This past spring, my partner and I moved to Cincinnati. Soon after we arrived, an Orthodox synagogue in town prohibited our attendance. The rabbi of the shul called apologetically to inform us that the ruling had come from a rabbi whose authority exceeded his own. I decided to call this rabbi, who is the head of a prominent yeshiva and a respected halachic authority. I wanted to meet him personally to discuss the decision with him. He agreed to speak with me on the phone.
Like many in North America I was saddened by the recent suicide of Rutgers University freshmen Tyler Clementi. I feel for his family and friends. May their memories of him be a comfort.
As I have been reflecting on the events that led to his death and discussing it with my family, friends, and colleagues, a few thoughts come to mind. I'd like to share them with you because I know you are also thinking about this tragedy.
So now CNN host Rick Sanchez has added his name to the long list of public figures, here and abroad, who accuse the Jews of control, in this case of control of the television news business. Others gear the accusation to the media in general or the entertainment world or government or the international economy.
A 2009 study by the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies predicts that during the next decade 65 percent of mid- and upper-level management of Jewish organizations will retire and their replacements will increasingly be non-Jewish. That’s quite a radical concept to those of us who believe in the “soul” of our organizations.
Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, has long been treated by much of the world as a kind of ideological disease. “Zionism is racism” is not merely a cliché in a now-defunct UN resolution, but is today a time-honored trope of the far left. If we hear less of the specific charges against Zionism it is only because the anti-Zionists have done such a thorough job in turning the word itself into a pejorative.
Eight years ago, like all Reform rabbinical students about to be ordained, Rachel Goldenberg had to make a decision. Would she officiate at interfaith weddings or not?
Along with many of her classmates at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Goldenberg opted against performing such ceremonies, reasoning that the ritual made sense only when joining two Jews.
But a few months ago, Rabbi Goldenberg, the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester, Conn., changed her mind.
While Israel’s detractors have obsessively scrutinized, mischaracterized and demonized the Israeli lobby, the equally powerful Arab lobby has been studiously ignored. In fact, some people deny it exists -- or if it does, that its power pales in contrast to the all-powerful AIPAC. As proof, they often point to the failure to create a Palestinian state. Surely, these critics maintain, if the Arab Lobby is really as powerful as people like me say it is, a Palestinian state would long ago have been established.
The Anti-Defamation League announced this summer that the painting of a swastika — a symbol of anti-Jewish expression if there ever was one — would no longer automatically be considered an act of anti-Semitism.
What? The swastika? Not anti-Semitism?! In fact, many analysts of anti-Semitism have been making this point for years.
Under relentless pressure by the Obama administration, Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed, last November, to a one-sided one-time10-month Jewish construction freeze on the six percent of the West Bank where Jews live.
Since the Oslo accords were signed in 1993, Israel hasn't built a single new settlement and has only built within the settlement borders as of 1993.
We read with great interest Rabbi Naftali Rothenberg's online Opinion piece, "Time To End The Reform-Orthodox Wars "(August 31). Rabbi Rothenberg is reacting to very real and very troubling elements of the reality of modern Jewish life that affect all of us in negative ways.
While understanding the need for bridges to cross the abyss that exist among the pluralities of serious modern Jewish expression, he worries that the depths of antipathy will make this nearly impossible.
Our collective experience would suggest otherwise.