Opinion

Modern Orthodoxy Has Its Costs – Not Just Financial

When cost of living pushes $300,000, what else is sacrificed?

02/17/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

American Modern Orthodoxy is an elitist phenomenon. According to the well-known 2013 Pew study, it represents less than 10 percent of American Jews but is the best-educated and has the largest percentage of high-income earners. No group puts more of a premium on ethical life, intellectual curiosity, Israel, or community. In the aggregate, Modern Orthodox espouses more "essentials" of Jewish identity than any other segment, and by a wide margin. Its adherents are most likely to understand Judaism as both ethnicity and religion (a mature and correct understanding of reality). This is all in addition to the large families and high rate of day-school attendance that characterize Orthodoxy in general. As its name indicates, a multiplicity of emphases and core values is characteristic of Modern Orthodoxy.

Cost of living in Modern Orthodox households pushes $300,000. via fotolia.com

Widen The Israel Discussion On Campus

02/17/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

In recent years, the Jewish community has become increasingly concerned with how Israel is perceived on American college campuses. I am asked frequently, mostly by anxious members of the community, about possible solutions to the problem. Throughout my career of more than 20 years, I have taken the situation on campus very seriously, as have many of my colleagues. I’ve had the privilege of visiting and lecturing at numbers of universities and colleges throughout North America. In my visits, I regularly meet not only top administrators and faculty but also campus activists and students. Here’s what I’ve learned:

Ido Aharoni

Joining Forces, Across The Park And Other Divides

02/17/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

We’ve all heard the old Jewish joke about the man alone on the desert island who builds two synagogues — one where he prays and the other where he wouldn’t walk in, even if you paid him.

Daniel Kraus

Jon Stewart Steps Down From “The Daily Show"

A joke-full reign, a tearful goodbye.

02/12/2015
Blueprint Editor

When Jon Stewart announced that he would be retiring from "The Daily Show" during Tuesday's live taping, audience members and later on the millions of viewers watching could only hope it was just another joke. However, those waiting for a punch line should get comfortable.

Jon Stewart

Why We Need To Redefine ‘Orthodoxy’

Looking to the right for legitimacy is a loser's game for traditional Judaism.

02/11/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

Never let the competition define you. Never peg your own identity to a rival. Never allow the other side to dictate your character and never abdicate your own individuality and uniqueness.

Orthodoxy is still moving to the right, the author writes. Fotolia

When Universal Pre-K Is Not Universal

02/12/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

“We will offer every child, from every borough of this city, truly universal, full-day Pre-K.”

That was Mayor Bill de Blasio’s promise to the children of New York City one year ago in his inaugural State of the City address. The Mayor's pledge of a free pre-K program available to every four-year-old in New York City — regardless of background, religion, or socio-economic status — signaled an exciting and visionary approach to early childhood education for all New York preschoolers.

Jewish Anti-Vaxxers Take Note: Parental Responsibility Trumps Parental Rights

02/11/2015

 At the Waldorf Early Childhood Center in Santa Monica, Calif., 68 percent of the children had not been vaccinated because of “personal belief exemptions.”

Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin is the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Am of Bayonne, N.J. RNS

‘Mommy, I Want A Day Off’

The director of an alternative Hebrew School asks how much programming is too much, for kids.

02/10/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

Our children are exhausted and confused. How can they know what is truly important when they spend six mandated hours in school studying up to seven subjects followed by play rehearsal on Monday, soccer on Tuesday, OT sessions on Wednesday, Hebrew school on Thursday, piano on Friday, and soccer practice on both Saturday and Sunday mornings followed by a Sunday afternoon game? It tires me just to list this packed schedule, one that dictates the lives of many 8- to 13-year-olds.

How will I fit it all in? Fotolia

American Jews Turning Inward? Not So Fast

02/10/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

Over the past century, American Jews have been deeply involved in the fate of Jewish communities overseas, raising billions of dollars for their aid and helping them survive two World Wars, recover and rebuild after the tragedy of the Holocaust and communist oppression, and build Israel.

Alan Gill

The Courage To Pack Up And Go

02/10/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

‘Picture the sudden change it was for him, without knowing how to read or write or even speak the language,” my father wrote in a memoir about his father’s coming to America from Russia in 1910. “They were the brave, the daring, the pioneers … our parents.”

Francine Klagsbrun
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