Editorial & Opinion

Reflections On The Bat Mitzvah Rite Nearly A Century Later

Special To The Jewish Week

Ninety years ago this spring, on 86th Street in Manhattan, the first girl became a bat mitzvah. Judith Kaplan Eisenstein was invited to read from a chumash (a printed book of the Torah) — not a Torah scroll — on a Saturday morning — not a Friday night — by her father, Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan. She read and a revolution began. 

Sally Gottesman

In The Name Of Judaism, Haredim Have Turned Inward

Special To The Jewish Week

While flying home from Israel recently I struck up a conversation with the bright young haredi man sitting beside me. Before our talk, he had been busily studying a wonderful rabbinic text, “Mishnah Zevachim,” which details the laws concerning Temple sacrifices in ancient times. But God, it seemed, continued to be found in the text and not in me, so when I sensed that he was more interested in resuming his studies, I found a way to end the conversation so we could return to our respective pastimes.

Eugene Korn

“I am Seeking my Brothers”: The Lost Jewish Virtue of Friendship

Jewish Week Online Columnist

"And a man found him, when he was wandering in the field, and the man asked him, 'What are you seeking?' And he said, 'I am seeking my brothers'" (Genesis 37:15). This story about Joseph strikes me so deeply. As a child who moved to different cities every few years, I constantly felt like I was seeking “my brothers.” To some degree, we are all wandering in search of our “brothers.” Friendship is a challenging virtue to cultivate, even more challenging in our transient times.

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

Bigger Survey


In Stewart Ain’s article, “Social Justice Still Drives Jewish Agenda” (April 6), he points out that Israel is not high on the priority of American Jews according to the survey that was taken. The survey is flawed because of the small number of people surveyed.

Too Easy On Beinart


Look what Gary Rosenblatt got for conferring undeserved status and a “fair” report on Israel-basher Peter Beinart – a kick in the teeth.  (“JW Review ‘Disservice’ To Readers,” Opinion by Peter Beinart, March 30).

When will Rosenblatt and our leaders learn how the radical J Street crowd works? --Attack and demonize anyone who doesn’t completely support them.

Moshiach Ad


I was surprised to see a full-page ad (March 30) placed by the sect of Chabad that still believes that the late Rabbi Menachem Schneerson is the "King Messiah," despite his having passed away. It seems fairly established in Jewish law across the spectrum and centuries that the Moshiach, the anointed Redeemer of Israel, must come from the living, not be brought back from the dead. There have been other sects, most notably Christianity, that brought in the notion of a resurrected Messiah. That notion (among others) caused a clear divide between Judaism and those faiths.

Wrong Seder Message


I subscribe to The Jewish Week to be informed about the latest events, concerns and interests of our people. However, after reading Steve Lipman’s article, “The Tomato Finds Its Place On The Seder Plate” (March 30), I found myself saddened by the fact that too many of us choose to use the Passover seder as a forum for espousing our own personal agendas.

Have we become so assimilated that so many of us forgot or never knew the real purpose of the Exodus and the reason that we celebrate that event via our seders?

Relates To Beren Decision


As a parent who advocated last February for my USA Gymnasts daughter Amalya Knapp, I fully applaud and appreciate Daniel Edelman’s Opinion piece, “Lessons From Beren’s Legal Challenge,” March 23. I too agree with the “additional value” that came along with Mirwis’ and Kosowsky’s perseverance in advocating for their Beren and Maimonides children and students — “to appreciate and experience the beauty of Shabbat while internalizing “... the lesson of inclusiveness fundamental to this country’s purpose.”

YU’s Mission


Unfortunately, your article on Yeshiva University does a disservice to it and to American Jewish community, especially to parents of high school students considering where to send their children for university (“Stuck In The Middle With YU,” March 30).

Unique YU Experience


Helen Chernikoff’s description of Yeshiva University’s undergraduate schools prior to Richard Joel’s arrival as a top-notch yeshiva and second-class college seems foreign to me (“Stuck In The Middle With YU,” March 30). I am used to hearing the opposite. However, as a close observer of the school for over 20 years, I have long learned to discount partisan complaints that one aspect of the university overshadows another.

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