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.
Regarding “Synagogues Get Their Own (Scape) Goat” (Sept. 26), on Yom Kippur, as part of our teen services, we received submissions to our Temple Emanu-El eScapegoat (www.emanuelnyc.org/eScapegoat) — a very contemporary and immediate take on the “Al Chait” prayer. There were many submissions to the goat. These are the ones we are sharing:
How disappointing that Francine Klagsbrun (“Exploring The World Of Chasidim,” Opinion, Oct.10), as she reviews Joseph Berger’s book on American chasidim, is unable to find anything positive to write about the strongest, healthiest and only growing Jewish religious group. Chasidim have the smallest assimilation and intermarriage rates. While the Reform and Conservative movements are being decimated by assimilation and intermarriage, and even the Modern Orthodox have lost thousands, the chasidim, with their insular communities, are vibrant.
Regarding Gideon Taylor’s Opinion piece, “Why Immigration Is A Jewish Issue” (Oct. 10), I immediately think of those who must understand that they have to adapt to America, its customs, its traditions, its way of life, because that’s where they chose to immigrate. They must understand that they have to integrate and learn to live in America. They must understand that it is for them to change their lifestyle, not the Americans who so generously welcomed them.
Elana Maryles Sztokman assumes a great deal in her Opinion article, “My Feminist Struggles With Yom Kippur,” Oct. 3. She assumes that all of observant female-hood shares her offended sensibilities against the “privileged men.” She has also found every religious man who practices his faith as Jewish law dictates guilty of some sort of crime.
Elana Maryles Sztokman is entitled to her own opinion but not to her own facts (“My Feminist Struggles With Yom Kippur,” Oct. 3). Classical Judaism as codified in halacha has never been gender- neutral, nor class-neutral for that matter.