Opinion

Silencing Women's Voices: Time To Speak Up

02/15/2013
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.

02/14/2013

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

Is There A Place For God In The Israeli Army?

10/29/2014
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Israel Defense Minister Moshe “Bogie” Yaalon and Chief of Staff Benny Gantz recently expressed cautious reservations about the religion-infused letter that the commander of the Givati Brigade, Col. Ofer Winter, wrote to the officers under his command at the outset of Operation Protective Edge this past summer. The commander’s letter defined the mission of his troops in religious terms: to defeat a “blasphemous” enemy who defames God’s name.

Who’s Taking Care Of The Rabbi?

10/28/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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Many important conversations have resulted from the Rabbi Barry Freundel episode. (The spiritual leader of Congregation Kesher Israel in Washington, D.C., has pleaded not guilty to charges that he used a hidden camera to watch women in his synagogue’s mikveh.) These dialogues touch on a variety of interrelated concerns — safeguarding mikvaot, the vulnerability of converts, the need for clear reporting policies regarding allegations of improper conduct, and the need for greater involvement of women in the power centers of religious life. A less-discussed but equally critical topic is the psychological health and well-being of our clergy.

Michelle Friedman

After Ferguson: A Call For Intercommunal Dialogue

10/28/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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Ninety years ago this month, the Ku Klux Klan paraded through Princeton, N.J., in a cavalcade of early automobiles. Back then the area was known as hotbed of Klan activity. But the students of the time would have no truck with the Klan. And 800 undergraduates descended on the menacing convoy to tear off their white hoods.

Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson

An ADL That Supports A Two-State Solution Should Understand Settlements' Significance

10/28/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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When Israel announced its latest round of settlement construction in East Jerusalem, American Jewish leaders should have expected criticism of the action from the United States government. Such criticism reflects a 40-year U.S. policy stance that remains central to US-Israeli diplomacy, in addition to unprecedented military and material support for the Jewish state.

Gabriel Erbs

Mikveh Scandal Underscores Need To Regulate Rabbinate

10/28/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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It’s been a rough post-Yom Kippur for Jews in Washington, D.C. What shook me most about the Freundel scandal — our “Water”gate — is how many people said, “I’m shocked but not surprised.” Really?

Erica Brown

An Alleged Victim Speaks

‘Even undressing in privacy of my own bedroom is difficult,’ conversion student says.

10/28/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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Many in the Jewish community seem to be transfixed at the moment with the ongoing voyeurism scandal concerning Rabbi Barry Freundel. A flood of articles has been published throughout the United States and Israel focusing on the details of the police investigation or debating mikvah politics and Orthodox Judaism. These are important issues, but they're a bit abstract. They can't answer the question of what it feels like to be a potential victim of Rabbi Freundel. What was it like to go through a conversion with him?

Stephanie Doucette
Related Articles

For Converts, ‘Rely On Me’ Is A Dangerous Message

The tension between the Hillel and Shammai approaches to conversion still persists today. Who wins?

10/21/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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The sage Hillel is one of the heroes of Jewish tradition. He is the author of pithy quotes like “If not now, when?” and “What is hateful to you, do not do unto others; the rest is commentary — go learn it!” He was willing to accept converts that his rabbinic interlocutor and foil, Shammai, rejected.

Elli Fischer

Mikveh Needs To Be A Safe Place

10/20/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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As another case of alleged rabbinic impropriety emerges, I am most concerned with how the community moves forward. Our focus at this point in time should not be on the individual; rather we should focus on collective responsibility. What could we have done? Where do we go from here?

Sharon Weiss-Greenberg
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