Gary Rosenblatt

From A Sephardic Scholar, An ‘Enlightened Torah’ Approach

01/10/2012
Editor And Publisher

Growing up, I considered Sephardic rituals and customs to be exotic, maybe even odd, if I thought about them at all. I knew, for example, that eating rice on Passover was allowed in Sephardic homes, a strict prohibition in mine and everyone else’s I knew, as Ashkenazim. And I considered their prayerbook nusach, or style, annoying since it was different from what I knew, and therefore hard for me to follow.

Gary Rosenblatt

Why Funders Need To Embrace Failure

Opportunity to take risks and learn from them necessary for success, some experts say.

01/03/2012
Editor and Publisher

Before there was Birthright Israel, the most successful Jewish communal effort to increase Jewish identity among young people, there was The Israel Experience, a like-minded effort — and acknowledged failure.

Jeffrey Solomon, president of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Family Philanthropies, recalls that Charles Bronfman announced the launch of The Israel Experience in 1992, amid great fanfare, at the major annual convention of North American Jewish federations.

Gary Rosenblatt

Is The Jewish People Better Off Today Than It Was A Year Ago?

12/27/2011
Editor And Publisher

If you’re an optimist and were asked to name three of the most significant Jewish events of the past 12 months, you might cite the release and emotional homecoming of Gilad Shalit after more than five years in captivity; the protest movement that spread across the Arab world, signaling an end or challenge to autocratic rule and a push for democracy; and a Jerusalem-Washington relationship bolstered by new military and strategic advances, and politically by America’s decisive efforts to thwart Palestinian efforts to achieve statehood through the United Nations and to prevent a nu

Gary Rosenblatt

A Great Miracle Happened Where?

Chanukah and why we steer clear of debates on Israel.

12/20/2011
Editor And Publisher

Chanukah, among its many meanings, reminds us that assimilation is not a new problem. Throughout history small pockets of traditionalists have sought to maintain their faith while larger numbers have been lost to the dominant culture or, too often, to the forces of anti-Semitism, coercion and murder.

Gary Rosenblatt

At Crossroads, Reform Jewry Focuses On Transformation

A new leader promising ‘big tent’ outreach must also deal with dissent from within.

12/13/2011
Editor and Publisher

This week’s biennial convention of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), marking the transition to new leadership at the helm, is being hailed as a celebration, and one can see why.

Gary Rosenblatt

Israelis And Us: It’s Complicated

‘Come Home’ ads expose cracks in relationship between American Jews and Israeli officials.

12/06/2011
Editor And Publisher

The news reports about Israel’s latest, ill-fated public relations campaign have come and gone. But the impact lingers, and it’s worth exploring how Israeli and American Jews, despite all their professed connections, still misunderstand each other in troubling ways.

The most recent example, in brief: A $300,000 ad campaign to encourage Israelis living in America to come home, sponsored by the government in Jerusalem, became known to and immediately was criticized by mainstream, fervently pro-Israel American Jewish groups, and others, as deeply offensive.

Gary Rosenblatt

Mind The Gap Between Orthodox And Other Jews

11/29/2011
Editor And Publisher

When journalist Peter Beinart talks about the growing alienation between young American Jews and Israel, and with their Jewish practice, he is quick to point out that he isn’t referring to the Orthodox.

Indeed, young Orthodox Jews, reflecting their elders’ behavior, are the exception to his rule, deeply committed to their religion and the Jewish state.

Gary Rosenblatt

Romney Or Not, We Can Learn From The Mormons

11/22/2011
Editor And Publisher

Sitting around the Shabbat table, a friend posed a question: “Now that it looks like Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee, how should we respond as Jews to the fact that he’s a Mormon?”

Gary Rosenblatt

A Unity Pledge That Backfired (Proving Its Point)

11/15/2011
Editor And Publisher

Speaking at the annual Anti-Defamation League meeting in New York last week, a senior official of the Obama White House warned that “harm could come” from turning differences over Mideast policy between the U.S. and Israel into “election-year talking points.”

Gary Rosenblatt

Just Who’s Inside The ‘Big Tent?’

GA debates inclusivity, federations’ relationship to Israel, overseas funding at annual meeting of JFNA.

11/08/2011
Editor And Publisher

Denver — In one of the most innovative sessions at this week’s 80th annual General Assembly (GA) of the North American Jewish federations, the biggest annual meeting on the communal calendar, two actors presented a 25-minute play exploring the practical challenges of what it means to have a “big tent” Jewish community, trying to be inclusive while maintaining loyalty to valued beliefs.

Gary Rosenblatt
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