Telling The Truth About Mental Illness

02/23/2016 - 15:13
Special To The Jewish Week

Our son’s illness, when we finally became aware of it, was a magnitude-8 earthquake in our lives that came without any warning. It was a calm and beautiful day in July when I found Jonathan the first time he tried to end his life. The mechanics of saving him, calling 911, unlocking and opening the door for the rescue team, calling my husband, and following the ambulance to the hospital all happened on autopilot, step 1, step 2, step 3, and so on. The moments in between and following his arrival at the hospital crawled as I waited to hear whether my son would live and with what possible damage, and wondered in complete ignorance and fear what the next steps would be. How could this possibly be happening, how was it possible that I, who had spent countless hours talking with Jonathan, didn’t realize the trouble he was in?

The author with her son Jonathan. Courtesy of Ruth Roth

Change In Basic Law: Crossing A Red Line?

02/23/2016 - 13:29
Special To The Jewish Week

Let’s start with the obvious: The well-publicized visit by Arab Knesset members Hanin Zoabi, Basel Ghattas and Jamal Zahalka (Balad Party) to the families of terrorists who attacked and murdered Jews — and especially the moment of silence they observed for the murderers who were celebrated as martyrs — is infuriating. Such actions are also damaging; they harm the fragile fabric of relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel, increase the rifts between them and impede the ability to create a shared and equal society.

Yohanan Plesner

Bernie’s Brand Of Jewishness

Sanders doesn’t often use the phrase ‘tikkum olam,’ but his socialist, universalist style of Judaism resonates.

02/16/2016 - 19:03
Special To The Jewish Week

So far in this presidential campaign, Bernie Sanders’ most visible appearance as a Jew came a few weeks ago when he talked about wanting to seem less Jewish.

Bernie Sanders in Nevada. Getty Images

Why Metrics Matter In Jewish Philanthropy

02/16/2016 - 10:53
Special To The Jewish Week

My grandfather, may his memory be for a blessing, used to receive hundreds of envelopes from charities. Every month, he would work through the stacks of solicitations and joyfully write out checks for $5, $10 or $18. Though he was a retired butcher and not a wealthy man, he knew what it was like to experience hunger from his teen years spent suffering in various concentration camps. After the Holocaust, he came to America with nothing but the charitable largesse of Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin. That he was able to build a family and a business and be in the position to give back to those in need motivated his check-writing habit.

Tamar Snyder

Borowitz And Heschel: Divergent Paths Taken

02/10/2016 - 16:54
Special To The Jewish Week

Some religious migrations are fulfilled. Others are truncated before they start. I refer to the remarkable contrast in the spiritual itineraries of the influential theologian, Rabbi Eugene Borowitz, who died last month at 91, and Rabbi Abraham Heschel, who died in 1972, as they pertained to the Hebrew Union College (Reform) and Jewish Theological Seminary (Conservative).

Rabbi Gerald Zelizer

U.S. Jewish Leadership Understands Mideast Reality

02/10/2016 - 09:12
Special To The Jewish Week

In responding to Gary Rosenblatt’s column (“Frustration with Israel is Growing Here at Home,” Jan. 8), Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor accuses American Jews and our leaders (“Why Israel Is Frustrated With American Jewish Leaders,” Jan. 29) of “only listening to marginal voices in Israel” and “missing the big picture.” Steinberg is wrong on both counts.

Martin Raffel

Kotel Deal Cuts Both Ways

02/09/2016 - 15:50
Special To The Jewish Week

I have mixed feelings about the “historic” compromise reached about a week ago in Israel creating a new, egalitarian prayer space south of the Western Wall plaza. Worked out with the Israeli government by representatives of the Reform and Conservative movements, Women of the Wall and others, the compromise will create a large area for the liberal denominations and for the Women of the Wall to hold prayer services. The government and the Jewish Agency will fund the section, a precedent, perhaps, for official recognition of the non-Orthodox denominations in Israel.

Francine Klagsbrun

President Obama: Religious Freedom Keeps Us Strong

In an exclusive op-ed for RNS, Obama calls for religious freedom for all faiths, "We are one American family."

02/08/2016 - 17:02

Ed. Note: The President's visit last week to the Islamic Society of Baltimore mosque, his first to a mosque in the U.S. as president, was hailed as a welcome celebration of religious diversity by many. In the Jewish community the visit was met with a mixed response with some quarters of the Jewish community praising it as a stand for religious diversity, and others voicing strong criticism for the choice of mosque. In the wake of his visit, the president wrote this exclusive op-ed for RNS, republished here for our readers.

President Barack Obama greets attendees after speaking at the Islamic Society of Baltimore on Feb. 3, 2016. Getty Images

For Progressives, A False Dichotomy On Israel

02/02/2016 - 15:32
Special To The Jewish Week

Conflicted young Jews who feel caught between the progressive values we hold in our DNA and an increasingly radical “left” agenda that demonizes all things Israel may have come to another fork in the road. The silencing of activists from Jerusalem Open House at the Creating Change conference last week sent a signal to those of us at the intersection of an American Jewish community struggling with its relationship to Israel, and an LGBTQ movement trying to deepen its solidarity with other liberation movements around the world.

David Shmidt Chapman

Future Technology Can Open Windows To Our Past

02/02/2016 - 13:02
Special To The Jewish Week

A century from now, a child will be able to ask Pinchas Gutter, a Holocaust survivor, about his experiences and hear him tell his story. Or at least a 3-D hologram, created after hours of recordings, will be able to respond to questions posed to him by a generation that will have grown up after the last survivor has passed away.

Gideon Taylor
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