A Look Inside Hillel’s Boundaries

01/13/2014 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Several incidents, seemingly centered on Israel, sparked nationwide reactions from academic institutions and Hillels in recent days. I would argue, though, that they have much less to do with Israel than we might think.

Tilly R. Shames

To Hope: Hospice Care In Line With Jewish Tradition

01/13/2014 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

“Illness is the night side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick.”

— Susan Sontag, from “Illness as Metaphor”

Those who enter the kingdom of the sick often feel isolated, uncertain and fearful. Yet help is available to those who ask and who are open to a deep conversation about hope. As a rabbi involved in palliative care and hospice, let me tell you how my end of the conversation goes. 

Rabbi Charles Rudansky

MLK, Mandela And The Jews

01/13/2014 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

The upcoming observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Jan. 20, juxtaposed against the recent passing of Nelson Mandela, should cause us to reflect with pride on the inspiring role that Jews played in both the civil rights movement in the United States and the struggle for the overthrow of apartheid in South Africa.

Rabbi Marc Schneier

A Year Of Advances For Orthodox Feminists

01/13/2014 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

This past year was a good one for Orthodox Jewish feminists, and the years ahead hold great promise. Last June, Yeshivat Maharat, which ordains women as spiritual leaders and religious authorities, graduated its first three “maharats,” as they are called. (“Maharat” is a Hebrew acronym for “manhiga hilchatit ruchanit toranit,” a female legal, spiritual and Torah leader.) More than 500 people, from all branches of Judaism, turned out for the ceremony in New York. In December, JOFA (Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance) held its eighth international conference, attended by more than 1,000 people in an atmosphere of exuberance and optimism.

Francine Klagsbrun

When Conversations About Israel Turn Sour

01/09/2014 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

In German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer’s fable of the porcupines, a group of animals were huddling together to shelter from the cold. Finding that they were pricking each other with their sharp quills, they moved apart, only to feel the cold again. And so on, back and forth, until they found it best to be a little distance from each other – not too close, and not too far away. Yet, notes Schopenhauer, a prickly character himself, “by this arrangement the mutual need for warmth is only very moderately satisfied.” That distance, transposed to human interactions, “is the code of politeness and fine manners, and those who transgress it are roughly told—in the English phrase—to keep their distance.” In order to avoid each other’s barbs, in other words, we compromise on the intimacy we crave.

Welcome To Our World: The Rabbinate Rejects Orthodox Jews, Too

01/08/2014 - 19:00

It was inevitable. Once they came after Reform, Conservative and other progressive Jews, it was only a matter of time until the Chief Rabbinate turned on other Orthodox Jews.

Rabbi Steven A. Fox

Israeli Chief Rabbis Do Not Serve The People

01/07/2014 - 19:00

Rabbi Avi Weiss is an unabashed iconoclast. Understandably, this makes some people uneasy, and others downright fearful. However, given the current state of the institutions that govern Jewish religious life, I would like to suggest that a little iconoclasm might not be such a bad thing.

Daniel Raphael Silverstein

Edgar M. Bronfman: A Modern Talmudic Jew

01/06/2014 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

A legend in many realms, Edgar M. Bronfman lived a rich and varied life, embodying many facets in his work and personality.

Yet while Jews the world over marked the loss of a leader to whom they owe much, for our community, the Bronfman Youth Fellowships, it is a personal loss. We “Bronfmanim”— as we call ourselves — have lost our founder and our inspiration, but truly, we have lost the person who invited us to live talmudically in the modern world.

The late Edgar Bronfman valued Jewish learning and ethical traditions above strict religiosity. Getty Images

It’s Jewish Education, Stupid

01/06/2014 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

The recent controversies over the American Studies Association’s decision to boycott Israeli universities, and Swarthmore Hillel’s rejection of Hillel International’s Israel guidelines, are but two recent examples of how small groups can steal the limelight and divert attention from the most important Jewish issue on our campus and communal agenda: Jewish identity-building.

Jeff Rubin

Why Recognition Of Jewish State Is Fundamental To Peace

01/06/2014 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has apparently bought into Jerusalem’s demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state — not as a precondition to peace negotiations, which are well under way again, but as a necessary outcome of them. A senior Palestinian official reportedly dismissed this position cavalierly, comparing it to recognition of America as a state of white Christians. Usually, one hears a more sophisticated and nuanced response from Palestinian leaders, namely, that it is not up to them, but rather up to the Israeli people to define the nature of their state.

Martin Raffel
Syndicate content