N.Y. area rabbis, some feeling ‘forced,’ wading into rocky political waters; anxiety seen in pews.
As the strain in U.S.-Israel relations continues, some area rabbis who generally don’t mix religion and politics on the pulpit are setting aside those constraints.
“People were asking me and my hand was sort of forced,” said Rabbi Perry Rank, spiritual leader of the Midway Jewish Center, a Conservative synagogue in Syosset, L.I. “My sense is that Mr. [Barack] Obama has unnerved the American Jewish community and people are looking for a perspective on the issue.
Some of the best applications of Jewish wisdom are not necessarily found in our own community but rather in the broader secular community —from Jeffrey Sachs’ work on poverty to Eli Broad’s support of charities and the arts. A great example from the tri-state area is Andy Ackerman, who has made a major impact as executive director of the Children’s Museum in Manhattan (www.cmom.org). He was honored this week for his 20 years of service by the museum and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. We spoke with Ackerman about how he applies Jewish wisdom through his work.
Your excellent, if saddening, articles in honor of Yom HaShoah led us to wonder: What if, alongside existing ways of observing the day, we consecrated the 27th of Nisan as a day of “chesed” (loving-kindness) toward Holocaust survivors?
Bonnie Panzok is just trying to catch up with her children.
When Panzok sent her kids to Jewish day school to get the education she never got, she watched as their knowledge grew exponentially and surpassed her own. But now, Panzok, after a crash course in Jewish history and rituals, has soared ahead, filling in the gaps in her own Jewish learning.
There are so many student clubs at New York University that it takes a lot for one of them to get noticed. So the Iranian Jewish Club, which was launched five years ago but has kept a low profile, tried something guaranteed to make a splash: a little glamour.
More than 300 people packed into the Rosenthal Pavilion in the Kimmel Center at NYU recently to get a glimpse of sparkly gowns, flashy cocktail dresses, hip-hop outfits and graceful wedding gowns parading down the runway.
We has just finished the cycle of days, from Yom HaShoah to Yom HaZikaron to Yom Ha’atzmaut, whose leitmotif is Kiddush Hashem: martyrdom for the sanctification of God’s name, in the Holocaust and on the battlefields of Israel reborn.
Tribeca Festival documentary aptly depicts all sides in a West Bank town’s peaceful struggle to reroute Israel’s security fence.
Special To The Jewish Week
The immense capacity of the human animal for pointless violence that runs counter to its best interests never ceases to amaze. Or it just never ceases.
Consider the history of an independent modern India. Conceived and brought to life by the work of one of the world’s greatest advocates of nonviolence, Mohandas Gandhi, it is a nation that has known terrible outbursts of sectarian violence within and brutal combat without for its entire history. Could it be possible, however, to reverse this process?
People who do bad things should be punished. It is something we learn in our schools and teach in our synagogues.
But as Jews, we are often conflicted when one of our own commits a crime. While a sense of community may give some the urge to protect a community member, we are embarrassed that the crime has come from someone who carries a Jewish identity. And we are steadfast that those responsible must face the same punishment as everyone else. Advocating for or even anticipating anything less would send the wrong message about our community.
The case of little Ela Reyes raises many thorny issues about church/state entanglement, parenting in a multicultural world, and the challenge of religious pluralism. Ela’s parents, Rebecca Reyes (born Jewish) and her now ex-husband Joseph Reyes (raised Catholic, converted to Judaism, and now returning to the Church) found themselves in court over the issue of his right to bring Ela to church. Cook County (Illinois) Judge Renee Goldfarb ruled that Mr. Reyes has the right to do so.