Why A Gendered Judaism Makes Sense

Orthodox Judaism believes in the importance of engaging reality, not a world we wish existed.

03/24/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

As rabbis of Modern Orthodox synagogues, we consistently advocate for greater women’s involvement in Jewish life.  As a result, we are often invited to speak at local non-denominational Jewish schools about halacha (Jewish law) and the role of women. Often in these pluralistic environments, students discover what differentiates the various denominations and learn about the presence of a mechitza (a separation between men and women) in Orthodox synagogues. We arrive at these forums and hear questions like: Why is Orthodoxy anti-women? Why is your synagogue so backwards that it still treats men and women differently? Aren’t we well past the point where egalitarianism is the societal norm?

Women and men are different, and Judaism reflects those differences. Fotolia

Hillel Is Not The Place For Anti-Israel Discussion

03/25/2014 - 20:00

Rabbi Sidney Schwarz, a senior fellow of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership (CLAL), and author of Jewish Megatrends: Charting the Course of the American Jewish Future (2013), is someone I deeply respect. However, his latest Opinion essay (“Limiting Debate on Israel Will Only Hurt Us,” The Jewish Week, Feb. 4) is a perspective that, if acted upon, has the potential to actually hurt our community.

Fresh Ink Essay Contest Winner: Juliet Freudman

03/25/2014 - 20:00

You Tell Us We’re The Future, But We’re Also The Present

We are the good, the bad and everything in between. We are our mistakes, our failures and our sins. We are Saturday nights taking selfies with red cups, Monday mornings asleep during first period and Thursday evenings procrastinating on Buzzfeed. We are our addictions to the Internet and our obsessions with Instagram. We spend too much money on Starbucks and too much time on Snapchat. We gossip and we lie. And we would join a revolution for the sweet taste of rebellion. No shame. No regrets. YOLO. We’re teenagers and we’re pretty selfish sometimes.

 Juliet Freudman

Fresh Ink Essay Contest Winner: Michal Leibowitz

03/25/2014 - 20:00

We’re Not Broken,
We’re Something New

Editor’s Note: This article is the grand prizewinner of the most recent Fresh Ink For Teens writing contest. More than 70 contestants from around the country and Israel answered the following question: “What Do You Want Jewish Community Leaders To Know About Teens Today?” Juliet Freudman’s accompanying article was the runner-up. The winner and runner-up received $200 and $180 Amazon gift cards. Fresh Ink For Teens is a Jewish Week-sponsored webzine by and for Jewish teens.

Michal Leibowitz

Gap-Years In Israel As Rx For Jewish Alienation

03/24/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

I recently led a periodic outside review of the Young Judaea Year Course, the flagship gap-year non-yeshiva program for American teenagers. I discovered a striking but not surprising anomaly. Although most participants describe this year between high school and college as a “miracle,” “magical,” the best year of my life,” few American Jews bother attending. Only 400 to 600 non-Orthodox American Jews per year choose to spend a year living in Israel after high school. With all the anxiety about Israel’s standing on college campuses and the next generation’s Jewish identity, parents are overlooking an obvious solution to the twin problems.

Gil Troy

All A Rabbi Can Command These Days Is Respect

03/24/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel once wrote, “Faith is a blush in the presence of God.” Put another way, the purpose of a synagogue, or any house of worship for that matter, is to alert congregants of the gap between who we are and who we should be — an awareness that often induces us to blush. The paradox embedded in all synagogues is that at one and the same time they seek to embrace Jews “where they are,” yet also direct them towards “where they ought to be.”   

Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove

The Case For Equality For Israel’s Arab Citizens

03/24/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Being a Palestinian Arab citizen in the nation-state of the Jewish people is challenging. Both a sense of justice and of self-interest should lead Israel not to make it any harder for the people who represent some 20 percent of the country’s population.

Martin Raffel

Israel Is The `Jewish State’: Why It Matters

03/24/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

The importance of the issue of recognition of Israel as a Jewish State by the PLO lies primarily in the refusal of the Palestinian leadership to agree to that recognition. 

Parents: Read 'The Purim Superhero' To Your Children

The decision to embrace, through kids' books, the richness and diversity of Jewish life is a gift.

03/23/2014 - 20:00

Nate couldn’t decide what he wanted to be for Purim – follow his heart and dress as an alien or succumb to peer pressure and wear a superhero costume? It was a tough decision for a little boy, but he got some help from his two dads.

JFNA encourages parents to read a diversity of books about our diverse community to their children. Via keshetline.org

My Teacher And Mentor: A Tribute To Rabbi Avi Weiss

03/23/2014 - 20:00

The Yeshivat Chovevei Torah dinner March 23 in New York marked the first time Rav Avi Weiss has ever allowed himself to be publically honored.

I was one of the rabbis lucky enough to learn the rabbinate from him, having served as Rav Avi’s assistant rabbi for six years. Even today, 18 years after I left his professional side, there is not a single day that unaffected by what he taught me. So I’ll try to sneak this in now, alongside the many tributes to him.

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