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

Ezra Schwartz, Robert Kraft, And Acts Of Chesed

Special To The Jewish Week

"It could have been me."

That is how a number of us have responded to the murder of 18-year-old Ezra Schwartz by Palestinian terrorists.  Like many Jewish day school graduates, Ezra was experiencing his "year in Israel" rite of passage before matriculating to college. The tragedy hit home; we felt directly the pain, fear and anxiety tormenting the State of Israel and its citizens.

Ezra Schwartz

The Art Of Making Conversation

Or, a simple plan to avoid the dreaded discussions about colleges this Thanksgiving.


Editor's Note: Fresh Ink For Teens is a community and website whose content is written exclusively by high school students. Topics cover everything relevant to a teen’s life, through a Jewish lens.

As a senior in high school, I’m on the last lap of my college application race. Most of my applications are submitted; I’ve finished begging my teachers for recommendations and bombarding advisors with questions (Where exactly on the application did they put the send button? was my favorite email request).

"How 'bout them Mets?" is one way to distract your well-meaning relatives from asking about college. CC image courtesy of Flickr

Lonely In The Center

Special To The Jewish Week

In my “Chair’s Corner” column in the Summer 2010 issue of the Anti-Defamation League’s Frontline magazine, I observed that “it’s lonely in the center,” and bemoaned that “the world is getting more and more polarized.” 

Robert Sugarman

Denominational Déjà Vu

Special To The Jewish Week

Back in February 2001, an article I wrote for Moment Magazine caused quite a stir. Its thesis was that since the Conservative movement’s claim to halachic integrity was not supported by fact, Conservative Jews who respect Jewish religious law should consider joining Orthodox communities. Understandably, it was disturbing to some. Much of the uproar, however, was likely caused by the incendiary headline Moment insisted on giving the piece. I had titled it “Time to Come Home”; Moment ran it under a large, bold headline reading “The Conservative Lie.”

Rabbi Avi Shafran

Women Studying Torah: Facts On The Ground

The RCA is trying to erase women's personal desire to affect the Jewish world through their Torah.

Special To The Jewish Week

Sixteen years ago I was asked to stop learning Talmud because I am female. Here’s what happened: I was 25 and decided to try my hand at daf yomi, the practice of studying a folio of Talmud each day.

Lisa Schlaff

Our Commitment To Syrian Immigrants Comes From Our Roots


More than any other people, the Jewish people know precisely when and where the Syrian refugee crisis first began.  Every year, every Jew, at every Passover Seder table recites the words “Arami Oved Avi.”  Sometimes translated as “My father was a wandering Aramean,” sometimes translated as “An Aramean sought to destroy my father,” we recall the plight of our forefather Jacob who fled the hostile conditions of his Aramean surroundings.  Aram, as many may know, is the Biblical name for the land that up until recently we all called Syria.  “Come and learn,” we call out to each other at the seder table, “what Laban the Aramean sought to do to our father Jacob.”   Jacob was a refugee twice over, first having taken flight from the murderous intentions his brother Esau, and now in this past week’s Torah reading, seeking refuge from the hostile pursuit of his father-in-law Laban.  “My father was a wandering Aramean.”  Year after year we come back to the core text of the core ritual that lies at the very heart of who are as a people.   The very first Syrian refugee was a Jew – not just any Jew, but the very patriarch who would go on to become Israel, the namesake for our entire people.

Thanksgiving Message Of `Religious Liberty’ Especially Timely


Though the origins of Thanksgiving stretch back perhaps even to the biblical Feast of Tabernacles, it was on October 3, 1789, here in New York, that George Washington proclaimed Thanksgiving a national observance with these words:

New Program Invites Russians To Hebrew School – For Parents

Special To The Jewish Week

For many Russian-speaking Jewish parents living in NYC, the only connection to Judaism is through their children. Parents who came to America when they were teens during the 1980s and 1990s were less concerned about their Jewish heritage and instead focused on academic studies, on getting into a good college and on entering a lucrative profession. Now that their financial standing has improved this generation of parents wants to give their children something they themselves lacked, and in many cases are still lacking, a Jewish education.

Jewish Parent Academy
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