Environmental Learning: Why A Liberal Rabbi Is Hopeful

03/19/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week


This is the word I would use to describe my primary Jewish community. Many might wonder how a liberal Conservative Rabbi could use such a positive word given the recent Pew study that many say predict the demise of liberal forms of Judaism (especially the Conservative Movement).

Eliav Bock

Toward A Gentler Orthodoxy

Godly people strive to understand each other; good people can differ out of pure motives.

03/18/2014 - 20:00

Throughout the Middle Ages, Jews and Christians were consumed by hateful polemics about each other. They fought theological duels that sometimes led to deadly Christian violence against our ancestors. Christians no longer pose any existential threat to Jews, yet the penchant for hateful language has continued, particularly in my Orthodox community. Much of this venom is directed against ourselves in fraternal battles that are turning as lethal as the medieval Jewish-Christian warfare. Today the traditional fear and vilification of gentiles has been transferred to other Orthodox Jews with whom we disagree.

The recent decision by a school to allow girls to wear teffillin has created controversy, sometimes mean-spirited. Fotolia

Water As A Challenge, And Answer, In Mideast Peace Talks

03/18/2014 - 20:00

Water is the common denominator of the human experience. Our home is called the Blue Planet because of the spacious amounts of water covering the earth. Adding to our shared experience, water makes up about 60 percent of our body mass, and water plays a significant role in the world’s religions. The three Abrahamic religions, born out of the waterless deserts of the Middle East, all use water in significant ways.   Yet, freshwater, literally our source of life, makes up only 2.5 percent of all of the earth’s water, and so we are not surprised when we look at the Arab-Israeli conflict, and discover that water factors as a source of confrontation.

Continuity: Why Dual Faith Families Matter

03/17/2014 - 20:00

While the debate rages around intermarriage and Jewish continuity, it’s important to remember that: dual faith families make up some 25 percent of all the intermarried, according to Pew; they are interested in religion; without attention, they are likely to drift entirely away from any religion; and with attention, they offer real promise to sustain connections to Judaism and open avenues to greater engagement.

ADL's Foxman To Abbas: Recognize Israel, Change The World

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

Sometimes a simple sentence by a nation’s leader can do more to build trust than volumes of words and speeches.

Never would this be more true than in the cases of two of the most volatile issues in the Middle East — the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Iran nuclear challenge.

Abraham H. Foxman

What Might An Israeli Pew Study Have Concluded?

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

In his article in the current issue of Commentary Magazine, Daniel Gordis of the Shalem College in Jerusalem continues a theme he developed in the winter issue of the Jewish Review of Books in which he seeks to unravel what went wrong with the Conservative Movement, which has seen its place on the American scene reach its current nadir. Coming from a position where almost 50 percent of American Jews were affiliated with the Conservative movement in the 1950s, based on the data provided by last year’s Pew Study, it has now plummeted to 18 percent, and dropping fast.

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
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