I recently learned the term "bageling,” in which you make known your status as a member of the Tribe to a fellow member, without ever saying so directly. As in approaching someone with a yarmulke and saying, “Gee, it’s as hot as Tisha B’Av today, don’t you think?”
Or, for example, a client with a WASP-sounding name managed to tell me about his son's bar mitzvah, coming up in five years. These people, and there are tens of thousands of them, want to be identified as Jews. But where does that go and how far?
Rabbi Avi Weiss’ recent introduction of women-led Kabbalat Shabbat services in his synagogue has produced yet another kerfuffle among his rabbinical colleagues, albeit one significantly subdued when compared with the recent “Rabba” controversy. And Rabbi Michael Broyde, a noted rabbinic scholar, has once again responded with an article that purports to outline the “normative” Orthodox position on Rabbi Weiss’ latest innovation. Not surprisingly, that position is different than Rabbi Weiss’.
Over the last number of weeks, people with good intentions, and some with not such good intentions, have written and dealt extensively with the proposed Conversion Bill in Israel. I read what they are writing and wonder: do they really understand the Bill?
Following is an explanation, framed in a Question and Answer format.
I cannot say that I have ever rejected God. There were some years in which I was not interested, and that, perhaps, is the greatest rejection of all (much more than hostility or lack of faith). But then the world seemed too small, too confined, far too senseless without Him: To me, He is the all-embracing, all-encompassing being, the great Mystery, the transcending reality that is above, beyond and behind all that exists.
The Israeli-Palestinian peace talks launched this week in Washington and orchestrated by President Obama are good for Israel and good for the United States. At the White House on Wednesday, President Obama, Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian President Abbas expressed their determination to make peace. Netanyahu turned toward Abbas and called him his “partner in peace.”
Last week, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) came under a vicious attack in this newspaper (“Clean Up the Claims Conference”). Isi Leibler continues to engage in irresponsible invective and false charges against an organization that for nearly 60 years has been the leading international advocate for the rights of Holocaust victims and the primary source in caring for their needs.