Street Torah

The Role of Jewish Priests: A Matter of Life and Death

05/15/2012
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Jewish priests (Kohannim) are prohibited from attending funerals or encountering the dead (unless it is a close relative). How can the leaders of society neglect one of the most important aspects of community service? Here we learn a value of humility, empowerment, life, and transparency.

Rabbi Yanklowitz is founder and president of Uri L'Tzedek, director of Jewish life and senior Jewish educator at UCLA Hillel.

Torture, War, And Bin Laden: A Jewish Perspective

05/08/2012
Jewish Week Online Columnist

For those of us far removed from the torture cell and battlefield, it is all too easy to be misinformed about intelligence gathering and its efficacy and morality. But to maintain our national integrity, we must all gain clarity on this crucial moral and political issue. Torture is ineffective, illegal and immoral, and it makes us less safe. It must be stopped at all levels.     

Rabbi Yanklowitz is founder and president of Uri L'Tzedek, director of Jewish life and senior Jewish educator at UCLA Hillel.

Health Risks Of Meat Consumption

04/30/2012
Jewish Week Online Columnist

 

Do you find yourself digging around for that last drop of beef in the Shabbos cholent pot? Dig this: all the beans you’re passing might be the real Shabbos treats!

Rabbi Yanklowitz is founder and president of Uri L'Tzedek, director of Jewish life and senior Jewish educator at UCLA Hillel.

An Obesity Problem In The Orthodox Community?

04/25/2012
Jewish Week Online Columnist

It is beautiful how much emphasis there is on Shabbat and holiday celebration in American Orthodoxy. However, the celebration of the values of health and exercise are sorely lacking in the community. Parents often do not stress health and exercise for their children, and day schools fall short on creating rigorous health programs. Happily, religious celebration need not compromise our commitment to health.  

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz is president of Uri L’Tzedek and director of Jewish Life & Senior Jewish Educator at UCLA Hillel.

A Smoke-Free World: A Jewish Ban On Tobacco

04/18/2012
Jewish Week Online Columnist

We have been very aware of the addictive nature of nicotine and the serious health risks of lung cancer (which kills more Americans than any other cancer), cardiovascular disease, respiratory illness, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (eventually leading to emphysema). About 20 percent of Americans still smoke, around 450,000 Americans die prematurely every year from smoking, and researchers have shown that a smoker loses an average of 14 years of life.

Rabbi Yanklowitz is founder and president of Uri L'Tzedek, director of Jewish life and senior Jewish educator at UCLA Hillel.

“I am Seeking my Brothers”: The Lost Jewish Virtue of Friendship

04/11/2012
Jewish Week Online Columnist

"And a man found him, when he was wandering in the field, and the man asked him, 'What are you seeking?' And he said, 'I am seeking my brothers'" (Genesis 37:15). This story about Joseph strikes me so deeply. As a child who moved to different cities every few years, I constantly felt like I was seeking “my brothers.” To some degree, we are all wandering in search of our “brothers.” Friendship is a challenging virtue to cultivate, even more challenging in our transient times.

Rabbi Yanklowitz is founder and president of Uri L'Tzedek, director of Jewish life and senior Jewish educator at UCLA Hillel.

Establishing Community Medicine Banks Around the World

04/02/2012
Jewish Week Online Columnist

 

Did you know that about 30,000 individuals die every day from curable diseases? Some evils are entirely dreadful because they are not preventable; there is little we can do in the face of a hurricane or tsunami. But it is even more tragic when we ignore preventable human suffering. 

Rabbi Yanklowitz is founder and president of Uri L'Tzedek, director of Jewish life and senior Jewish educator at UCLA Hillel.

Is A Synagogue A Relic Of The Past?

03/26/2012
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Many Jews today claim that they are “spiritual not religious,” that organized religion is not relevant, or that they would rather spend their free time alone than with others. Those who attend synagogue weekly often reserve the service, especially the sermon, for a special naptime. Others prefer a 20–person basement setting for a quick prayer service rather than a formal, large gathering at shul. Around two-thirds of Americans claim to be members of a house of worship, which is more than 25 percent higher than Jewish synagogue membership.

Rabbi Yanklowitz is founder and president of Uri L'Tzedek, director of Jewish life and senior Jewish educator at UCLA Hillel.

Sex Education In Orthodox High Schools

03/21/2012
Jewish Week Online Columnist

I recently sat in on a sex education course at an Orthodox high school. The class was for seniors, the first one they had been offered on the subject; they were understandably full of questions. I realized, based upon the nature of their questions, how vital this course is.

Rabbi Yanklowitz is founder and president of Uri L'Tzedek and director of Jewish life and senior Jewish educator at UCLA Hillel.

The Challenge of Offering Moral Rebuke in the Workplace

03/11/2012
Jewish Week Online Columnist

At work, we consistently offer positive reinforcement and constructive feedback to others to improve the quality of our collective efforts. From a Jewish perspective, we are not only concerned with the efficacy of our work but also the ethics of the workplace. In addition to personal accountability, all Jewish workers have a sacred duty to be a moral presence as well.

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz is founder and president of Uri L'Tzedek.
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