Editorial & Opinion

Belief And Doubt



On Thanksgiving we are grateful for what we have and mindful of what others lack. It is a good time to ask — what do we really believe?

Some people believe in a God who grants good to the one who prays most or behaves best. Such people might wish to read the book of Job, or look out the window; they will discover that ease and anguish are unevenly distributed in this world and follow no discernible pattern of reward.

Romney Or Not, We Can Learn From The Mormons

Editor And Publisher

Sitting around the Shabbat table, a friend posed a question: “Now that it looks like Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee, how should we respond as Jews to the fact that he’s a Mormon?”

Gary Rosenblatt

Celebrating Women’s Advances


Perhaps the most distinctive aspect of the first major communal dinner for JOFA, the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Association, held this past Sunday evening, was the sense of pride in and celebration of the accomplishments of the organization, founded in 1997.

Though often on the defensive and frustrated in their efforts to press the Orthodox establishment to expand opportunities for women in the areas of spiritual, ritual and intellectual life, within the framework of halacha, the women of JOFA set aside Sunday evening to mark the inroads they have made.

Tahrir Square, Again


With each passing day Mideast tensions seem to grow deeper and more complex, and the notion of an “Arab Spring” that brought such hope to millions 10 months ago seems particularly naïve now as violence has returned to Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

The Uphill Battle To Expose Abusers

Special To The Jewish Week

Before 2005, I knew little about child sexual abuse. That year, I was approached by a friend, now 44, who was molested as a teenager by two prominent figures in the Brooklyn ultra-Orthodox Jewish community: a teacher in a respected yeshiva, and a renowned chasidic therapist.

When my friend reported the teacher’s abuse to the school’s dean, my friend and his family were intimidated into inaction. A communal taboo against reporting a Jew to the secular authorities meant calling the police was not an option.

Ben Hirsch

Whose Child Is This?

Special To The Jewish Week

Candlelighting, Readings:
Shabbat candles: 4:14 p.m.
Torah: Genesis 25:19-28:9
Haftarah: I Samuel 20:18-42
Havdalah: 5:15 p.m.

One of the very worst of the curses in Deuteronomy 28 is that “you will bear children and they will not be yours” [Deut. 28:41]. This week’s portion of Toldot is very much concerned with the question of whose children will Jacob and Esau be — Isaac or Rebecca’s? — and what kind of continuity will there be between the generations.

Beth Kissileff

Jewish Giving In The Global Village

Special To The Jewish Week

When 18-year-old Margot Haas visited Rwanda’s Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village on a summer service and learning trip, she was described by her mom as “ambiently Jewish.” The term itself reflects the gap between what so many “next generation” Jews think of themselves and how they are thought of by their parents and teachers. 

Brad Hirschfield and Erik Ludwig

The Problem of Overpopulation & The Command to Procreate

Jewish Week Online Columnist


The United Nations has declared that the 7th billion person in the world was just born. Further, they have announced that since 1960, we’ve been adding a billion people to the earth every 12 to 13 years.

Rabbi Yanklowitz is Founder and President of Uri L’Tzedek, Director of Jewish Life and Senior Jewish Educator at UCLA Hillel.

Recovering The Transformative And Ethical Power Of Music

Jewish Week Online Columnist


After decades of dry piano, violin, and guitar lessons, I finally retired without any real merits forfeiting my hopes of ever becoming a rock star or fiery composer. Only recently have I realized that music is still at the core of my Jewish spiritual and ethical passion. Singing at protests, including melodies into activist storytelling, and opening my heart to new ideas and ideals while listening to powerful symphonies have changed the way I feel and interact with the world.

Rabbi Yanklowitz is Founder and President of Uri L’Tzedek, Director of Jewish Life and Senior Jewish Educator at UCLA Hillel.

Uneven Young Israel Policy


Regarding the article, “Amid Upheaval, National Council of Young Israel Celebrates 100th” (Nov. 11), the Council is not applying evenly the right to take a disenfranchised branch’s assets. When the Young Israel of Fifth Avenue left the movement to become the 16th Street Synagogue, the Council did not take its assets.

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