I recently had the privilege of participating in a two-day retreat organized by The Jewish Week and sponsored by UJA-Federation of New York, on the subject of being Jewish in New York. It was an extraordinary experience, on many levels. The organizers brought together a very diverse group of very smart, knowledgeable people and, in 48 hours, shaped them into a “community” deeply appreciative of that diversity.
In 1999, Dr. Ismar Schorsh, then chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary, made a rather unfortunate observation. He claimed that Conservative Jews who observe the Three Weeks, a period of collective mourning for the Temples’ destruction and all subsequent calamities, was about as rare as a polar bear at the equator.
Thank you for Steve Lipman’s article about the Jewish Federation of Rockland County’s efforts to promote Rockland County, N.Y., as a place that is welcoming to young Jewish families (“Rockland Outreach Facing Demographic, Image Challenges,” June 17).
The Jewish Week coverage was thorough and thoughtful, portraying our county as one with a vibrant Jewish life and much to offer Jews hoping to find an affordable home not far from the city.
In his article on Orthodox teenagers texting on Shabbos (“For Many Orthodox Teens, ‘Half-Shabbos’ is a Way of Life,” June 24), Steve Lipman equates this increasingly common practice with Orthodox males who don’t wear a yarmulke to work.
It is with great interest that we read the article “For Many Orthodox Teens, ‘Half Shabbos’ Is A Way of Life” (June 24) because it captures the challenges that Shabbat observance poses for what has been called the iGeneration. The very public flouting of normative Shabbat restrictions when it comes to texting on Shabbat is supported by our study of the religious beliefs and behaviors of Modern Orthodox day school students.
I am not a perfect person or perfect observant Jew by any means, and so while I think the notion of “half-Shabbos” or justifying texting on Shabbos by citing that it uses “low levels of electricity” is ridiculous for an Orthodox person to put forth, I will refrain from chastising teens who text on Shabbos because, quite frankly, I stand in a glass house, albeit for other reasons. (“For Many Orthodox Teens, ‘Half-Shabbos’ is a Way of Life,” June 24)
Deborah Lipstadt, in her recent outstanding book, “The Eichmann Trial,” uses the term “soft-core” denial of the Holocaust to characterize the writings of those who grossly distort, without outright negating, historical reality. It would be charitable to apply that label to Nicholson Baker’s disturbing creation, “Human Smoke” discussed by Eric Herschthal in his thoughtful article, “The Limits Of Pacifism” (June 24).
The pending litigation against the board of HASC, Inc. (“Lone HASC Critic on Board Is Dismissed,” June 24) initiated by former board member Lillian Lieberman is unfortunate, resulting in costly and unnecessary expense, and taking funds from HASC’s basic mission.
As the independent outside counsel for HASC and its board (and former deputy chief of the NY Attorney General’s Charities Bureau), I wish to clarify key points and set the record straight.
Young Families, Singles Flocking to Upper East Side; ‘The Memory Is In Their Taste Buds’: The Lure of Sephardic Food; Safra Synagogue Rabbi’s Growing Empire; Sephardic And Egalitarian at B’nai Jeshurun; Giving Voice to Sephardic Music.