We Need To Thwart Iran On Two Fronts

12/29/2015 - 15:10
Special To The Jewish Week

On July 14, the United States signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb. I decided to support the agreement because I believe that approval of the JCPOA, for all its flaws, gives us the best chance of stopping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, which would pose a genocidal threat to Israel and the rest of the world. As I wrote in my statement at the time, “Although we know that Iran will remain a major menace to the region and the world, even without nuclear weapons, a nuclear armed Iran would represent an unacceptable threat to the United States, to Israel, and to global security.” 

Jerrold Nadler

Countering BDS On Campus: A Success Story

The case for Israel is strongest when it's based on authenticity, inclusion and engagement.

12/29/2015 - 13:01
Special To The Jewish Week

When he arrived in Boston, the new Israeli consul general told me that among his primary assignments was to curtail the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel) that had become prominent on so many campuses. His mission was as important as it was urgent. Colleges and universities train future leaders and opinion makers.

Frederick M. Lawrence

An Open Letter To Mayor Bill de Blasio On Syrian Refugees

12/23/2015 - 19:14

Dear Mayor Bill de Blasio:

Guided by our history and values, Jewish organizations from across the political and religious spectrum are rallying in support of refugees, regardless of religion, race, or nationality. On behalf of HIAS, the global Jewish non-profit organization that was established here in New York City in 1881 to protect refugees, we want you to know that we share your commitment to welcoming refugees as part of the core values of both the United States and New York City. The U.S. has offered protection to the world’s most vulnerable people and time and time again, this included protecting Jews. Today, this is more important than ever with unprecedented numbers of refugees unable to go home, in need of protection, and hoping to be resettled.

Mark Hetfield (left), Dale Schwartz

On Activism, Jewish Values And Honest Voices

12/22/2015 - 16:04

The experience of an intellectually serious student in the 21st century is a lonely one. On college campuses, the greatest passions soar not in response to encountering Plato or Hayek for the first time, but in response to calls for censorship, “safe” spaces, and the stifling of debate. In the name of human rights, justice, and liberty, the majority of students on campus today believe themselves to be the teachers: they are sure that history up until just recently was entirely orientalist and racist and cruel, and they know — boy, do they know — which causes are right and which are wrong. In this environment the traditional goal of education: knowledge, has been replaced with a new goal: solidarity. The desire to know has been tucked under the desire to reform, to defy, to break. 

Joshua R. Fattal

The Communities That Shaped Me

12/22/2015 - 15:13

I credit much of who I am today to the communities of the Ramaz school and Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun. Under the guidance of Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, these two communities have taught me the importance of living a life devoted to learning, Israel and Judaism, and menschlichkeit. In addition to growing up in a community that has shaped my values, I have been fortunate to have been a participant in many Jewish programs that have furthered my passions and interests. One program that has significantly influenced who I am and the causes to which I devote myself in college is The Jewish Week’s Write On For Israel, an intensive two-year high school Israel advocacy program.

Rachel Huebner

Why I Support Hillary Clinton For President

She will apply deep strategic thinking to deal with the foreign policy issues confronting us.

12/22/2015 - 12:38
Special To The Jewish Week

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of opinion pieces advocating for candidates in the 2016 presidential race.

American exceptionalism, the doctrine that the United States, as a people and a nation imbued with democratic values, has the unique ability and responsibility to promote these values on the world stage, needs to be a major component of how our leadership views the challenges facing our country.

Menachem Genack

The Case For Conservative Rabbis Officiating At Intermarriages

Here's how to take the step with carefully considered standards and practices, instead of chaos.

12/22/2015 - 12:18
Special To The Jewish Week

I gave a sermon on intermarriage to my congregation in 1994. I did not do so again until this year. No rabbi is in favor of intermarriage, but there are few congregants in Conservative and Reform synagogues (and in many Modern and centrist Orthodox ones) that do not have someone in their family married to a non-Jew. Anything that might be said on this sensitive subject will inevitably touch a nerve and cause hurt, however unintentionally.

Steven Kane

Visiting Israel: No Reason Needed

12/17/2015 (All day)
Jewish Week Online Columnists

I am leaving this coming week for a brief trip to Israel, and will be returning to Forest Hills right after the New Year. Inasmuch as this is rare time away from office and home, I shall be utilizing this opportunity to take a two-week hiatus from my weekly articles in this space (barring unforeseen circumstances), and look forward to coming back to the weekly challenge with batteries recharged and perspectives similarly revitalized. Thank you to all of my faithful readers!

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

A Rabbi’s Pet Peeve: The 'Shake And Greet’ Processional

Sorry to be the Grinch who steals Shabbat, but shmoozing can come at the expense of the sacred.

12/16/2015 - 16:48

As I made the transition from pulpit to pew, after retiring from the rabbinate, I saw things I had not noticed over 45 years serving one congregation. My shul hopping during a six-month residence in New York City took me to synagogues of all stripes: Reform, Conservative, Orthodox and Renewal. Of course, some of what I saw was specific to particular denominations but one practice was common to all. Seemingly innocuous and insignificant, it actually reflected an institutional shift from when I began my rabbinate some 50 years ago.

Torah ark. Via wikipedia.org

A Patrilineal Proposal: ‘Bath’ Mitzvah

12/15/2015 (All day)
Special To The Jewish Week

Thirty years ago Rabbi Irving (“Yitz”) Greenberg looked ominously at the landscape of American Jewry. With spiraling intermarriage rates and the 1983 decision of the Reform movement to allow Jewish status to be determined by the identity of the father, he peered into the future and asked, in a seminal essay in Clal Perspectives, “Will There be One Jewish People in the Year 2000?” He predicted that, “within decades, the Jewish people will be divided into two, mutually hostile groups who are unable and unwilling to marry each other.”

Joshua Hammerman
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