Opinion

In Haiti, Finding Our Mission By Helping Others

01/19/2015 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

When I accepted an invitation from the Israeli organization, Tevel B’Tzedek, to travel to Haiti a few months after the devastating earthquake in 2010, little did I know that it would lead to one of the most fulfilling projects of my rabbinic career. The Israeli relief disaster team there was doing amazing work under the most difficult circumstances, as Israelis have done all around the globe in similar situations. My contribution was to bring some Judaic context to the work taking place in one of the poorest countries in the world.

Rabbi Sid Schwarz

Drone Warfare

Who shall live and who shall die?

01/19/2015 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

During the High Holidays, there is one prayer that stands out as the high point of the service. The cantor chants, “On Rosh HaShanah it is written, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed! — How many will pass on, and how many will be born; who will live and who will die; who will live a long life and who will come to an untimely end; who will perish by fire and who by water; who by sword and who by beast…”

Pakistani protesters from the United Citizen Action (UCA) group shout slogans and burn a U.S. flag in late October. Getty Images

Making Distinctions: Islam Is Not Islamism

01/13/2015 - 19:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

I attended the official New York City Jewish community memorial service, Sunday evening, for the 17 murdered victims of the attacks in Paris last week. Perhaps 500 people crammed the sanctuary of Lincoln Square Synagogue, with some overflow reported on the outside. Dignitaries in attendance included the French consul-general, the French ambassador to the United Nations, the Israeli consul-general, Senator Charles Schumer, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, the local member of the House of Representatives Jerrold Nadler, the City Public Advocate Letitia James and the City Comptroller Scott Stringer.

Ralph Seliger

On YU Sex Abuse Case, You Can’t Hide From God

01/13/2015 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

On the third night of this past Chanukah, attorney Kevin Mulhearn sent a draft of a complaint against Yeshiva University High School for Boys to a group of plaintiffs who say they had been sexually abused as students.(I am not one of the plaintiffs, although I left the school after one year due to what I perceived as physical abuse.)

Rabbi Chaim Gruber

King And Heschel: Moral Grandeur And Spiritual Audacity

01/13/2015 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

On June 16, 1963, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel sent a telegram to President John F. Kennedy accepting an invitation to attend a meeting of religious leaders to discuss the growing racial tensions in the country. It read in part:

The author, right, with Mickey Shur (now Rabbi Moshe Shur), center, and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

When The Terror Hits Home

Niece of kosher supermarket victim reflects on the City of Light, hit by darkness.

01/12/2015 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Last Saturday night, a day after the terror attacks in Paris, my father called to say that my uncle, Philippe Braham, was killed as he was checking out at the Hyper Cache kosher supermarket, just before Shabbos. He was murdered in a neighborhood I know well, Porte de Vincennes, a few minutes away from my high school, and a mere 10-minute ride from my childhood home. He was one of mine, a relative, but together with all the other victims of the horrific crimes last week, he was also one of ours.

Philippe, who was 45 when he was killed last Friday, was anyone who has ever run into a grocery store with plans to run back out in a few minutes, just as the cartoonists killed in the Charlie Hebdo attack were anyone who has ever exercised their right to speak their mind. We fought for these rights in Europe and in the United States, first for some, then for all, regardless of opinion, religion, race or gender.

History books say that we won the battle. Yet, while the Jewish community in France was shocked and shaken by the events on Friday, we were also aware of a lengthy history of targeted violence.

I remember when everyday life in France began to change.

Mouchka Heller and her uncle, Philippe Braham, who was killed at a kosher market on Jan. 6. Courtesy of Mouchka Heller/Getty

How Vulnerable Is Israel To War Crimes Charges?

'Proportionality' is not the issue -- but the 'Hannibal Directive' might be.

01/11/2015 - 19:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

For now at least, the Fatah party leadership of the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas has given up on direct bilateral negotiations with Israel, and is seeking other means to advance the Palestinian national cause. Apparently this involves joining the International Criminal Court and charging Israel with war crimes or other violations of international law. (The United Nations has just approved the Palestinian application for ICC membership to begin April 1.)

Ralph Seliger

Starved For Inclusion

Many Jewish programs do not accommodate teens with special dietary needs.

01/07/2015 - 19:00

When you think of celebrating Jewish culture, one of the first things that come to mind is the food we eat. However, these meals are hardly comfort food for those of us with severe allergies or medical conditions that require dietary restrictions. While holiday meals and simchas can be exciting events for any Jewish person, being restricted by what you can eat means celebrations can become a trial and participating in them often becomes a hassle.

Writer Rachel Chabin advocates for inclusion for teens with special dietary needs.

Time To Recognize The Palestinian State

Israeli recognition of a Palestinian state could be groundbreaking, a catalyst for renewing negotiations.

01/05/2015 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

The recent collapse of Israel’s government may seem like one more reason to despair of our tortured politics and divided polity, but it presents the best chance in years to secure peace and preserve our democracy. The government that was disbanded was not a government of peace, in any possible way.

Hilik Bar

2014 Was The Year Of Extremism

01/05/2015 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

In late November, three members of a Jewish group in Israel called Lehava (meaning “flame”) set fire to a mixed Jewish-Arab school in Jerusalem, burning out its first-grade classroom and forcing it to close, at least temporarily. The group’s stated aim is to end Jewish assimilation and intermarriage in Israel.

Francine Klagsbrun
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