Opinion

The Importance Of A Global Day Of Jewish Learning

11/11/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

Jewish knowledge is not just good to have. It is essential. Some may think that knowledge belongs to scholars, religious leaders and the elite. Not so in Judaism. For us, study is an essential demand upon everyone.

Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz

The Importance Of A Global Day Of Jewish Learning

11/10/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

Jewish knowledge is not just good to have. It is essential. Some may think that knowledge belongs to scholars, religious leaders and the elite. Not so in Judaism. For us, study is an essential demand upon everyone.

Why The RCA Is Reviewing Its Conversion Process

Even a well-intentioned system can be abused; responsible action must be taken to maintain its integrity.

11/04/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

Much public comment and debate have been generated in the wake of the shocking arrest of Rabbi Barry Freundel on deeply disturbing charges of voyeurism, including upon conversion candidates. For its part, the Rabbinical Council America (RCA) promptly moved to announce the formation of a committee that I will chair to review its Geirus Policies and Standards (GPS), the guidelines that govern its network of conversion courts. As this committee begins its deliberations, it is important to provide the greater Jewish community with appropriate context and perspective for this important initiative.

Rabbi Shmuel Goldin

‘Klinghoffer’ Protests And The Disability Community

11/04/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

As a child with a disability in the 1960s and ’70’s, I learned very quickly that, in order to be heard, I needed to be seen. Hidden behind the veils of misperception, paternalistic attitudes and avoidance, people with disabilities, as members of a social class, have needed to take to the streets in order to be taken seriously.  We couldn’t stomach any more condescending head nods, forced smiles, and token actions on the part of policy makers who believed they had the best of intentions. 

Sharon Shapiro-Lacks

The Death Of Trust

11/04/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

In light of the Barry Freundel “Watergate,” scandal, I commend Erica Brown’s suggestion that rabbis should be held to the same standards that apply to those in other professions (“Mikveh Scandal Underscores Need To Regulate Rabbinate,” Oct. 31). Regular performance reviews can be healthy when done right, as they almost always have been for me. Other safeguards can be built in, like the independent audit my synagogue undergoes annually, enabling congregants to feel confidence in the integrity of their contributions to clergy discretionary funds.

Joshua Hammerman

Is There A Place For God In The Israeli Army?

10/29/2014

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

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

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

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
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