Finding Jewish Warmth In The Cold of Siberia

03/17/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week


The mere mention of the place conjures images of frozen tundra, extreme hardship, and of course, the unimaginable horrors of the gulag. But for me, my husband Phil, and the seven other intrepid travelers who journeyed with us on our annual 10-day trip “out there,” Siberia is a surprising Jewish oasis, even in minus 30-degree temperatures.

Refuge From Spouse Abuse For Religious Israeli Women

03/16/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

This winter, we had the opportunity to visit Bat Melech, Israel’s only shelter for religious victims of domestic violence, at its Beit Shemesh facility. We spent spend time with the residents and their many children.  It was heart-wrenching to hear from these women about what they endured, but it was simultaneously heartening to see how they were building a new life for themselves. 

The American Diplomat Menachem Begin Trusted

Remembering Samuel Lewis and the day he gave the Israeli prime minister a message he loathed conveying.

03/13/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week
Samuel Lewis, who died this week at the age of 83, was a Yale man, a career diplomat with a wealth of experience, a person of compassion with an open mind, an appealing demeanor, and a good friend with a great sense of humor. He was also very smart. 

Reaching Young Jews Through Music

03/12/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

The Jewish world is abuzz with the findings from the recent Pew study: A Portrait of Jewish Americans.  The study suggests that Jewish identity in America is changing dramatically.  More than 60 percent of Jews who have gotten married in our new millennium have selected non-Jewish partners. And today, 62 percent of Jews say that being Jewish is mainly a matter of ancestry and culture, while only 15 percent consider it to be a matter of religion.

Talia Lefkowitz

In The Legacy Of The Rav, Allowing Rabbis To Decide

03/10/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

“What do you think?”

These are the words I often heard from my revered teacher, Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik (known to his students as “the Rav”), when, as a younger rabbi, I came before him to ask questions pertaining to Jewish law.  Rather than directly respond, he would ask, “what’s your opinion.”  Often, he would challenge me to support my own conclusions.  After listening closely, he would at times say that though he was more comfortable with another opinion, my position had standing.  And since I was the spiritual leader of my community and understood it best, it was my responsibility to follow the conclusions I had reached.

After The Party, Racial Profiling

On Purim, it happened to me, writes the author. It happens to us.

03/11/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Editor's Note: We are reposting this column in response to renewed reader interest in it after the shooting by police of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old, in Ferguson, MO.

Just like now, it was Purim. 2008. A young Jewish man was coming home from a Purim party in New Jersey. As designated driver, he hadn’t been drinking.

Jared Jackson

The Quiet Rescuer, Saving Family From Hitler

03/10/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

I have a memory from childhood of two women who lived close by me, but whom I never got to know. They were sisters who came from Berlin to stay in the home of my best friend, Naomi. Refugees — a word we were just beginning to hear often — from Hitler’s Germany, they had been brought over from Europe to our Borough Park enclave by Naomi’s mother, their second cousin. I don’t remember their names or the year they came, but I remember how they looked: straight-backed, rarely smiling, wearing thick heeled shoes and carrying black pocketbooks that hung rigidly from their hands. But what I remember most is Naomi’s anger that she had to share her bedroom with these two unfamiliar relatives, who seemed to her ungrateful for the help her parents had given them.

Francine Klagsbrun

My Struggle With Bipolar Disorder

A prominent rabbi apologizes and reflects on his diagnosis and arrest by police during a manic episode.

03/10/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Eight months have passed since the beginning of my experience with the criminal justice system. (I was arrested in June and accused of impersonating a police officer and was ultimately charged with non-criminal violations.) My involvement in that system is now well settled and gratefully behind me. These eight months have also given me the respite to reflect deeply on what took place, the challenge of being bipolar, and how to use this difficult and painful experience, and my diagnosis, to derive something positive.

Alfredo Borodowski

Drinking On Purim Is No Laughing Matter

03/10/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

This year’s trending Purim parody topic is the recent legalization of marijuana in Colorado. President Obama’s recent public admission about getting high will no doubt fan these flames. And when there’s fire, there’s smoke. There will be, no doubt, lots of non-medicinal smoking going on, in and out of Colorado, this Purim.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Students Say It's Dangerous To Ignore The Green Line

03/09/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Students here and across the Jewish world are fighting for an honest conversation about the Green Line, the armistice line that serves as the basis for any talks between the Israelis and Palestinians. If we bury our heads in the sand, we become all the more vulnerable to Israel’s real enemies.

Jacob Plitman
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