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.
Each year on Passover, I get chills when we recount the plagues against Egypt: Blood, boils, hail, and death of first born children represent the stuff of horror films. And yet, the second plague tends to stand out for me. “The Nile shall swarm with frogs and they shall come up and enter your palace, your bedchamber, and your bed, the houses of your courtiers and your people, and your ovens and your kneading bowls” [Exodus 7:28].
When Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia to Lt.-General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox on April 9, 1865, an exchange of their respective seder plans was not high on their list of priorities. As American Jews celebrate our festival of freedom and the sesquicentennial anniversary of that historic day, it is an opportune time to consider the significance of April 1865 in our nation’s history and reflect how that historical pivot continues to shape the landscape of our country.
Ambassador Danny Ayalon says the quality of the school's students have soothed his fears for the future.
Ambassador Danny Ayalon
In 2003, while still serving as the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, I was privileged to attend the investiture ceremony of Richard Joel as president of Yeshiva University. Since then, I have served as co-chairman of Nefesh B’Nefesh, Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel, and a member of the Israeli Knesset. Ten years ago, I would never have imagined that I would one day return to YU to join President Joel and the university’s illustrious faculty as the Rennert Visiting Professor of Foreign Policy Studies, a title of which I am most proud.
This year’s anti-Semitism must have a place at the seder table.
Special To The Jewish Week
What will Jews do this year?
Passover is a time of joy and freedom, anticipation and redemption. And because we are strong and free, we can afford one pointed flash of anger. After the meal, we traditionally open the door for Elijah and say three biblical verses of vindictiveness that begin “Pour out Your wrath…” Shfokh hamatkha al ha-goyim. We crave justice. We seek revenge. We ask that our enemies get their just desserts for all of the irrational hatred we’ve suffered. We note the spilled venom of centuries that has taken innocent Jewish lives.