Social Issues

With JCall, European Jews Get Their Own J Street Debate

05/05/2010
JTA

PRAGUE (JTA) -- The launch of JCall has brought the debate that American Jewry has seen over J Street to Jewish Europe: Outside of Israel, how critical in public should you be of Israeli government policies you believe are not in Israel’s best interests?

The founders of JCall, who seek to push what they see as a recalcitrant Israeli government closer to a two-state solution, say criticism of Israeli policies is constructive and necessary.

Moral Bottom Line Luring Young Investors

Socially responsible Jewish investing on rise in wake of Madoff.

05/05/2010
Staff Writer

 In the same manner that she shops for locally grown produce, Abigail Weinberg chose to sidestep the bank behemoths and instead open an account at a small, local bank that invests in the Ann Arbor, Mich., community in which she lives. “I consider myself someone who wants to be socially and environmentally responsible in all areas of my life,” she says.  

Jewish Funds for Justice’s Jeremy Burton.

Home of Tikkun’s Rabbi Lerner Vandalized

05/04/2010

(JTA) —  The northern California home of Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of the progressive Tikkun magazine, was vandalized Sunday night. Posters attached to his door and the fence around his Berkeley home attack Lerner personally, and liberals and progressives, as being supporters of terrorism and “Islamofascism,” according to the magazine.

Zooming In On South Africa

David Goldblatt’s photographs, on exhibit at The Jewish Museum,
chronicle everyday life under apartheid.

05/04/2010
Staff Writer

David Goldblatt, the South African photographer, can paint two portraits of his father, a Jewish shop-owner in a traditional mining town. In one, Goldblatt tells how his father would drink tea with a white Nationalist, a member of the right-wing party that staunchly defended apartheid, outside behind his men’s clothing store. “He was friends with some of them,” Goldblatt says of his father. “Many Jews were.”

Goldblatt's "Holdup at Hillbrow" (1963), which, like much of his work, focuses on how apartheid played out in daily life

MK, Non-Orthodox Clash On Conversions

Rotem determined to push bill, despite serious opposition from liberal Jews.

05/04/2010
Staff Writer

The author of a proposed Israeli conversion bill dismissed this week criticism of the legislation by non-Orthodox Jewish leaders here and said he is determined to see it enacted.

“I will have to think how to continue because the most important thing for me is how to solve the problem of the half-million new immigrants from Russia”  who wish to convert to  Judaism, Israeli Knesset member David Rotem told The Jewish Week Monday.

East Germany, In The Rear-View Mirror

Amie Siegel’s ‘visual essay’ looks back at ‘a country long over.’

05/04/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

About 90 minutes into Amie Siegel’s clever, witty rumination on the former East Germany, “DDR/DDR,” Siegel and her crew get into a spirited discussion about the best way to translate the German word “Wende,” literally “change,” since it used to refer to the series of upheavals that began with the fall of the Berlin Wall and ended after the reunification of Germany.

Documentary-maker Amie Siegel appears often on camera in “DDR/DDR,” her study of the former East Germany.

The Spinka Rebbe’s Namesake

As the chasidic sect’s leader goes to jail, remembering his great-uncle and a remarkable Holocaust photo album.

05/04/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

This week, an undisclosed federal prison will become the new address of prisoner No. 46835-112, Naftali Tzvi Weisz, known to his thousands of followers as the Grand Rabbi of Spinka of Borough Park. Last December, Weisz, 61, was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to heading up a decade-long, $10 million money-laundering scheme in which donors to Spinka charitable institutions secretly received kickbacks of up to 95 percent of their donations. The rabbi’s gabbai, or assistant, Moshe Zigelman, also received a two-year sentence.

Rabbi Naftali Tzvi Weisz, left, the great-uncle of the current Spinka Rebbe, arriving at Auschwitz.

The Dimensions Of Revelation

05/04/2010

Candlelighting, Readings:
Candlelighting: 7:39 p.m.
Torah Reading: Lev. 25:1-27:34
Haftarah: Jeremiah 16:19-17:14
Sabbath Ends: 8:44 p.m.

Must the precepts of Torah have productive purposes? Must they, in other words, “have a point”? Most modern thinkers have thought so. God’s Revelation, they assumed, must surely be as rational as the human species that God created to receive it.

Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman

Innovation Is Not A Synonym For ‘New’

05/04/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

In late 2002, when our Joshua Venture Group (JVG) cohort was announced, the term “Jewish social entrepreneur” did not yet roll easily off the tongue. There was no “innovation ecosystem” to speak of, few incubators interested in helping us grow our ventures, and little confidence that Jewish life could or should blossom outside of existing institutional frameworks. JVG was founded to help emerging leaders change the Jewish world with their ideas.

Animal Cruelty and Jewish Law

05/03/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

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.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman
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