Opinion

What We Talk About When We Talk About the Menu

05/12/2016 - 09:44
Special To The Jewish Week

Erica Brown’s column, “Exclusion On The Menu” deeply resonated with me – well, at least the shared experience did. I, too, have felt very weird and different for keeping a strict form of kosher in many different settings, including Jewish ones.

Rabbi Aaron Potek. Via jewishedproject.org

A `Most Fantastic Transition’ Still Incomplete

05/11/2016 - 15:54

“The history of every people fixes its eye upon a particular moment in which its qualities and attributes shine forth with special radiance,” wrote Abba Eban in 1952.  For us, “the time was the sequel to the Second World War, which left the Jewish people battered and bleeding.... Here was a people which had seen six million of its kinsmen butchered and slaughtered in Europe.  The institutions of Jewish life and culture lay about them in ruin.... Any observer would have been forgiven for thinking that this must be the end of the tormented journey of the Jewish people across the face of history.  How could any people under the impact of such a blow...summon out the energy with which to survive, still less the special resilience required to exhort its life to new levels of achievement and of sacrifice.... Yet within three years of that lowest point in Jewish fortunes, the whole Jewish commonwealth had been re-established after 2,000 years, its flag fluttered in the great circle of banners which symbolized the freedom and equality of all peoples on earth.... Jewish history in our lifetime will forever be dominated by this most fantastic transition from the depths of paralyzing despair to unexpected pinnacles of sovereignty, pride, and achievement.”

Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson

Passover To Independence Day

From Miracles To Responsibility

05/10/2016 - 16:19
Special To The Jewish Week

The transition between Passover and Israel’s Independence Day (May 12 this year) is a symbolic transition from a holiday that centers on Godly miracles to a holiday that centers on human actions. There, in Egypt, we are told in effect, “God will fight for you while you keep silent.” Here, in the State of Israel, we are not to be silenced: We are active participants, taking our destiny into our own hands. 

Yedidia Stern

Book Of Ruth, A Counterpoint To Male Chauvinism

05/10/2016 - 10:19
Special To The Jewish Week

Sorry, Donald Trump, I’m going to play the woman card in this month’s column. As the Jewish community looks ahead to its next big religious holiday, Shavuot, coming in June, the story of two women stands out as one of the most endearing features of the celebration.

Francine Klagsbrun

Will The Supreme Court Let Faith Make Children Unsafe?

05/06/2016 - 10:47

Should all children's playgrounds be made as safe as possible, or should some be denied safety improvements because of bigotry?  This question is at the core of a case before the U.S. Supreme Court this year.  We at the Orthodox Union argued to the justices that they must strike down an antiquated anti-religious amendment to state constitutions for the safety and well-being of America's religious citizens.

Nathan J. Diament

Yom HaShoah, Anne Frank And Refugee Security Checks

05/03/2016 - 16:19

Today, there are more displaced persons worldwide than we have seen since World War II, and more fear of “the other” than I have ever seen in this country in my lifetime. We must take action to welcome refugees.

Syrian Kurdish people arrive at the Turkish border, fleeing an attack from ISIS, in September, 2014. Getty Images

Yom HaShoah: Confronting The Past Can Transform The Future

05/03/2016 - 12:19
Special To The Jewish Week

After I began working with Holocaust survivors at a specialized clinic at Mount Sinai in 1993, I wondered if it would be meaningful for our program to formally commemorate Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day, May 5 this year). When I brought up this idea, a patient remarked: “If you really want to do something special for us, arrange a day where we could forget about the Holocaust.”

Rachel Yehuda

Like Talking To (Or About) A Wall

05/03/2016 - 11:50
Special To The Jewish Week

‘Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” Robert Frost once wrote. Of this I am sure these days. For months the idea of walls and the radical act of separation they represent has loomed large in our psyche, as Americans and as Jews. From hypothetical walls against Mexicans (to be paid for by Mexico), to actual new barriers on the streets of Jerusalem, to the Kotel — that greatest of all remaining Jewish walls — this apt symbol for our times seems to recur constantly. Even though we live in an era once imagined as wall-free after the falling of the famous example in Berlin, walls appear to be closing in all around us.

Rabbi Aaron Panken

Like Talking To (Or About) A Wall

04/28/2016 - 11:00
Special To The Jewish Week

“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” Robert Frost once wrote. Of this I am sure these days. For months the idea of walls and the radical act of separation they represent has loomed large in our psyche, as Americans and as Jews. From hypothetical walls against Mexicans (to be paid for by Mexico), to actual new barriers on the streets of Jerusalem, to the Kotel — that greatest of all remaining Jewish walls — this apt symbol for our times seems to recur constantly. Even though we live in an era once imagined as wall-free after the falling of the famous example in Berlin, walls appear to be closing in all around us.

Rabbi Aaron Panken

Israel’s Assault On Democracy: Time To Speak Out

04/26/2016 - 16:35
Special To The Jewish Week

For decades, most American Jews who cared about Israel’s welfare and security adhered to the maxim that we don’t voice criticism of Israel in public. Those of us who’ve held leadership positions in the American Jewish community and have sought to build and sustain support for Israel among our government and general population felt even more strongly about this. It’s perfectly fine for Israelis to criticize their government’s policies, we believed, even vigorously, but we in America must not do that from our shores.

Seymour D. Reich
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