What Draws Interfaith Families To Jewish Life

Special To The Jewish Week

Two findings on intermarriage highlight the “New York Jewish Community Study of 2011.” First, there is a huge amount of intermarriage, and it is continuing; between 2006 and 2011, half of the non-Orthodox couples formed were intermarried couples. Second, measured by the study’s index of Jewish engagement, the intermarried score low, but those that do engage act comparably to the in-married. The critical question is, what attracts interfaith families to engage Jewishly?

Edmund Case

Metzitzah Changes Require Rabbinic Leadership

Special To The Jewish Week

Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Epstein (1866-1934) was widely considered to be one of the more impressive Talmud scholars of his generation. In his “Levush Mordechai” (Ch. 30) he writes, “If anyone were to suggest doing metzitzah with the mouth, we would say the worst things about him because there is nothing more disgusting [than] placing a wounded [bleeding] organ into the mouth. Especially that organ.” His conclusion, however, is that “since it is a mitzvah, there is justification.”

Avi Billet

My New Bottom Line: From Private Equity To Jewish Engagement

Special To The Jewish Week

 There’s a lot of talk about Wall Street these days. Once upon a time I worked on Wall Street. Actually I worked in private equity, which means that I invested (other people’s money) in businesses hoping to grow them.  Together with my partners, I did really some good things back in those days: I invested in businesses that grew and added to the GNP. I invested in businesses that grew and provided more jobs for people. I invested in businesses that made money for pension fund investors so that they could pay pensions to their participants. 

Rabbi Lori Koffman

Stay At Home Jews


Elicia Brown, in her column in the Jewish Week (“Free Range Jew,” Sept. 14), recounts her adventures as she takes her family from synagogue to synagogue during the High Holy Days rather than commit to attending one synagogue and missing out on an adventure.

N.Y. Jewry’s Stunning Diversity, And Why That’s Good

Special To The Jewish Week

Much has been written about the somewhat surprising results from the “Jewish Community Study of New York: 2011.” Probably the most noted developments were the explosive growth of the haredim, the sharp surge in poverty, and the increasing number of non-denominational Jews.

Left: Steven M. Cohen, Jack Ukeles and Ron Miller.

Paradigm Shift For Jewish Involvement

Special To The Jewish Week

In the old days, that is, until about a decade ago, when people wanted to do contribute good to society they looked for a non-profit organization whose work appealed to them. They volunteered for a project or committee, and veteran volunteers mentored them about how the work was done. If they were passably good at their volunteer service, they would move up the ranks, possibly even becoming president. They might repeat this pattern over the course of a lifetime, serve several organizations and, in turn, “teach the ropes” to new volunteers.

Rabbi Hayim Herring

A Way To Solve The Agunah Problem

Special To The Jewish Week

A few months ago my friend and co-author called to say that when going through the papers of her deceased mother, she came across an envelope postmarked Oct. 20, 1936. Upon carefully opening it, she found a document written in German with the word “Halitzah” at the top. Although not knowing what the document was, she detected certain similarities to her parents’ ketubah, which she had restored in 1985 on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary. Curiously, the ketubah and the halitzah document were witnessed by the same men on the same day, Oct.

Judith Hauptman  and Phyllis H. Waldmann

A New Model For Jewish Day Schools

Special To The Jewish Week

Yeshivat He¹Atid, a new day school in Bergen County, NJ, is providing Jewish communities nationwide with a groundbreaking new model for high quality, affordable Jewish day school education. Opening with 115 students in our first year, Yeshivat He¹Atid is re-imagining the Jewish day school classroom of the 21st century.

Iran Crisis Evokes Memories Of Pre-’67 War Worries

Special To The Jewish Week

‘We don’t know where we’re headed,” an Israeli librarian said to me during a visit my husband and I made to Israel last month. She was speaking, of course, about Iran, which fills the newspapers there as it does here. We were in the country during the peak of speculation about when Israel would bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, with headlines blaring that Benjamin Netanyahu had decided to attack within the next four months, or two months, or maybe one month.

Francine Klagsbrun

Never Forgetting — Soviet Jewry Movement, That Is

Special To The Jewish Week

Imagine more than a quarter-million American Jews — Democrats and Republicans, observant and secular, and individuals representing the entire spectrum of Israeli politics — gathering at one time, in one place, with a single unified message on behalf of fellow Jews, in the name of the universal principle of freedom.

If you are older than 40, and were connected in any way to the Jewish community in 1987, chances are you don’t have to imagine.  You can remember.

Daniel Eisenstadt,left, and Michael Granoff.
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