Editorial & Opinion

We Need More ‘Dirty Laundry’ Conversations About Israel

01/24/2012
Special To The Jewish Week

When I invite guests for dinner, I clean up my apartment, and put the dirty laundry in the closet. But it’s usually in full sight when I’m home with family.

Jews have traditionally acted similarly regarding Israel. In public discourse, support for Israel is forceful on issues related to war and peace. Within the family, though, there often is lively discussion of fears and hopes, with recognition that choices are very difficult and outcomes uncertain.

Rebecca Neuwirth

The Art Of Personal Transformation

A Jewish perspective.

01/24/2012

In my work as a Jewish adult educator, I constantly speak with people who are poised to change. Often a significant life event prompts them to return to learning — the bar mitzvah of a son, divorce, the death of a parent, the intermarriage of a child — as an anchor at a time of personal upheaval and as an opportunity to grow. Adults negotiate an alarming number of fears, from job loss to rejection in relationships. We seek higher education at a time of fear and disjuncture as a place to find answers to questions that may not be answerable. We seek inspiration.

MICHAEL DATIKASH, Music lesson, Queens Gymnasia/Jewish Institute of Queens, 2005.

Jewish Law on Texting While Driving

01/23/2012
Jewish Week Online Columnist

The Orthodox community has been in a panic about the recent news that observant teenagers are texting on Shabbos. However, we must address a much greater life-and-death concern.

Rabbi Yanklowitz is founder and president of Uri L'Tzedek, director of Jewish life and senior Jewish educator at UCLA Hillel.

The Sin Of Religious Intransigence

01/18/2012
Mitch Morrison is a journalist who has been active in the Jewish community for more than 20 years.

In a Pennsylvania town where I lived for more than eight years, a small, struggling Orthodox community fights to remain viable.

Market conditions and lack of certain amenities such as a kosher restaurant and eruv [ritual enclosure to allow carrying on Shabbat] cut into the fiber of this once tight knit stitch.

Yet, there is something else fraying at the seam.

Good Intentions Hurting Jerusalem

01/17/2012

There are currently an estimated 9,000 ghost dwellings in Jerusalem that are owned by foreigners (“Jerusalem Is Becoming A Ghost Town,” Jan. 6). The average vacant, shuttered home is twice the size of the average apartment occupied by Israeli families. Hence, in effect, there are 18,00 units that are unavailable and unaffordable to real Israelis.

Doubling the real estate tax is a joke, as that tax, even doubled, is extremely low compared to real estate taxes in America. 

Affordable Jerusalem Housing

01/17/2012

Your article on the lack of affordable housing in Jerusalem offered an evenhanded review of the issues (“Jerusalem Is Becoming A Ghost Town,’” Jan. 6). As a Queens resident who owns an apartment in Jerusalem, I can reiterate the sentiment that it is absurd to expect a large number of absentee owners to rent their Jerusalem apartments to strangers.

Part-Time Residents Helpful

01/17/2012

The article “’Jerusalem Is Becoming A Ghost Town’” (Jan. 6) does not consider the facts that the part-time residents have invested huge amounts of money in Israel. We pay taxes, we pay maintenance fees, we pay insurance, we keep accounts at local banks, we support the airlines, silver and art shops, and charities for Israel. We love Israel and support it politically, economically and any other way possible.

To single out Jews who buy apartments in Israel and live there part time is not right.

Bring Them Home

01/17/2012

Thank you for your excellent editorial regarding the latest delays in bringing the remaining Ethiopian Jews to Israel (“Why The Delay In Ethiopian Jewish Aliyah?” Dec. 30).

I would like to raise my voice to cry out at the injustice of this delay, at the discrimination of this delay and at the sorry excuses the Jewish Agency has created.

“A possible shortage of beds” for incoming Ethiopians at Israeli absorption centers as a reason for cutting numbers admitted each month from a meager 200 to a paltry 110?

Lack Of Leadership

01/17/2012

Though I am acutely aware of polarization within the Jewish community, I was particularly distressed by Michele Chabin’s report on haredi extremists attacking schoolgirls because of their “immodest” dress (“In Beit Shemesh, Modesty Wars,” Dec. 30). 

Need For Sensitivity

01/17/2012

The news these last few weeks from Beit Shemesh about some people spitting at little girls, calling girls zonot (prostitutes), physically attacking other people and throwing stones at them is disconcerting to say the least.

When we accidentally drop a siddur (prayer book) or a sefer (holy book), we kiss the sefer. Does the siddur or sefer feel anything? Clearly the act of kissing the siddur is meant to inculcate within us a sensitivity that should translate into the respect we need to show to another human being.

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