Opinion

Launching A Baseline For Jewish Knowledge

A Jew may have a strong sense of Jewish identity, but without knowledge, that identity is a house without a foundation.

06/10/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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I believe in pluralism. But, when it comes to Jewish knowledge, I also believe in the fundamentals.

Columbia University has a core curriculum. Educated Americans recognize “Four score and seven years ago,” and understand cultural-historical references such as “the answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind.”

Abi Dauber Sterne

Revive – Don’t Resign From --The Conference Of Presidents

06/03/2014
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Emotions have run high in some quarters in recent weeks, since J Street failed to win membership in the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations. Like the Reform Movement’s other three Conference member organizations, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the rabbinic leadership organization of Reform Judaism, voted in favor of J Street’s application.

Rabbi Richard A. Block

On-Demand Judaism: Observing When It’s Convenient

06/03/2014
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Something new to worry about: It began with the conversation with one of my oldest friends, who is a trustee of the Metropolitan Opera.  She noted that ticket sales were down due to the fact that people do not like to commit to subscriptions, which requires them to be in attendance at a performance at a certain time on a certain evening.  She also noted that her cousin, who is a director of the National Theater in London, had told her that all of the performing arts are in trouble because we live today in an on-demand world.

Donald Sterling, David Ben Gurion And What They Tell Us About Anti-Semitism Today

06/03/2014
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What could Donald Sterling and Ben Gurion possibly have in common other than they are both Jewish?

Rabbi Michael Strassfeld

Everybody Thinks They're 'Chosen'

06/03/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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I grew up with an epic clash of narratives, as did so many of my Jewish-American peers. On the one hand, we were told that everyone is equal, and therefore we should judge people on their actions and individual character, not based on their ethnicity, religion, or socioeconomic status.

Yet at the same time, I was told to only marry Jewish.

Paul Golin

Can Zionism Be The Answer?

A nuanced form of the Jewish state project can galvanize the community.

06/03/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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Students of American Jewry often point to 1967 as a watershed in the evolution of the American Jewish community. The anxiety that American Jews felt in the weeks leading up to the Six-Day War was palpable. There was no evidence that Israel could defend itself against any concerted Arab military assault, no less a multi-front war.

Sid Schwarz

Israel Education: One Size Does Not Fit All

06/03/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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On Sunday, thousands of day school students in the New York area marched in the Israel Day parade. While they marched with their schools, new research highlights differences among students within schools when it comes to caring about Israel. The findings offer a call to action for day school leaders and supporters.

Yossi Prager

Not Big Enough For 'Big Data'

The Jewish community should be more numbers-driven, but is to small to use Big Data techniques.

05/28/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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On May 1, after a 90-day review ordered by President Obama, the White House released a 79-page report on "Big Data", a catchphrase that has become exceedingly popular over the last several years to refer to the copious amounts of information about us and our habits that are being collected, stored and analyzed with new digital technologies. It's why Amazon tried to sell me a 5-pound box of matzah when I purchased a new seder plate a couple months ago. The theory is that if we collect enough information, and have the will and the expertise to properly analyze it, then we'll be able to create all sorts of new efficiencies, improve our behaviors and make better decisions for ourselves and our organizations.

Russel Neiss

The Book Of Ruth: A Celebration Of Female Friendship

05/28/2014
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It’s hard to find a conversation in the Bible between two women. Sarah and Rebecca never speak to another woman in Genesis. Rachel and Leah speak with one another just once. Deena, Jacob’s daughter, never speaks at all. In the Book of Esther, Esther speaks often, and with power, but never to another woman. Against this background, the Book of Ruth stands out as a celebration of female friendship.

A Five-Point Plan

How we're navigating the conflict over our partnership minyan.

05/28/2014
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I live in a town with one Orthodox synagogue. That is not simple if you prefer progressive Orthodoxy. It's sometimes not even simple if you like old-fashioned Modern Orthodoxy. But the community is diverse, our friends are here and we have carved out a liberal outpost for ourselves in "Kol Echad", a partnership minyan. A partnership minyan is a mechitza minyan, with a divider between men's and women's sections; where women read from the Torah; receive aliyot and lead prayers on for selected parts of the service.

Audrey Trachtman
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