Editorial & Opinion

Slandering The Promised Land

05/27/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Candlelighting, Readings:
Shabbat candles: 8:02 p.m.
Torah: Num. 13:1-15:39
Haftarah: Joshua 2:1-24
Havdalah: 9:10 p.m.

Speech is powerful. In the Bible, unchecked speech can foment punishment, exile, even death. Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses in last week’s parsha, and this week the Miraglim (the 12 scouts/spies) speak against the Promised Land.

Sandra E. Rapoport

Orthodox Women Reach A Milestone

Maharot will perform virtually all the same pastoral and spiritual functions as male rabbis, plus some.
05/27/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Orthodox women are making history in front of our eyes. On June 16, three women will be ordained to serve, in effect, as Orthodox rabbis, given the title of Maharat (an acronym for the Hebrew words meaning leader in legal, spiritual and Torah matters).

Zelda R. Stern and Elana Maryles Sztokman.

Jewish Day Camps: The Choice For Families

05/27/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Spring is here and it’s time to dream and plan for summer. 

No, we haven’t been dreaming about the beach or surfing the Internet for exotic destinations; our sights are much closer to home.

Melanie Schneider and Jill Mendelson

Jewish Composers: As American As Apple Pie

Reflections For Jewish American Heritage Month
05/27/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Each time I hear “There’s a place for us” – the stirring plea for tolerance and acceptance sung by the ethnically mismatched lovers of “West Side Story” — I am reminded that it pinpoints a Jewish sensibility that influenced the show’s composer and lyricist. Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s musical about prejudice transformed Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet into an American classic.

"West Side Story" showed a composer's Jewish sensibility about prejudice.

Honoring Sen. Frank Lautenberg

05/23/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Love of country, love of Jewish community and love of Israel. Those have been driving forces for Frank Lautenberg, who is nearing the end of his career in the United States Senate, and they are the qualities that make an upcoming tribute by the Jewish community something I am proud to commemorate.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg

Bangladesh: We Must Prevent Future Industrial Disasters

05/23/2013 - 20:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Over 700 Bangladeshis have tragically died in the collapse of a building housing several garment factories. It appears that the owners of the Rana Plaza factory building had illegally added three floors to the structure and installed generators and machines that caused the vibrations that led to its collapse. While this is the highest death toll in a single garment factory, the death of workers in this region is not uncommon, as hundreds of Bangladeshi garment workers, women and men, have been badly burnt, suffocated or crushed to death.

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

Unclear Role Of AJCongress

05/21/2013 - 20:00

It is particularly troubling that the initial goals of AJCongress have become marginalized or uncertain (“Is AJCongress Jack Rosen’s One-Man Show?” May 10).

In Praise Of Women Clergy

05/21/2013 - 20:00

As an addendum to your recent coverage on the upcoming graduation ceremony of
the first graduates of Yeshivat Maharat, and reactions in the Orthodox
community, please note the statement issued several weeks ago by the
International Rabbinic Fellowship, the Modern Orthodox rabbinical
organization based in New York City.

‘Retail Engagement’ Not New

05/21/2013 - 20:00

While all should be delighted at the success of Hillel’s Peer Network
Engagement Initiative, Ted Merwin’s April 26 tribute (“Jewish Identity, One
On One”) fails to mention that this approach was pioneered and widely utilized
on campus long before Hillel embraced it five years ago.

The notion of
“people before programs” has been the essence of Chabad’s success on
campus, and “one-on-one conversations” is at the heart of AEPi’s
successful rush strategy. “Retail engagement” has been the cornerstone of
AIPAC’s highly successful student program for more than a decade, and the
maxim “speakers don’t engage people, people engage people” has been the
central tenet of AIPAC Campus Creed since 2003. Tens of thousands of
students have been empowered in the past decade, including a great many of
whom who are now Hillel professionals, and more than 2,000 students attended
AIPAC’s most recent Policy Conference — all through one-on-one peer
engagement. In recent years, this strategy has been embraced by the Israel on
Campus Coalition and The David Project, both of which have credited Jonathan
Kessler of AIPAC for “setting the course for a positive relationship
building strategy on campus.”

In December 2003, The Jewish Week published an
op-ed on AIPAC’s success with this approach, and in April 2003 Moment Magazine wrote an extensive story on
AIPAC’s emphasis on retail engagement. In that article, Kessler states,
“Our students take pen and paper and clipboard and go door-to-door, dorm-to
dorm, and student-by-student engaging peers about the value of the U.S.-Israel

The whole approach is grass-roots, retail engagement, it’s a
political model. That’s why it’s so different.”

The writer was AIPAC’s deputy leadership development director from 2002-07.

Creating Community

05/21/2013 - 20:00

Kudos to Ted Merwin and the Hillel directors implementing the Peer Network Engagement Initiative (“Jewish Identity, One On One,” Back Of The Book, April 26).

They recognize that “if you build it, they will come” might work in the movies, but it is not a sufficient strategy for engaging Jewish college students. Engaging young adults on their terms and putting people before programming are key to fostering Jewish continuity, on campus and beyond.

Many college grads arrive in New York ready to tackle professional school or take on the business world. Yet they find that New York can be cold and lonely. They lack the community that Hillel and Chabad houses, or even a few like-minded classmates, provided.

The Brownstone NY offers these young adults a space to create their own community (“A ‘Brownstone’ For Young Jews,” May 3). The East Village six-story eco-friendly building features inviting lounges, dining spaces, meeting rooms and a rooftop terrace. It is an ideal place to encourage one-to-one peer conversations. 

Our building is buzzing with classes, social and networking events, alumni reunions, leadership programs, and Shabbat meals.

We’re a welcoming, inclusive place. We invite your readers to check us out.

Program Director Brownstone Russian Initiative

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