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

Determining The Parameters Of Modern Orthodoxy

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

Steven Bayme, whose devotion to serving the Jewish community over a long career deserves the highest regard, has written an Opinion piece (“Modern Orthodoxy at the Crossroads,” The Jewish Week, March 7) that requires the attention of everyone concerned about the future of this critically important movement.

David Berger

Pro-Israel Jews Must Support Kerry

03/27/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

The fulfillment of the Zionist dream of a Jewish homeland and democratic state may rest on the actions taken by the American pro-Israel community over the coming weeks.

Asher Mayerson

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
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