Some say there are really only two Jewish denominations: serious Jews, and all the rest. And serious Jews approach millennial celebrations with what Sir Walter Scott described as ìburning pride and high disdain.î
Yes, the millennium is a Christian moment in time, but Jews were there for all of it. With all the lists marking the end of the epoch, thereís a Jewish story deserving to be told.We donít presume to have a person of the century or of the millennium, but we do have a Top 10 list of pivotal moments and pivotal generations that helped us get from there to here.
In what observers see as a challenge to Yeshiva University's hegemony over the Modern Orthodox rabbinate, Rabbis Avi Weiss and Saul Berman are launching a new Modern Orthodox rabbinical school in Manhattan.
The founders are pledging ìrespectful interactionî with all Jewish movements while ìexpanding the role of women in religious life and leadership.
Since Jews believe in the spiritual inevitability of bashert rather than the random chance of coincidence, perhaps there is something to the fact that on the final Shabbat morning of the two Christian millenniums, in 999 and 1999, the Torah reading was the same, Vayihi, with its implicit warning about apocalyptic speculation. Rashi writes that the patriarch Jacob wanted to reveal his vision about the end of days, but his prophetic portal was suddenly closed.
Orthodox feminism, barely a quarter-century old and facing withering criticism, has nevertheless transformed and energized Modern Orthodoxy, according to a study believed to be the first examination of the impact of the nascent movement.
Providing perhaps the most compelling evidence to date of the Jewish community's growing embrace of the day school movement, a national census reveals that non-Orthodox parents are enrolling their children in unprecedented numbers, though eight in 10 students are still Orthodox.
Sometimes, said Sherlock Holmes, the greatest evidence can be what you donít see, what you donít hear ó the dog that doesnít bark. Thatís why the most illuminating item of the week actually has nothing in it about Jews or by Jews.
Itís an article about Denzel Washington, star of the new movie, ìThe Hurricane.î Off screen, says Newsweek (Jan. 10), ìDenzel Washington is grounded.
In the midnight hour, a chasid sitting in Shlomo Carlebachís parlor told his master that he just couldnít sleep. ìHey brother,î commiserated Reb Shlomo, ìthe holy King David never had a good nightís sleep in his life.
In old Jerusalem, a north wind blew through the palace window of the rebbe-king, plucking the strings of Davidís lyre as it hung by his bed, waking the son of Yishai, who wrote Psalms to the music of the breeze.
In the dim Hopper light of Israelís dusk, the moon rises over Arad. Yitzchak Sergani looks at his watch. It is exactly 5 p.m., Jan. 7. Five minutes later, the moon is seen in Ofakim. Eight minutes later, it is above Maíale Adumim. Twenty-seven minutes later, heavy clouds part over Ashdod and Magdi Shmuel sees the moon. He watches the white aureole, the holiness of it. The night was a like a Genesis verse, God placing lights in the firmament to be a sign unto the seasons.