Opinion

At Eshel, We Are Hopeful

04/09/2014 - 20:00

Our friend Justin Spiro has hit upon the challenge in his piece, "LGBTQ Youth Have No Derech To Stray From." We cannot complain that young people are leaving a community if it leaves them first. 

East Ramapo's Children Are Suffering

04/08/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

The Talmud teaches that: “The world endures only for the sake of the breath of school children.” It is in that spirit that the Jewish people have valued education so highly for thousands of years. That statement also reflects a profound truth: Education is the key to a healthy, productive society, and to individual physical, emotional and spiritual flourishing. Unfortunately, that precious breath is being cut short for thousands of schoolchildren in Rockland County.

Rabbi Ari Hart

LGBTQ Youth Have No Derech To Stray From

People leave the community because of how they are treated, not because of Jewish law.

04/08/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

This weekend I had the amazing opportunity to represent JQY (Jewish Queer Youth) at the Keshet and Hazon Shabbaton for LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) teenagers. JQY is a non-profit organization supporting LGBTQ youth and their families in the Orthodox community.  

The participants at the Shabbaton represented a wide variety of religious, gender, and sexual identities. What struck me most was the life-saving role Judaism played in the lives of these teens. Many found refuge in religion when homophobic friends, family, and society rejected them. They spoke about Reform and Conservative congregations and youth groups embracing them and mitigating the harsh reality of life beyond the synagogue walls.

Justin Spiro

Marching Together For Israel

04/07/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

The American Jewish community overwhelmingly supports Israel and strongly opposes efforts to demonize and delegitimize the nation-state of the Jewish people by singling it out for boycotts, divestment or sanctions (BDS). Although there are divisions within the Jewish community about Israeli policies — particularly with regard to the peace process and settlements — once a year we try to put aside these differences by marching together in the Celebrate Israel parade, marking its 50th anniversary this June and expected to attract over 40,000 marchers, representing over 200 schools, synagogues and organizations.

Alan M. Dershowitz

The Fifth Son At The Seder

04/07/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Every year when my family gets to the part of the Passover seder describing The Four Sons, we discuss the righteous child, the wicked child, the simple child, and the child that doesn’t even know enough to ask. Every year my father shares the same sentiment: “Who is missing?” As if on cue, he then answers his own question, and says, “The fifth son is missing; he is the one that doesn’t even come to the table.” 

Tamar Frydman

How Israelis, American Jews Differ, Even On Passover

04/07/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

My family and I always laugh at that part in the Passover Haggadah where people sing about tyrants rising up in every generation to destroy us,” my Israeli friend — a historian — said when I called to wish him a happy Pesach.

Francine Klagsbrun

In Memory Of Phil Baum, The Heart Of The AJCongress

04/03/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Today the American Jewish Congress is a sorry image of what it was many years ago. As Gary Rosenblatt has written here, it is “a shell of its former self.” As a former national executive director of the Congress, I say this with the heaviest of hearts. In its earliest days it was a major player in the Jewish world. It was one of the first Zionist organizations that fought for the existence of Israel even as other Jewish organizations were silent or opposed it. It was the first organization to hold a major rally at Madison Square Garden bringing to the attention of the public the horror of Adolf Hitler.

Respecting Freedom Of The Pulpit

04/03/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

My colleague Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove's wonderful essay in The Jewish Week ("All A Rabbi Can Command These Days Is Respect," March 28) got me thinking even more deeply about the question of freedom of the pulpit and the responsibilities that come with it:  What is the rabbi’s role in addressing controversial issues, be they matters of public policy generally, or Israel specifically?

Kosher Bacon? Passover Bagel?

Novelty foodstuffs can raise deep questions about meaning -- or the lack of it.

03/31/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

There is a unifying credo every American can agree upon, regardless of generational, racial or red-state/blue-state divide: Everything is better with bacon.

"OU:" Just the letters of the law? JTA

Passover And Jewish Personhood

03/31/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Who are Jewish Americans and what do we really believe? The approach of Pesach offers an especially good opportunity to raise that question. The seder, after all, is the single most widely observed ritual among Jewish Americans. Why might that be?

Brad Hirschfield
Syndicate content