Why We Need To Redefine ‘Orthodoxy’

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

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

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


 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.

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

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

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

After Paris, Shifting the Focus

Head of School, Seattle Hebrew Academy

Talking to our children about horrors of our history – persecutions, pogroms and, of course, the Holocaust – has generally been a conversation about the past. Until now.

Rivy Poupko Kletenik

Intermarriage, Sledding And That Big, Scary Tree

If we create the right kind of community, intermarriage is not synonymous with assimilation.


Last week, during New York’s non-historic blizzard, I took a stroll through snowy Brooklyn and reminisced about the winters of my childhood, when my family would sled down the hills of our uncle’s yard. I recall once when my mom pointed out to me a solitary tree on the hill, warning me to steer clear of it for my own safety; inevitably I slammed into it or narrowly missed every time. Was I such a terribly uncoordinated navigator? Maybe. But it was just as likely that when the tree was identified to me as dangerous, I stopped thinking about the rest of the slope and became fixated on it. And with my eyes fearfully glued to the tree, where else would the sled take me?

Fear not the tree. Fotolia

Lessons From The Jewish GDP

Special To The Jewish Week

Mark Pearlman, professor Edieal Pinker and The Jewish Week deserve credit for pursuing the data that tells the financial story of the Jewish nonprofit world (“Nonprofits Still Seen Struggling Long After Recession,” Jan. 2).

Jeffrey R. Solomon

Was Pope Francis Speaking To The Jews?

Special To The Jewish Week

If you are looking for prophetic words that rail against injustice and hypocrisy, you are probably not going to find them emanating from the lips of those who hold positions of power. Abraham Joshua Heschel, the great Jewish moral spokesman of the 20th century, constantly goaded the Jewish community into thinking deeply about why synagogues and Jewish institutions should even exist: “The problem is not how to fill the buildings but how to inspire the hearts.” He was greatly concerned about the bureaucracy of Jewish life, and he believed that the Jewish community was not asking the tough questions that demanded response.

Lee Bycel
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