Opinion

Drinking On Purim Is No Laughing Matter

03/11/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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This year’s trending Purim parody topic is the recent legalization of marijuana in Colorado. President Obama’s recent public admission about getting high will no doubt fan these flames. And when there’s fire, there’s smoke. There will be, no doubt, lots of non-medicinal smoking going on, in and out of Colorado, this Purim.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Students Say It's Dangerous To Ignore The Green Line

03/10/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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Students here and across the Jewish world are fighting for an honest conversation about the Green Line, the armistice line that serves as the basis for any talks between the Israelis and Palestinians. If we bury our heads in the sand, we become all the more vulnerable to Israel’s real enemies.

Jacob Plitman

From A Lesbian Mother, A Letter To PJ Library: This Hurts

03/06/2014
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Dear Trustees:

My two daughters have been receiving PJ Library books since they were babies, and I am very grateful to you for the monthly gift, which has helped me teach them about Jewish holidays, traditions and values.

I wanted to share with you my disappointment that you've chosen not to send the book The Purim Superhero to all your members, but only to families who specifically request it. I know you put a lot of thought into this decision, and that's part of the reason I wanted to share my thoughts with you.

The Purim Superhero has two dads. The author is one of two moms. Via keshetonline.org

Rabbi’s Role: Speaking Out Or Maintaining Community?

03/05/2014
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Frequently, I hear congregants complain that their rabbis are not inspiring or that they never take clear stands on issues of importance. That's why the ongoing discussion about rabbinic independence that has erupted again at B'nai Jeshurun, covered very fairly by The Jewish Week (“B’nai Jeshurun Defections Fuel Debate,” Feb. 28), transcends any single congregation and any one subject. It is a contemporary case study about two issues facing the congregational world:

Rabbi Hayim Herring

Modern Orthodoxy At A Crossroads

The movement tries both to preserve rabbinic authority and allow for intellectual freedom and the expression of diverse viewpoints.

03/04/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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Thankfully, the recent controversy at Yeshiva University over a rabbinical student who had held a private “partnership minyan” in his home has been resolved satisfactorily, and hopefully without harm either to the student or to the critically important institution that he attends. Cooler heads, fortunately, have prevailed. Yet the fact of the controversy itself raises broader questions concerning the future directions of Modern Orthodoxy and its role within the American Jewish community.

Steven Bayme

Changing Conservative Judaism

A movement looking to the future finds some rabbinical role models in its own synagogues.

03/04/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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We can complain about the shrinking of the Conservative movement. And we can take pride in Conservative successes of the past. But if what we have been doing until now is not sufficient for the future, what can we change?

Judith Hauptman

End The Prohibition On Proselytizing To Non-Jews

03/04/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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When news broke last month that Yair Netanyahu, the oldest son of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was dating a young woman from Norway, many in the Jewish state declared the affair a “shanda,”or a shame. The young man’s uncle even went as far as addressing his nephew publicly and urged him to end the relationship and find himself a Jewish spouse.

Steven M. Cohen and Marco Greenberg

Good News, Bad News On Jewish Push For Success

02/25/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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If we can identify the factors that lead to success, then we can model educational systems to produce highly successful students.  Or can we?

What Went Wrong With Conservative Judaism?

02/25/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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The findings of the recent study of American Jews by the Pew Research Center have generated a lot of ink, not the least in responses from Jewish religious movements. We have heard the Orthodox expressions of the Church Triumphant. We have witnessed the scurrying for cover on the part of some other groups. In the Conservative world, a number of the movement’s leaders have offered either aggressive programming to counter the movement’s decline, or vigorous cheerleading.

Jerome A. Chanes

Why Pressure On Chief Rabbinate Will Only Increase

02/20/2014
Special to The Jewish Week
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A few years ago, I moderated a series of focus group conversations about Israel. The participants were mostly middle-aged Jews affiliated with Reform and Conservative congregations. As discussion touched on Israel’s policies on settlements, peace negotiations and civil rights, participants argued back and forth, with many expressing tempered criticism of Israeli positions. But when the conversation turned to the Chief Rabbinate’s authority over matters of personal status, including marriage, divorce and burial, debate gave way to expressions of bewilderment and outrage.

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