Editorial & Opinion

Why I Don’t Call Out Israel On The Occupation

07/12/2016 - 11:37
Special To The Jewish Week

At the J Street U conference in April, student activists insisted that the Jewish establishment publicly denounce the Israeli occupation. While students at J Street U were measured in their demands, not so students from J Street U’s more uncompromising offshoot, If Not Now, which protests Jewish organizations for not publicly opposing the occupation, but refuses to sit down with their leaders to discuss demands. These students insist, like hubristic voices on the extreme right, that others accept their viewpoints, and refuse to engage in dialogue.

David Bernstein

Second Generation: Returning Home To Bar-Ilan

07/07/2016 - 18:07
Special To The Jewish Week

In 1958, as a young, recently ordained rabbi, I watched with a combination of astonishment and admiration as my father, Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein, assumed the presidency of a fledgling Bar-Ilan University after the untimely passing of his close friend, Dr. Pinchas Churgin, the university’s founder and first president.  Dr. Churgin had died two-and-a-half years after Bar-Ilan opened its doors. There were 70 students at the time in what was Israel’s first and only university under religious auspices. 

Rabbi Haskel Lookstein

Why I Don’t Call Out Israel On The Occupation

07/06/2016 - 10:16
Special To The Jewish Week

At the J Street U conference in April, student activists insisted that the Jewish establishment publicly denounce the Israeli occupation. While students at J Street U were measured in their demands, not so students from J Street U’s more uncompromising offshoot, If Not Now, which protests Jewish organizations for not publicly opposing the occupation, but refuses to sit down with their leaders to discuss demands. These students insist, like hubristic voices on the extreme right, that others accept their viewpoints, and refuse to engage in dialogue.

David Bernstein

Times Have Changed

07/05/2016 - 21:49

Rabbi Avi Shafran’s letter in response to Gary Rosenblatt’s column, “Ruth’s Conversion Would Be Rejected Today” (June 17), suggests that by stating “thy God (will be) my God,” Ruth was “declaring acceptance of the commandments” of the Torah. The story of Ruth takes place many centuries before the compilation of the Mishnah, at a time prior to the development of the corpus of Jewish law that Rabbi Shafran would have us believe needs to be accepted “in principle” and “sincerity” by a convert to Judaism.

Call Out Blumenthal

07/05/2016 - 21:49

In “Israel-Firsters Seen Edging Toward Trump” (July 1), Gary Rosenblatt points out a legitimate concern for Israel supporters regarding Hillary Clinton’s candidacy — her willing acceptance of the “rabidly anti-Zionist writings of Max Blumenthal,” sent through his father, Sidney, a trusted advisor.

Moving To The Dark Side

07/05/2016 - 21:48

I have known, respected and followed Gary Rosenblatt since the mid-1980s when he was the editor of the Baltimore Jewish Times. Until recently I have always considered him an honest reporter and commentator — one whose words should be listened to.

BDS Position On Israel

07/05/2016 - 21:47

A June 23 Letter from Talia Benamy of J Street claims that the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement, which J Street opposes, does not recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. I would dispute that point.

Ironic Unity

07/05/2016 - 21:46

The front page of the June 17 issue had two very timely articles. Nathan Jeffay (“Tel Aviv And Orlando: Tied By Terror”) made the connection between the terror attack by two Palestinians in Tel Aviv and the terror attack in Orlando (where the terrorist declared his allegiance to ISIS). The report by Hannah Dreyfus (“LGBT Leaders Here Mixing Sorrow With Action”) described the LGBT community’s reaction to the Orlando attack and quotes Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum that the clergy were all united “to reject any anti-Muslim energy coming out of this.”

Keeping Faith With Elie Wiesel

07/05/2016 - 21:45
Editorial

Elie Wiesel as a chasidic child of Vizhnitz in the Carpathian Mountains knew “by heart” the siddur’s line about God “keeping faith with those who slept in the dust.” God’s commitment, somewhat biblically, became his own. Like the best rebbes or prophets, his life’s work was never his intention. The teenager wanted to teach Talmud but never finished his schooling before he found himself on one of the 150 freight trains headed out of those mountains into the Kingdom of Night.

The Hear And Now

07/05/2016 - 21:33

In the Talmud we are told that Rav Eliezer ben Hyrcanos never taught anything that he had not heard from his teacher. Then, in Avoth D’Rabbi Nathan, we are told that “Rav Eliezer taught things that no ear had ever heard.” The two texts seem to contradict each other; so which is true? Did Rav Eliezer only repeat what he heard or did he innovate new teachings?

Rabbi David Wolpe
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