Opinion

Exploring The World Of American Chasidim

10/08/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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My husband tells the story of being taken by his father as a young teenager to the Bobover Rebbe’s “tish,” or Friday-night dinner table. His father came from chasidic ancestry, although the family did not follow that path. During the meal, the rebbe tore at a roasted chicken, and passed pieces to the dozens of surrounding chasidim, who basked in the honor of eating from his hand. When he reached my husband, the young boy, repelled by the greasy chicken in the rebbe’s fingers, turned away, mumbling, “I’m not hungry.” The stunned assembly stared at him in silent disbelief, while his father quickly whisked him out, humiliated that his son had refused the rebbe’s bounty.

Francine Klagsbrun

For Israel, A Difficult Season Of Reckoning

10/01/2014
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The season of reckoning is upon us. This is the time of the High Holy Days, when we are called upon to go into introspection mode and identify particular sins of commission or omission. Jewish tradition calls upon us to repent and to make amends.

Rabbi Sid Schwarz

My Feminist Struggles With Yom Kippur

10/01/2014
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“I always say I’m sorry when I’ve hurt someone,” a man told me proudly in a recent conversation, a reflection that seemed appropriate in advance of Yom Kippur, which is so focused on repentance. “It’s the most important thing,” he said, looking me squarely in the eye with a mixture of impassioned education and nuanced reprimand. He is right, of course. And this is the season, I suppose, for all that — for remorse, apologies and open hearts. There is something beautiful and tender about all this, as members of the Jewish community engage in genuine and sincere introspection.

Elana Maryles Sztokman

The 615th Commandment: Stand Up For Israel Every Day

09/30/2014
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Editor’s Note: This is the full text of a sermon delivered at Park Avenue Synagogue on Rosh HaShanah, reprinted by permission.

Grateful For A Gift That Is Repairing The World

09/24/2014
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Ten years ago, my children, Ellen and Stephen, and their spouses, Andrew Hauptman and Claudine Blondin Bronfman, gave me the most unbelievable gift. They founded and endowed The Charles Bronfman Prize, which annually recognizes a humanitarian under the age of 50 who is changing the world, guided and informed by their Jewish values.

Charles Bronfman

Becoming A Family Caregiver: A Search For Identity

09/24/2014
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Becoming a family caregiver can mean a gradual assumption of responsibilities, punctuated by episodes of acute illness, falls, lapses in judgment or other warning signs. Or it can be, as in my case, a catastrophic event that changes everything from Day One. My first Day One began at 8:18 a.m. on Jan. 15, 1990, when my late husband Howard and I were in an automobile accident that left him severely brain-injured and quadriplegic. I walked away with no physical injuries; the psychic shock came later.

Carol Levine

Repairing Arab-Jewish Relations Inside Israel

09/24/2014
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Times of crisis can push societies to their extremes, inspiring solidarity, courage and compassion on the one hand, and straining capacities for resilience and tolerance on the other. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in Israel, where the conflict with Hamas galvanized a powerful sense of national community and, at the same time, increased tensions and acts of incitement between the country’s own Arab and Jewish citizens, deepening societal divisions.

Alan Gill

MK Nitzan Horowitz: Wars In Gaza Only Weaken Our Security

09/19/2014
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Two months of bloody war have ended in a fragile remission, and it is hard to say what it was all for. It took 50 days of fighting that killed 73 Israelis and over 2,000 Palestinians --including hundreds of children -- just to go back to the starting point with no real change in Gaza. And so, even as life begins to return to normal, we have no illusions that this quiet will hold for long. The next war is just a question of (short) time.

Nitzan Horowitz

Standing Our Ground On Wearing Kipot In Public

09/17/2014
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‘A yarmulke is an indoor garment.” Ask any male Ramaz graduate from the 1940s through the mid-’60s and he will recognize that declaration as one with which we — and others of our age — grew up. We didn’t wear kipot outside. We wore hats or no head covering. Essentially, we didn’t identify as Jews in the street, a street that was not entirely welcoming to us. It was a time of overt or covert anti-Semitism, and we were acculturated to be aware of it and respond accordingly.

Haskel Lookstein

Think Like A Philanthropist This High Holy Day Season

09/17/2014
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The High Holiday Season is upon us, which means that High Fundraising Season is upon us as well. The value of tzedakah (charity) is a central one among Jews of all denominations. In Devarim 26:12, the Torah famously mandates Jews to donate 10 percent of their crops to the poor. And later sources suggest 10 percent as the baseline, encouraging as much as 20 percent of one’s income as an ideal allocation of one’s philanthropic dollars.

Rachel Cyrulnik
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