One of the biggest challenges facing Orthodox Jewish communities is rarely spoken about publicly. By admitting women into the cadre of the religious hierarchy, those who traditionally hold this place must make room to allow new members to be part of their ranks. It comes as no surprise that those in power are reluctant to relinquish it and evoke women’s modesty, biology or formal position naming issues to hinder the negotiation between present demands and past traditions.
Since returning from the 36th Zionist Congress in Jerusalem a week ago, I have struggled with a palpable sense of unease about the state of Zionism and the Jewish future. My first impulse was to rather brutally lay that unease at the feet of the World Zionist Organization, which convened the Congress.
In retrospect, I think that impulse was wrong, and unfair.
All I hear about these days is the “New Anti-Semitism.” The Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman had a book some years ago — a rather gevaltist book — with the Kahanist title “Never Again? The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism.” Phyllis Chesler had a book on the “New Anti-Semitism.” Even Alexander Cockburn, of all people, weighed in.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Lynn Schusterman, a passionate and impactful philanthropic leader in the American Jewish community, has called upon Jewish organizations to adopt policies that will foster greater inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Jews in the community.
In recent weeks, the Jewish blogosphere has been in a state of collective shpilkas. Even before the flotilla incident, Jews in America and Israel were hotly debating two essays, Danny Gordis’ “The Storm Ahead” in the Jerusalem Post and Peter Beinart’s “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment,” in The New York Review of Books.
As someone who has worked with numerous survivors of sexual abuse in the Orthodox community over the past 10 years, I have been privileged to bear witness to the stories of people who, after having their voices taken away from them, become able to speak for the first time, in the course of their healing, about the horrors they have endured.
Fifty years have passed since the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the birth control pill for sale with a doctor’s prescription. Now ninety-eight percent of all women will use contraception during their lifetimes, and one-third of those will use birth control pills.
I generally feel guilty about stuff. Sometimes I blame that on my being Jewish — other times I accept that it’s just me. Maybe that’s why the latest round of somewhat justified Israel bashing, as well as the utterly unjustified Jew-bashing that’s going along with it, has been keeping me up at night. Try as I might, I don’t seem able to extricate myself from Israel anymore.
Google the words interfaith, wedding and rabbi together and you get a whopping 1.1 million hits.
Perched atop this list (most are about the issues, rather than sites actually offering rabbis who do interfaith weddings) you will find Rabbi David S. Gruber, an Orthodox-ordained rabbi who has performed 60 weddings since he started doing interfaith ceremonies two years ago.