I was riveted by the recent story of an Orthodox Israeli young woman, Ophir Ben-Shetreet, who sang beautifully on the Israeli talent-search program, “The Voice,” and as a result was suspended from her Orthodox school for two weeks because of the prohibition against women singing in public if men are present. Ophir’s performance and evident charm inspired people around the country. The judges praised her as “modest” and “pure,” and she could serve as a role model for young Orthodox women who feel the desire to express themselves and develop their talents. Instead, she was condemned.
Founder of Tel Aviv's secular yeshiva, also a Knesset member, leads Israel's parliament in study and prayer.
Editor’s Note: Ruth Calderon, founder of a secular yeshiva in Tel Aviv, spent several years living in New York recently, teaching at the JCC in Manhattan and other venues. This was her inaugural speech in the Knesset this week as a member of Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party.
Rabbis and their allies among Presbyterian clergy are committed to educating the church's leadership.
Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson
Special To The Jewish Week
Story Includes Video:
In late June, when the three innocent Israeli teenagers kidnapped by Hamas had not yet been found murdered and the Jewish world still only feared the worst, the Presbyterian Church’s General Assembly voted to “selectively divest” from three companies it claimed “furthered the Israeli occupation in Palestine.” In doing so, the denomination’s governing body cast its lot with the global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement that seeks to delegitimize the State of Israel and blame it for the conflict. The decision, while stunning in its bias, was really not all that surprising.
Even if you’re a very casual observer of the U.S. Jewish community and a friend who knows nothing about it asks you, “How big a phenomenon is Jewish intermarriage?” you’d probably be able to answer, “It’s pretty big.”
The isolation some Israelis are feeling is a kind of grief -- an intimate and personal pain.
Special To The Jewish Week
Story Includes Video:
‘You must be so relieved that everyone is safe,” greeted a colleague as I returned to JFK with 26 American students after their summer fellowship in Israel. As co-director of the Bronfman Youth Fellowships, a Jewish leadership program for young Israelis and Americans, this summer has been anything but a relief for me. I spent the first three weeks of the conflict in my home in New York, my stomach in knots about every aspect of our group’s itinerary, reassuring parents of our efforts to keep their American children safe. And then I arrived in Israel where I encountered the emotional disruption of this war as experienced by young Israelis. Spending time in Israel brought into focus the vast difference between how Israeli and American Jews are dealing with this conflict.
At least we are finally beginning to understand what we are up against.
As the war in Gaza has taken its toll and the U.S. conducts a sustained bombing campaign against ISIS in northern Iraq to save the Kurds, the battle lines in the Middle East are clearly drawn. On one side are Islamist fundamentalist, jihadist and terrorist organizations including Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS and al Qaeda; and, on the other, a de-facto alliance of “moderate” Middle East nations, including Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and the Palestinian Authority headed by President Mahmoud Abbas.
Though Robin Williams and I were friendly for nearly three decades, we were never really friends. (Nor did we ever have a professional relationship.) Though he recognized me whenever we met, and we invariably kibitzed as if we had never parted, I doubt if he remembered my name, though he always pretended that he did.
The campers and staff of Camp Ramah in Nyack danced with the crazed enthusiasm of people who had just won a $100 million jackpot. It was just past 9 a.m., the last Friday of camp in Rockland County, New York, and the Hebrew song playing was fittingly called "Lo Normali." I could not help but think that this amount of energy was freakish.
With election season just around the corner we are likely to hear the same debate that usually intensifies during this part of the year, between those that promote the role of business (usually Republicans) and those that champion the functions of government (usually Democrats.) Most of us are already familiar with the argument and points of view from each political camp. The pro-business side will tell us, as they usually do, that only business’s are able to create value, wealth, and serve society in the most efficient manner. The pro-government side will dispense their own vision of the world in which it is government agencies that provide necessary services to those in need and the role of government (and taxes) needs to be increased so that everyone is cared for. What many people overlook in the business versus government debate is the role that not-for-profits play in our life.