Editorial & Opinion

On Rabbi Lookstein’s Judgment

07/18/2016 - 16:03

I was privileged to have Rabbi Lookstein as a teacher during my rabbinic studies at Yeshiva University. While his class met only one day a week for a year, the practical advice that he offered was based on Torah scholarship, his many years of experience and his desire to mentor a next generation of Jewish leaders.

Rabbi Shalom Baum

The Haunting Voice Of The Refugee

Responding to the great moral challenge of our time. A first-hand report on the Syrian refugee crisis.

07/18/2016 - 13:50

The question:  Should we allow a large number of refugees to come to the United States to live?  The answer in a Gallup poll was 21 percent yes, 72 percent no, and seven percent had no opinion.  This is not about our response to the Syrian refugees today; it comes from a 1938 Gallup Poll about allowing European Jews into the U.S.

Tortured for his views: Mazen al-Hamada made his way to Amsterdam after imprisonment for criticizing the Syrian regime.

Touro Synagogue Case: Round Two

07/18/2016 - 10:17

I applaud the portion of the Letter (Jewish Week, July 15) from Robert Book and Jay Schottenstein -- commenting on my op-ed piece, “Profaning History at Touro Synagogue” (July 8) – that claims to want Touro synagogue to remain, not a defunct, denuded museum but an active place of Jewish worship.  I applaud further that these two committed Jews do not deny that Touro should remain a place where prayer is paramount and where Jewish law requires the rimonim to stay in active use.  At the same time, although I forgive the inaccurate personal attacks on me, there are three factual errors that Book-Schottenstein make that deserve brief correction:

Louis M. Solomon

Israel’s Choice Is Not Between Occupation and Peace

07/15/2016 - 12:49
Special To The Jewish Week

Reports from the recent Herzliya Conference have sparked renewed debate over whether the pro-Israel community should partner with J Street in the fight against BDS on America’s campuses. Those who support this partnership highlight Israel’s collapsing popularity among young progressives and argue that only J Street can provide the left-wing connections and credibility needed to compete for this cohort.

David Brog

A Travesty Of Rabbinical Justice In Israel

My reaction to the rejection of Modern Orthodox conversions done by U.S. rabbis? Astonishment, outrage and concern.

07/14/2016 - 16:54
Special To The Jewish Week

In April of this year, a rabbinic court in Petach Tikvah was approached by a convert of mine to open a file for marriage with her young, Sephardi, chattan.  When the court found out she was a giyoret (convert) she was informed that I was not known to the Petach Tikvah rabbis and that, therefore, she would have to undergo a second conversion in order to be married in Israel.

Rabbi Haskel Lookstein

Why I Do Call Israel Out On The Occupation

07/14/2016 - 16:23
Special To The Jewish Week

David Bernstein has written an articulate defense of those who, like him, refuse to denounce the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, or in some extreme cases even admit that an occupation exists. (“Why I Don’t Call Israel Out on the Occupation,” Opinion, July 8) He argues that simply calling for an immediate end to the Occupation does not recognize the complexity of the situation and will not bring peace and security to Israel.

Martin I Bresler

How Elie Wiesel’s Work Made Me An Activist

07/14/2016 - 16:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Although I had the privilege of hearing Elie Wiesel speak at least a dozen times and had the opportunity to once have a private meeting with him in conjunction with a book that I was writing, my thoughts about him actually relate to how much impact he had on those who never met the man.

Rabbi Sid Schwartz

Israel-Diaspora Divide

07/13/2016 - 09:07

Regarding “The Lookstein Lockout” (Editorial, July 1): A number of years ago, as part of a synagogue group, I took a tour of Israel. The tour leaders went to great lengths to let our group know that they, as well as the Israeli government and its citizens, value American Jews as part of the fabric of Israeli and Jewish society. Having not been draft eligible to serve in the IDF, I was somewhat skeptical of that statement. That sentiment has now been formally broken.

Agrees This Time

07/13/2016 - 09:07

Although in the past, I’ve been critical of Gary Rosenblatt’s right-leaning politics, I want to express great respect for his speaking out against those who would be fooled by Donald Trump’s absurd cult of personality, and for acknowledging both Ms. Clinton’s “excellent voting record on Israel” and the fact that “a strong and respected U.S. makes for a stronger Israel.” (“Israel-Firsters Seen Edging Toward Trump,” Editor’s column, July 1)

‘Israel-Firsters’ Offensive

07/13/2016 - 09:06

I was very disappointed that Gary Rosenblatt used the term “Israel-Firsters” in his column (“Israel-Firsters Seen Edging Toward Trump,” July 1). This is an expression that casts aspersions on the loyalty of American Jews and is frequently used by anti-Semites. The use of this expression damaged an otherwise cogent analysis.

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