Editorial & Opinion

Sins, Crimes And Absolute Morality


Candlelighting, Readings:
Shabbat candles: 4:11 p.m.
Torah: Genesis 37:1-40:23
Haftarah: Amos 2:6-3:8
Havdalah: 5:15 p.m.

The Joseph story is one of the Bible’s finest literary achievements. The sedras that make up its chapters end at moments of tension that make it practically impossible to wait for the next installment. Much of the vocabulary is found nowhere else in the Bible. Words are carefully selected to deepen the plot line, and the Midrash adds layers of interpretation that enhance the story’s genius.

Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman

New Outreach To Intermarrieds Makes Wrong Assumptions

Special To The Jewish Week

A newly released report by the Task Force on Welcoming Interfaith Families of the New York UJA-Federation has been hailed by some as a breakthrough (“UJA-Fed. Launches Outreach To Intermarrieds,” Dec. 9).

To the extent that it calls for additional funding for Jewish education directed at intermarried couples and new sensitivity training for outreach workers, the report represents a shift in resources. But in its assumptions about intermarriage, it encapsulates the conventional and unsubstantiated wisdom about how best to address intermarriage. 

Jack Wertheimer

Misguided Rabbinical Priorities

Special To The Jewish Week

Nowadays Orthodoxy is all about sex. Immodesty, promiscuity, homosexuality: the public discourse of the Orthodox Jewish world seems disproportionately to take place in the bedroom, the dressing room, and the closet.

Rabbi Mordechai Rackover is associate university chaplain for the Jewish community of Brown University. Twitter: @mrackover

Israelis And Us: It’s Complicated

‘Come Home’ ads expose cracks in relationship between American Jews and Israeli officials.

Editor And Publisher

The news reports about Israel’s latest, ill-fated public relations campaign have come and gone. But the impact lingers, and it’s worth exploring how Israeli and American Jews, despite all their professed connections, still misunderstand each other in troubling ways.

The most recent example, in brief: A $300,000 ad campaign to encourage Israelis living in America to come home, sponsored by the government in Jerusalem, became known to and immediately was criticized by mainstream, fervently pro-Israel American Jewish groups, and others, as deeply offensive.

Gary Rosenblatt

Tackling Day School Affordability


Recognizing that there are no magic bullets in alleviating the financial, emotional and other burdens on parents seeking to provide a quality day school education for their children at a time of economic recession, the leadership of the Orthodox Union sought this week to address the problem pragmatically.

Cataloguing Palestinian Duplicity


Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta seems to have come up with the solution to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian impasse:

“Just get to the damn table,” he said in response to a question the other day on what Israel should do next, following his address to the Brookings Institute in Washington.

How foolish of the rest of us not to have thought of that sage advice all those years ago and saved so many lives, so much pain and hardship.

Seeing Double

Special To The Jewish Week


There is a large literature of “doubleness” — Dr. Jekyll and Mr.

Hyde, Poe’s William Wilson, Dostoevsky’s “The Double,” James Hogg’s “Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner,” among many others. The idea that we are all split is an attractive explanation of our conflicting impulses.

Rebbe Jonathan Sacks?


It is unfortunate that The Jewish Week uncritically portrays the chief rabbi of England as an ideological inheritor of the Lubavitcher rebbe (“The Chief Rabbi and the Rebbe,” Dec. 2).

Singing Praises


 The article, “Search On for ‘Big Idea’ for Jewish Teens” (Dec. 2), reports that “having good friends, doing well academically and getting into a good college” were “very” or “extremely important” to the teens surveyed for the Cohen Center study, while having a strong Jewish identity ranked lower down on the list. 

One-Sided View


I am mystified that Jerome Chanes’ review of Gershom Gorenberg’s “The Unmaking of Israel” (Fall Literary Guide, Nov. 25) ignores several of Gorenberg’s most outlandish proposals and radical views. Gorenberg advocates the dismantling of the entire hesder yeshiva framework (p. 234) and dropping the active promotion of Jewish immigration (p. 246). He also derides concern of the Iranian threat and the growing Islamization of the “Arab Spring” as a remnant of the shtetl complex of seeing Cossacks everywhere.

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