I read your very thoughtful piece on same-sex wedding announcements with great interest (“Tolerance, Tradition Collide Same-Sex Union Row,” Oct. 15). I am a psychiatrist in Houston. My partner and I have been together since 1979. Same-sex marriage is unconstitutional in Texas, but in June of 2008 we were married in California in a combined civil/religious ceremony, officiated by a Reform rabbi.
The Talmudic sages enumerate three great miracles in the desert. First was the manna, which fed the wandering Israelites. Miriam’s well provided water. And there was the covering of clouds that offered shade. One interpretation of the sukkah is that it commemorates the cloud covering in the desert.
The Steipler Gaon asks an intriguing question and gives a beautiful answer. Why of all three miracles does only the cloud covering deserve a holiday? There is no festival of the manna or the water, only Sukkot remembering the clouds.
On a spring night in 2009, four men whose friendships were forged in prison and later in a Newburgh mosque, drove down to Riverdale, that quiet Bronx neighborhood, with the intention of blowing up two synagogues. That their bombs were fake and Jews didn’t die was the singular doing of the FBI, which infiltrated that Newburgh mosque, kept tabs on the four and arrested the men before their evil — there is no other name for it — could come to its explosive conclusion.
In the long and sorry history of Mideast peace negotiations, the Palestinians have often flirted with the idea of gaining through unilateral declarations or United Nations action what they couldn't get through negotiations with Israel.
That was a bad idea in the past and it’s a bad idea today; the fact remains that the only route to the two-state solution Palestinian leaders say they support is through direct negotiations, with both sides willing and able to put internal politics aside and make the difficult compromises any settlement will require.
Anyone who reads the Bible is cognizant that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob played a fundamental role in early Jewish history. But what role, if any, did the matriarchs, specifically Sarah and subsequently Rebecca, play?
Growing up in Riverdale, I attended Salanter Akiba Riverdale Academy, known as SAR, a private, Jewish Modern Orthodox day school. The school is built on a hill overlooking the Hudson River, and, in a manner somewhat similar to step farming, is composed of various levels, on and between which there are no walls.
More than six decades after its establishment, Israel’s citizens have yet to develop a common, let alone positive, sense of belonging. How we meet this challenge will not only shape the future of the State of Israel, but also inevitably affect Jews everywhere.
Living in caravans in a small settlement town during my years learning in Israel, my dream was always to settle the land. As a religious Zionist, I feel that living in Israel is a tremendous and miraculous opportunity, and all Jews can and must consider making this life transition as we are all very familiar with the halakhic obligation of yishuv ha’aretz, the religious obligation to settle the Land of Israel. I would like to suggest, however, that in addition to this well-known imperative, there is also a crucial duty to reside in the Diaspora.
Reading about New York Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino's homophobic turn in front of an ultra-Orthodox audience last Sunday, my thoughts drifted back to painful memories of my middle school years.