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.
The recent plethora of blog posts and articles written about the Conservative movement would force even the most casual reader to understand the challenges being confronted by this segment of the Jewish community. Because numbers within the movement have declined, and synagogues and day schools have been forced to either close doors or merge, some observers have predicted the death of Conservative Judaism, with others acknowledging the challenges and proposing various solutions to increase the number of adherents.
In the course of less than a decade, my mother went from independent living to assisted living and, following one quick event, to a skilled nursing facility that specialized in dementia. Her path from enjoying her evening cocktail to having to be fed by family and aides is a path now shared by many of our loved ones. We take that journey with them, juggling work, our own families, and our own lives.
Ethan Bronner of The New York Times feels “exasperated” (according to Gary Rosenblatt’s April 4 article, “Seeking The Middle In The Middle East”) that he has been accused of anti-Israel bias. He then proceeds to mouth precisely the kind of biased statements that have elicited such criticism.
In his Letter (March 28), Gil Kulick proposes that, among other things, Prime Minister Netanyahu could say to the Palestinians that “Israel will immediately cease building new housing for settlers across the Green Line until an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement is concluded.” I would suggest a one-word change: Replace “until” with “when.” Otherwise the Palestinians will have no incentive to ever conclude a peace agreement.
In defending a gendered Orthodox Judaism (“Why a Gendered Judaism Makes Sense,” Opinion online), Rabbis Chaim Strauchler and Joshua Strulowitz ask why “a standard for egalitarian living would be demanded of religion, but not from the marketplace or from popular culture.”
This argument by analogy fails to take into account that societal gender norms are not binding on any person — no girl is prohibited from wearing blue, and men have the freedom to see romantic comedies if they enjoy them. The prescriptive halachic gender roles Rabbis Strauchler and Strulowitz defend, on the other hand, do not accommodate or even acknowledge the many women and men who do not comfortably fit traditional models of femininity and masculinity.
Gary Rosenblatt tried his hardest to say something nice about President Obama for nearly two columns, then he couldn’t resist any longer and collapsed into the John McCain mindset of there never being a war he didn’t like (“How Obama Should Deal With Bullies,” March 28).
Alan M. Dershowitz writes that a targeted boycott of settlement products is “bigoted in effect if not in intent” (“Marching Together For Israel,” Opinion, April 11.) He goes on to liken such a boycott to Harvard’s limit on Jewish applicants. The writer is far off the mark on both assertions.