jew and a mohel certified by the Jewish Theological Seminary and the Rabbinical Assembly, in practice for more than 25 years, I was somewhat dismayed at the content of Gary Rosenblatt’s column, “Not Too Late To Push In-Marriage?” (Sept. 13). While Professor [Jack] Wertheimer has done extensive work in gathering data on Jewish demographics, I am afraid that he “chooses and picks” his data to suit his points of view. I disagree that intermarried families have lower chances of raising committed Jews, and I believe my statistics and follow-ups prove him wrong.

Listen To The Music Of Prayer

08/09/2013
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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Although those who daven (pray) regularly rarely think of it in these terms because they take it so for granted, music plays an irreducibly crucial role in Jewish prayer 

On the most basic level, if the proper nusach, or musical mode, is being used by a Hazzan or other prayer leader, a knowledgeable Jew will, immediately upon entering a synagogue prayer service, be able to tell whether it is a Shabbat, holiday, or weekday, or, for that matter, one of the High Holidays.  The words that make up our prayer book are not “said,” per se, but chanted, according to traditional customs and melodies that often date back thousands of years.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik is spiritual leader of the Forest Hills Jewish Center.

Lost and Found: Midwestern Kindness

08/02/2013
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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I've been on the road a lot lately. In addition to traveling to Israel for the Rabbinical Assembly convention in late June, I've spent at few days at the Jersey shore, and as I write this late on Thursday night, I'm actually in Buenos Aires for the second time this year, participating in an international conference of the Masorti/Conservative movement.  And while I'm here– the conference was scheduled around this other event– it was my great privilege this evening to participate in the Tekkes Hasmachah, the rabbinical ordination ceremony, of the graduating rabbis at the Seminario Rabbinico Latino Americano, the Conservative Movement's sister seminary in Argentina.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

Peres With Streisand And Clinton: Turning 90 With Style

06/21/2013
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The annual convention of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international professional association of Conservative/Masorti rabbis, will take place this coming week in Jerusalem.  In my capacity as President of the RA, as it’s commonly referred to, it will be my great honor to formally introduce Shimon Peres, the President of the State of Israel, at a reception that he is hosting for us in his official residence, known as Beit Hannasi.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik is spiritual leader of the Forest Hills Jewish Center.

From Paris To Jerusalem, And Back To NY

02/15/2013
Jewish Week Online Columnist

As I write this, I am somewhere over the Atlantic, on my way back to New York after two intense and remarkable weeks exploring the Jewish communities of France and Israel with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. I am a member of the Conference because I am the sitting President of the Rabbinical Assembly, the professional organization of Conservative rabbis.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

“Let Them Come to Boston!”

12/28/2012
Online Jewish Week Columnist

In 1963, the late President John F. Kennedy delivered one of the most stirring and memorable speeches of his brief presidency to a throng of hundreds of thousands of Germans gathered in Berlin. 

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

An Interactive Engagement With Jewish Wisdom

10/23/2012

Last Tuesday evening there was a presidential debate and a Yankees playoff game. But more than 250 people turned out at Park Avenue Synagogue to hear, and participate in, a discussion on “The Observant Life: The Wisdom of Conservative Judaism for Contemporary Judaism,” a major work published last spring by the Rabbinical Assembly, the rabbinic arm of the movement.

Photographs By Michael Datikash

What the Doctor Ordered: Shabbat at Camp Ramah

07/12/2012
Jewish Week Online Columnist

One of my very favorite movies is Rob Reiner’s The Princess Bride , based on the classic novel by William Goldman. The movie is wonderful for a whole host of reasons, but essentially, it is a whimsical riff on the idea of “true love.” Wesley and Buttercup, the hero and heroine, endure all kinds of outrageous misfortune, but ultimately, their destiny is to be together.mTrue love wins out.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik is the spiritual leader of the Forest Hills Jewish Center in Queens.
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