Editorial & Opinion

The Jewish Perception Of Tattoos: A Fair Prejudice?

Jewish Week Online Columnist

I recently spoke with young former gang members undergoing tattoo removal at Homeboy Industries, a job-training site in LA for at-risk and gang involved youth. Their tattoos serve as serious barriers to employment and acceptance into mainstream society. A Harris Poll taken in 2008 estimated that 14 percent of Americans now have tattoos and the Pew Research Center shows that a whopping 26% of those between 18-25 have at least one tattoo. Is the typical Jewish perception toward these individuals with body art fair?

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

Ten Years Of The Durban Strategy

Special To The Jewish Week

The “tsunami” of the Arab-Israeli conflict that some are predicting this September may or may not happen. And while the probable UN General Assembly recognition of Palestinian independence and the Durban III conference warrant attention, instead of prognosticating the fallout from these events, we should examine – and learn from – the last decade’s events that led to these moments.

Religion Or Culture


When I saw the headline in the Sept. 2 Jewish Week regarding whether Judaism is a religion or culture, I couldn’t wait to read the opinions of your writers.

The Torah never refers to the Jewish people as a religious group and never labels Judaism as a religion. Rather, we Jews are called a nation in the Torah, and Judaism is the name of the Covenant that the Jewish nation establishes with God at Sinai.

Praise For Jonathan Mark


Jonathan Mark is a treasure. His latest effort, “Has The Decade Changed Us?” (Sept. 9], is vintage Mark. Filled with facts, pivoting on surprises and twists, and suffused with moral force. One derives a feeling of strength just in reading what he writes.

The way that Mark tells a story, the brave are truly heroic and the hypocrites are manifestly foppish. In Mark’s hands, the truth always carries a brighter glow than most writers can muster, and falsehood is always wrapped in its much-merited obloquy.

Rabbi Stephen Listfield

False Comparison


 The article “The Days After” (Aug. 19) about the photo exhibit on Hiroshima compares the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the Holocaust. This is a false comparison.

The bombings prevented the invasion of Japan, which due to the population density of Japan and the zeal of the Japanese defenders, would have resulted in many times the number of civilian casualties and destruction than that of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.

In addition, the number of military casualties would have been astronomical.

Saving A Life


Your editorial (“Tragic Rescue,” Sept. 2) rightly eulogizes the heroic David Reichenberg who sacrificed his life to save that of a Jewish boy. This prompts the question whether a Jew is obligated to rescue a non-Jew.

Iconic Synagogue-Center


Your story, “In A Changed Crown Heights, A Reunion Of Respect” (Sept. 9), references the architectural model of the Brooklyn Jewish Center on display at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. Your readers may be interested to know that we felt the Brooklyn Jewish Center was so iconic, so emblematic of the synagogue-center, that we had a model specifically commissioned for our core exhibition.

On Sharpton


Human rights activist Evelyn Goodman (Letters, Sept. 9) is absolutely right about the odious behavior of Rev. Al Sharpton and his cynical manipulation of some prominent rabbis.

He has never properly apologized for the harm he caused the Westchester District Attorney in the outrageous Tawana Brawley affair or for his well-documented Jew-baiting.

Raphael Rothstein


Conflating Two Issues


Your editorial, “The Faith Factor” (Sept. 2), unfortunately conflates the issue of support for Israel with support for its policies.

Liberals, including some who are observant Jews, are as committed to Israel’s security, welfare and success as are those of a conservative point of view.

Israel Should Act


Your editorial, “Arab Spring, Summer Chaos” (Aug. 26), articulates both hope and concern for how the still-evolving upheaval in the Arab world will turn out.

Of special concern is whether the popular hostility toward Israel (especially in Egypt) may negatively impact Israel in an environment where public opinion may actually be democratically translated into policies.

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