I was riveted by the recent story of an Orthodox Israeli young woman, Ophir Ben-Shetreet, who sang beautifully on the Israeli talent-search program, “The Voice,” and as a result was suspended from her Orthodox school for two weeks because of the prohibition against women singing in public if men are present. Ophir’s performance and evident charm inspired people around the country. The judges praised her as “modest” and “pure,” and she could serve as a role model for young Orthodox women who feel the desire to express themselves and develop their talents. Instead, she was condemned.
Founder of Tel Aviv's secular yeshiva, also a Knesset member, leads Israel's parliament in study and prayer.
Editor’s Note: Ruth Calderon, founder of a secular yeshiva in Tel Aviv, spent several years living in New York recently, teaching at the JCC in Manhattan and other venues. This was her inaugural speech in the Knesset this week as a member of Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party.
My two daughters have been receiving PJ Library books since they were babies, and I am very grateful to you for the monthly gift, which has helped me teach them about Jewish holidays, traditions and values.
I wanted to share with you my disappointment that you've chosen not to send the book The Purim Superhero to all your members, but only to families who specifically request it. I know you put a lot of thought into this decision, and that's part of the reason I wanted to share my thoughts with you.
Frequently, I hear congregants complain that their rabbis are not inspiring or that they never take clear stands on issues of importance. That's why the ongoing discussion about rabbinic independence that has erupted again at B'nai Jeshurun, covered very fairly by The Jewish Week (“B’nai Jeshurun Defections Fuel Debate,” Feb. 28), transcends any single congregation and any one subject. It is a contemporary case study about two issues facing the congregational world:
Regarding Morton Landowne’s letter responding to my own Letter to the Editor on Lincoln Square Synagogue (Letter, Jan. 29): First, “co-Segan” is not “gabbai” [Jewish Week editors provided that definition; the original letter did not define it]. Those with Hebrew knowledge will quickly intuit that it means “deputy” or “vice,” as in “vice-president.”
Secretary of State Kerry’s remarks in no way imply that the U.S. might join a boycott of Israel, as your Editorial charges (“Kerry Adds Fuel To BDS Fire,” Feb. 7). To the contrary, he warns that further sanctions by Israel’s critics would be disastrous.
I have been a member of B’nai Jeshurun since 1987, and I fiercely support our rabbis’ right to speak the truth as they see it (“B’nai Jeshurun Defections Fuel Debate Over Rabbi’s Role,” Feb. 28). Abraham Joshua Heschel’s teachings that bring together a profound commitment both to Jewish spirituality and social justice are the inspiration that has transformed B’nai Jeshurun into the vibrant, progressive congregation that it is today.
The accusation that feminist Orthodoxy is Conservative Judaism in disguise might lead some to see my defense of “partnership minyanim” as proof. But I take seriously the notion that leaders from every Jewish stream can speak to and regarding each other without being marginalized nor conflated. The very framing of this issue by The Jewish Week (“Your Semicha Or Your Wife,” Feb. 26) is troubling.
The ancient historian Tacitus recounts that when Jerusalem was conquered and the Roman general Pompey walked into the Holy of Holies in the Temple, he found it empty. Surely this perplexed the future emperor. Uniquely among ancient civilizations, there was no image or picture of God in the Temple. Pompey probably did not know it, but he was witnessing Judaism’s greatest counterintuitive gift to the world.