Silencing Women's Voices: Time To Speak Up

Special To The Jewish Week

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.

'The Heritage Of All Israel'

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.

Ruth Calderone

Human Rights Is a Sacred Cause, Not A Pro-Israel Message

Special to The Jewish Week

Advancing human rights around the world should be consistently high on the Jewish community’s advocacy agenda. Grounded in our basic religious values and historical experiences as a persecuted people, this effort can and should be undertaken with deep conviction. I long have wanted the Jewish community to be more active and visible in this space.

Martin Raffel

The Many Israelis In The Middle

Special To The Jewish Week

We all know that Israeli society is deeply polarized, with religious fanatics combating secular extremists. We all know that Orthodox rabbis dismiss Reform and Conservative rabbis, as most Israelis reject Judaism out of disgust for this Orthodox zealotry. We all know that the openness, tolerance, pluralism, and broad religious spectrum characterizing American Judaism is sadly lacking in Israel’s narrow, intolerant, all-or-nothing Judaism. Or do we?

Gil Troy

How Will Jews Be Different In 2050?

Special To The Jewish Week

For close watchers of the Jewish community, peering into the future (and fretting about it, as Jews seem to be a people whose DNA includes a built-in “worrier” gene) seems to be an occupational hazard. The most recent Pew surveys provide a glimpse, especially when it comes to the finding that the millennial generation is unmoored from formal institutions of all kinds, including Jewish ones. But the surveys raise as many questions as they answer.

Steven Windmueller

For U.S., A Lost Opportunity For Mideast Stability

Special To The Jewish Week

The Obama administration’s policy toward Iran — the attempt to engage Tehran in the vain hope that the regime will somehow transform itself into a useful and productive member of the community of nations — represents a lost opportunity. Given the unrest in the Middle East, the administration had the chance to reshape the geopolitical contours of the region in a way that would have advanced American interests and assured regional stability for decades to come. That prospect has been squandered.

Menachem Genack

Trouble For Israel Over Iran Agreement, And Beyond


The Jewish year ending in a few days was marked by severe erosion in Israel's strategic positioning in a geo-political world in rapid transformation. There are two components in such erosion, an external one globally defining relations between the countries of the world and Israel, and an inner one reflecting Israel's response to these challenges and, unavoidably, also involving the Jewish diaspora. The hook to which we can hang the whole story is undoubtedly the Vienna agreement of July 14 (the anniversary of the French Revolution) between the representatives of the world powers and Iran on the future development of Iranian nuclear capabilities.

The Orthodox Community Must Embrace Its Gay Children


The horrifying stabbings and murder of Shira Banki at the recent Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem are in no way representative of the Orthodox Judaism I live and breathe.  Yet, that horrifying incident should give all of us in the Modern Orthodox community pause, and cause, to rethink the stance we take, and the message we send about homosexuality and LGBT Jews. It calls for a fundamental change in the way we interact with these men and women of our community— our children, our siblings, our congregants.  We must do it because it is right. And we must do it because the alternative to such a change has become too great to bear.

The Lesson Of The Golem: When Self-Defense Turns Into Extreme Violence


There was a time, wrote the Yiddish author I.L. Peretz, a terrible time, when the ghetto of Prague was under assault.  For the Jews had received word that their women were about to be raped, their children about to be burned alive, and their men about to be slaughtered.  Just when the situation seemed beyond hope and the end imminent, the great Maharal of Prague, Rabbi Yehuda Loew, set aside his studies of the Gemara and went out into the street.  He went up to a large pile of clay, took it into his hands, and fashioned the image of a man.  The rabbi breathed into the nostrils of the golem, and the thing began to move.  Then he whispered into its ear the name of the Holy One, and the golem rose up.  The rabbi turned to go back into the house of prayer, and the golem turned to leave the ghetto.  Once outside the ghetto, the golem fell upon our enemies and attacked them without mercy.

How To Speak Truth To Israel


I have been a fan of Daniel Sokatch since his days at the Progressive Jewish Alliance in Los Angeles, even before he became the C.E.O. of the New Israel Fund.

Syndicate content