Regarding Stewart Ain’s “Cutthroat Jewish Education: Pilfered Class Lists” (Nov. 19), the sharing of contact information is not limited to day schools in the Jewish world. It has been my experience that membership lists, whether in a synagogue, PTA, sisterhood, outreach organization or some other communal institution are shared more often than most people realize. Often it is done by well meaning people who assume those on the list are fine with their contact information being shared.
I am from a generation that already 30 years ago considered a year in Israel for yeshiva study after high school a privilege and a gift, by no means a birthright.
All that has changed, and what we find today is a gap-year industry that, as noted in your story (“Rabbi Offered Cash To Steer Students To Israeli Yeshiva,” Nov. 19), has led to a fierce competition for students and a free-enterprise environment. It’s a buyers’ market with new, “boutique” schools opening up each year.
Lamentations over the disappearance of “peoplehood” among America’s younger Jewish adults, complete with citations of research showing declining ethnic ties, have proliferated recently in earnest sermons and articles. However, a new study of younger American Jewish leaders funded by the Avi Chai Foundation reveals that sorrow is misplaced, although concern and action are needed.
If there is to remain any meaning to the terms Chief Rabbinate and Religious Zionism, then the recent decision casting aspersions on conversions by the Israel Defense Forces, should be “last straw” in our relationship with the rabbinate.
As a religious Zionist who believes that Israel is the beginning of our redemption, it is not easy for me to come to terms with this realization, but it seems to me that that the time has come to say honestly, and painfully, that the Chief Rabbinate as it stands today has run its course.
This week’s portion of Vayeshev introduces us to Joseph, the beloved first-born son of Rachel and Jacob, whose personality will dominate the last five portions of Genesis. Yet strangely, Chapter 38 disrupts the Joseph narrative with an aside about his brother Judah. Why is Joseph’s life story interrupted by Judah’s? What does it teach us?
The great American bar/bat mitzvah has become a source of parody in Jewish life. The 13-year olds are at the most awkward stage of their lives with hormones raging. Anywhere from 10 to 50 friends might be invited who then sit in the sanctuary with no interest in the service and little clue as what is transpiring. The relatives and friends of the parents are polite but often sit stoically, unnerved by the unfamiliarity of the surroundings.
While packing for a trip to Ghana eight years ago, numerous observant Jews dissuaded me, arguing I could not volunteer abroad and maintain full, authentic observance. I knew that I had multiple identities and this trip gave me no pause. Since then I have worked in ten countries learning that I can be an observant Jew and a global citizen.
At a time of increasingly worrisome polarization in our society, and, closest to home, in the Jewish community — on issues ranging from domestic politics to the Mideast peace process — we welcome the initiative of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) in drafting and circulating a Civility Covenant calling for “healthy, respectful dialogue based on our love for our neighbors and our people.” (See www.jewishpublicaffairs.org)
On its surface, the Obama administration's offer to the Israeli government of a package of diplomatic and military incentives in return for a non-renewable, 90-day settlement construction moratorium doesn't make a lot of sense.
It's hard to imagine that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, with anxious American diplomats at their side, will be able to do in three short months what they've failed to do for many years – take serious steps toward a final agreement to end their seemingly endless conflict.