Editorial & Opinion

Cardinal Directions

Special To The Jewish Week

Sitting alongside thousands of New Yorkers in St. Peter’s Basilica, I was filled with pride and affection as I witnessed His Eminence Timothy M. Dolan’s elevation to the rank of cardinal.  

For those seeking insight into Cardinal Dolan’s direction for the future, his remarks to the College of Cardinals last Friday are well worth reading. For the Jewish community of New York, his speech also provides an intriguing new possibility for Jewish-Catholic cooperation.

Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove

A New Look at Idolatry and Slave Labor

Jewish Week Online Columnist

Idolatry (avoda zara) is one of the gravest sins in the Torah. In fact, it is one of three sins for which one must accept death before succumbing (Yoma 82a). But is it merely an ancient relic? As 21st-century Jews who have demythologized the world, we simply cannot relate to the worship of trees, rivers, and statues. Nonetheless, today’s desire for idolatry is as strong as ever, clothed deceptively in new forms such as slave labor and unethical consumption.

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

The Source Of Israel’s Security


Candlelighting, Readings:
Shabbat candles: 5:23 p.m.
Torah: Exodus 25:1- 27:19
Haftarah: I Kings 5:26-6:13    
Havdalah: 6:23 p.m.         

“They shall make a Sanctuary for Me, so that I may dwell among them” [Exodus 25:8].

“This Temple that you build… if you follow My decrees… I shall dwell among the Children of Israel and I shall not forsake My people Israel” [I Kings 6:11, haftarah].

Shlomo Riskin

The Sins Of Pat Buchanan

Special To The Jewish Week

Better late, even extremely, excruciatingly late, than never.  MSNBC’s decision to oust Patrick Buchanan as its arch-conservative political commentator last week was long overdue.

Menachem Z. Rosensaft

Mormon Posthumous Baptism, Again


The perennial controversy over the Mormon Church performing posthumous proxy baptisms on Jews is not only back in the news this week, but highlighting two people who are iconic symbols in their respective religions.

On Tuesday, Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace laureate, called on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to urge his fellow church leaders to stop performing the proxy baptisms.

Toward Gap-Year Consensus


One of the outcomes of the controversy over Rav Aharon Bina and his Netiv Aryeh yeshiva in Jerusalem is the increased attention focused on the fact that teens who spend a year in Israel are to a large degree on their own, with their parents often in the dark about the policies and intellectual and emotional environment of the institutions where they have sent their children.

Want What You Have


After the opening declaration of the Ten Commandments, “I am the Lord your God,” we get action. All the commandments mandate some behavior: keeping the Sabbath, honoring parents and so forth. Then comes the final commandment — “Do not covet.” This is not a behavioral prescription. How can the Torah tell us what to feel?

Bettering Israel Without Battering Israel

Editor And Publisher

Amid all the discussion and debate these days over how to talk about Israel publicly without making things worse — that is, exacerbating the divide between left and right — there is one group that has a proven track record of framing tough issues in a sophisticated, nuanced and creative way to foster substantive dialogue.

Gary Rosenblatt

Jewish Law Is Clear


If it’s true that Rav Bina publicly shames certain students whom he believes he needs to discipline, the issue is clear: time and again Jewish law forbids public humiliation — no ifs, ands or buts. See Rabbi Daniel Z. Feldman’s scholarly but accessible book, “The Right and the Good, Halakhah and Human Relations.” The first chapter: “Emotional Homicide: Embarrassing Others.” Amazing. How Joseph, the Egyptian viceroy held back from shaming his brothers who either sold him into slavery or left him for dead. 

Tough Love Is Not Abuse


Where do we draw the line between healthy tough love and verbal abuse? Was Rav Bina’s approach, perhaps, a misguided one?

I am torn.

My tendency is to empathize with the victims and feel pained by the stories I’ve heard and the experiences that I myself had to endure when things were less-than-sunny in mine and Rav Bina’s interesting relationship. But I trusted him. I did then. I do now.

And this has made all the difference.

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