Editorial & Opinion

Singing Praises

12/06/2011

 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

12/06/2011

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.

Pleased With Results

12/06/2011

I very much appreciated Gary Rosenblatt’s column, “Mind the Gap Between Orthodox and Other Jews” (Dec. 2), in which he presented an extensive recap of how we Orthodox differ in so many ways from “other Jews.” It was also cheering to read about the large number of children being born to the Orthodox while the “other Jews” are having much fewer children (and, of course, marrying out). Indeed, in a generation or two, we will be fewer but “Jewer” — quality over quantity.

Edison, N.J.

Cheating Scandal

12/06/2011

As a parent at North Shore Hebrew Academy, I am disgusted by the cheating scandal but I am more appalled by the tepid and vacillating response of the education administration (“Day School World Gauging Fallout From SAT Scandal,” Dec. 2).

Where is the communication to the parents on cheating? Where are the e-mails condemning the action and promising swift and decisive judgment?

Where is the admission of a problem? Where is the honor code for student performance? Where is the assurance that this will not happen again?

The Truth Hurts

12/06/2011

There have been several articles in recent days reporting on criticism of Israel by American Jewish groups for placing some Hebrew ads in the U.S. whose goal was to encourage Israeli expatriates to return home. The ads highlighted some negatives of the American diaspora such as the ignorance of some American Jews about Judaism, Israel, and the Hebrew language, and concerns about intermarriage. The ads were not placed in any public medium available to the majority of American Jews and certainly not to the non-Jewish U.S. public.

The Case For Companionship

12/06/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

A month ago I officiated a Jewish commitment ceremony and civil marriage for two men in Washington, D.C. The event was sensationally reported as a “Gay Orthodox Wedding,” and this news has stirred controversy within the Orthodox community. I am aware that my conducting this ceremony has made many uncomfortable, among them, some of my friends and supportive colleagues. In light of the strong feelings I felt that it was important that I clarify the facts, describe the context and explain my intensions. I am hopeful that controversy will give way to conversation.

Special To The Jewish Week

Little Progress On The Agunah Front

12/06/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

Agunot again. In 1988 I attended an American Jewish Congress convention in Israel. In the middle of one of the speeches, a line of women tied together by chains pushed across the stage. On her chest each woman wore a letter that, taken all together, spelled the word “agunah,” a woman chained to a marriage from which she cannot free herself because her husband refuses to give her a get, a Jewish divorce.

Francine Klagsbrun

Why Should We Care About The Religious Views of Our Candidates?

12/05/2011
Jewish Week Online Columnist

 

As the Presidential race progresses, once again the role of religion in politics has re-emerged as a common tension that cannot be dismissed. American Jews have often feared bringing religion into the political discourse out of fear of anti-Semitism, but this concern has hopefully lessened since Senator Lieberman was a serious Presidential candidate while being open about his traditional Jewish practices and perspectives. In our commitment to build a just society, we have an imperative to ask questions about the religious views of our politicians.

Rabbi Yanklowitz is Founder and President of Uri L’Tzedek, Director of Jewish Life and Senior Jewish Educator at UCLA Hillel.

The Bodies Exhibit & The Jewish Value of Honoring The Body

11/30/2011
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Could you imagine arriving at a museum and seeing one of your loved ones who passed away on display for others'  amusement?

Rabbi Yanklowitz is Founder and President of Uri L’Tzedek, Director of Jewish Life and Senior Jewish Educator at UCLA Hillel.

Business Ethics

11/29/2011

 

In this age of deception and fraud, it is worthwhile to remember the unequivocal voice of the Jewish tradition. As Maimonides rules: “It is forbidden to mislead people in business or to deceive them. This is equally true whether it involves gentiles or Jews. Thus when one knows that there is a defect in one’s merchandise, one must so inform the purchaser. And it is even forbidden to deceive people in words only” (M.T. Hil. Mekhira 18).

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