Opinion

Why I Don’t Call Out Israel On The Occupation

07/12/2016 - 11:37
Special To The Jewish Week

At the J Street U conference in April, student activists insisted that the Jewish establishment publicly denounce the Israeli occupation. While students at J Street U were measured in their demands, not so students from J Street U’s more uncompromising offshoot, If Not Now, which protests Jewish organizations for not publicly opposing the occupation, but refuses to sit down with their leaders to discuss demands. These students insist, like hubristic voices on the extreme right, that others accept their viewpoints, and refuse to engage in dialogue.

David Bernstein

Second Generation: Returning Home To Bar-Ilan

07/07/2016 - 18:07
Special To The Jewish Week

In 1958, as a young, recently ordained rabbi, I watched with a combination of astonishment and admiration as my father, Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein, assumed the presidency of a fledgling Bar-Ilan University after the untimely passing of his close friend, Dr. Pinchas Churgin, the university’s founder and first president.  Dr. Churgin had died two-and-a-half years after Bar-Ilan opened its doors. There were 70 students at the time in what was Israel’s first and only university under religious auspices. 

Rabbi Haskel Lookstein

Why I Don’t Call Out Israel On The Occupation

07/06/2016 - 10:16
Special To The Jewish Week

At the J Street U conference in April, student activists insisted that the Jewish establishment publicly denounce the Israeli occupation. While students at J Street U were measured in their demands, not so students from J Street U’s more uncompromising offshoot, If Not Now, which protests Jewish organizations for not publicly opposing the occupation, but refuses to sit down with their leaders to discuss demands. These students insist, like hubristic voices on the extreme right, that others accept their viewpoints, and refuse to engage in dialogue.

David Bernstein

Trump’s Appeal To Pro-Israel Voter Goes Beyond Emotions

07/05/2016 - 16:35
Special To The Jewish Week

With Hillary Clinton aiding him as the self-proclaimed “designated yeller” at Israel’s leaders, President Obama has spent the last seven and a half years placing enormous pressure on Israel to make unilateral concessions to a Palestinian leadership that foments terrorism and glorifies the murder of Jews. This administration coddles America’s adversaries while antagonizing our allies. ISIS is terrorizing the world and establishing bases on Israel’s doorstep, throughout Europe and elsewhere around the world. It is no wonder that pro-Israel Americans — Jews and non-Jews — are yearning for a strong, principled leader. Yet Jewish Week editor Gary Rosenblatt seems perplexed as to why many American supporters of Israel prefer Donald Trump (“Israel-Firsters Seen Edging Toward Trump,” July 1).

Jason Greenblatt

Israel Is World’s Most Frequent Terrorist Target

07/05/2016 - 13:04
Special To The Jewish Week

Summer has barely gotten underway, and its bright sunshine has already been darkened by a series of horrific terror attacks. In early June Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded six others in a shooting at Tel Aviv’s popular Sarona market. Later in the month, a massacre by a single shooter in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla. left 49 dead and 53 injured, the worst mass shooting in this nation’s history. And in the last days of June, three suicide bombers infiltrated Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport, killing at least 42 and wounding dozens more.

Francine Klagsbrun

Elie Wiesel Symbolized Memory

07/05/2016 - 10:28
Special To The Jewish Week

Memory was the most vital element of Elie Wiesel’s life.  That’s why such institutions as Washington’s Holocaust Memorial Museum, New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, and Israel’s Yad Vashem were so dear to him. Especially Yad Vashem.

Elie Wiesel and wife Marion in 2014. Tim Boxer/JW

Profaning History At Touro Synagogue

06/30/2016 - 14:57
Special To The Jewish Week

For over 250 years, Shearith Israel, America’s first Jewish congregation, has actively ensured that Newport’s Touro Synagogue — including the precious Myer Myers Torah finials (rimonim) used there — remains vital, vibrant and intact.  Congregation Jeshuat Israel (CJI), the current, temporal caretaker of the legacy of American Jewry in Newport, can’t justify its attempt to sever the sacred rimonim from their historical, ritual context in Touro Synagogue by selling them.

Lou Solomon.

The Case For Local Control At Historic Touro

Headnote: 

With Shearith Israel appeal underway, the legal battle continues.

06/29/2016 - 12:09
Special To The Jewish Week

Sitting in Newport’s Touro Synagogue has a distinctly otherworldly feeling. The nation’s oldest synagogue building, erected in 1763, is full of treasures that predate the Revolutionary War. The 12-branch candelabra and brass ner tamid are two prominent parts of that heritage, and tall candles burn on Shabbat and holidays. On Yom Kippur, the sanctuary is dark except for candles.

Touro Synagogue, Wikimedia commons

A Jewish Solution On Transgender Bathrooms

06/28/2016 - 15:40
Special To The Jewish Week

The rise of sexual liberty as a fundamental right, together with the collective realization that many people do not fit neatly into the category of male or female, is creating a bathroom controversy. This controversy focuses on people who are not part of the traditional male-female binary that has been a part of the American culture for centuries.

Michael J. Broyde and Amy D. Katz

Conversion Crisis Goes Beyond Rabbi Lookstein

06/28/2016 - 12:30
Special To The Jewish Week

Since last Thursday, when The New York Times reported that the Israeli Rabbinate rejected a conversion performed by Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, rabbi emeritus of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun on the Upper East Side and one of the senior members of the American Orthodox rabbinical establishment, there has been an outcry around the world against the rabbinate.

Seth Farber
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