Opinion

The Akedah Bind

11/18/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

Jews didn’t need to celebrate Halloween this year to experience the chills of the season. We had more than enough chills reading the Torah portion, Vayeira, two weeks ago, with its terrifying story of the Akedah, the Binding of Isaac. God tells Abraham to take his beloved son Isaac and sacrifice him to the Lord. Abraham’s passivity makes us shudder. The man who argued with God on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah says nothing when commanded to offer up his own child. We have to wonder whether this father bears any resemblance to the dreadfully sick people we sometimes read about who murder their own children after hearing “voices” ordering them to do so.

Francine Klagsbrun

Four Steps To Combat Arab-Jewish Hatred

11/18/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

In the past few months the already tenuous relationship between Jews and Arabs has been put to the test once again. This is, above all, a human issue — one concerning appropriate relations between people who live side by side. But it also raises an important practical and political issue: At a time when countries across the Middle East are collapsing to their ethnic and tribal foundations, there is no guarantee that the State of Israel will be immune from such a process. It’s one that is dangerous for the Arab minority and the Jewish majority alike.

Yair Sheleg

The Jewish Women's Archive Redefines The 'Sandwich Generation'

11/17/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

In the past few years, it’s begun to creep into my conversations – along with talk of elementary schools and work-life balance and recommendations for excellent eye cream – this term, “sandwich generation.” It’s a useful turn of phrase to refer to those of us who feel squeezed between the simultaneous needs of our aging parents and our growing children. It doesn’t connote a positive squeeze like a hug; it’s really more of a strangle.

Judith Rosenbaum

Anti-Semitism Is A Real-life Drama

Living with my French cousin exposed me to the fears of Jews living in France.

11/12/2014

In September I went with my school to protest the Metropolitan Opera’s production of “The Death of Klinghoffer” at Lincoln Center in New York City. A woman approached me and asked what Klinghoffer had to do with the Met and what our protest was about. I explained to her that in 1985 terrorists hijacked an Italian cruise ship, the Achille Lauro, and shot and killed the wheelchair-bound passenger Leon Klinghoffer. The Met’s fall schedule included an opera that the protestors believed romanticized his murder and glorified terrorism.

Parisian Dan Dray with his sister-in-law, Joanna.

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
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