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.
Israel Defense Minister Moshe “Bogie” Yaalon and Chief of Staff Benny Gantz recently expressed cautious reservations about the religion-infused letter that the commander of the Givati Brigade, Col. Ofer Winter, wrote to the officers under his command at the outset of Operation Protective Edge this past summer. The commander’s letter defined the mission of his troops in religious terms: to defeat a “blasphemous” enemy who defames God’s name.
Elana Maryles Sztokman is waiting for an apology from Orthodox men “who are so easily counted and heeded, who have a voice and a place and are free to participate in the community practically any way that their hearts desire” (“My Feminist Struggles With Yom Kippur,” Opinion, Oct. 3).
In the wake of the Rabbi Barry Freundel tragedy, The Jewish Week published several articles last week about the need for increasing women’s roles in Orthodox Judaism. To a large extent, the articles focused primarily on increasing women’s roles in connection with mikvah and conversion. I would add that women should also play a greater role in the way batei din (religious courts) deal with agunot (women unable to divorce). I suggest that a panel of agunot and former agunot be an official part of the process when a beit din is dealing with an agunah case.
In “‘Klinghoffer’ As Gateway to Dialogue” (Oct. 24), Maharat Rori Picker Neiss argues that, although offensive, “The Death of Klinghoffer” opera creates the opportunity for those with opposing viewpoints to engage in a “difficult and painful” dialogue. The process, she believes, creates the potential for enemies to “open their minds and hearts to one another” that we Jews should not reject.
What possesses President Obama to be driven to conclude a nuclear agreement with the Iranian regime — even if it is weak, problematic, and flawed, which strongly favors Iran? (“On Iran, ‘No Deal’ On Nukes Looking Better,” Editorial, Oct. 24)
Regarding “‘Hostile Environment’ For John Jay Jewish Students” (Oct. 17): At John Jay College, we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and respectful community of students, staff and scholars, dedicated to our mission of “educating for justice.” So I am deeply troubled, both personally and professionally, by recent reports that Jewish students at John Jay College have felt intimidated and harassed on our campus.
The diplomatic rift between Washington and Jerusalem reached a new low this week. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe “Bogie” Yaalon’s snub by senior members of the Obama administration was made public here, a week after his U.S. visit, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced plans to build more than 1,000 new units in Jerusalem neighborhoods beyond the Green Line, fully aware of the negative response it would receive in America and in the international community.