I agree with Gary Rosenblatt (“On Rotem Conversion Bill, Focus Should Be On Israel,” Aug. 6) that on the Rotem bill the primary, though not exclusive, focus should be on Israel. Israel is the homeland and state for all Jews. Israel is home to growing, vibrant Reform, Conservative and spiritual communities and to the majority of Jews who do not choose any formal religious affiliation or practice.
The government of Israel will be losing a key and effective diplomat in New York just when it needs her most.
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gabriela Shalev, highly praised for her low-key, thoughtful and compassionate work these last two years, is returning to Israel and her academic life at the end of this month on the eve of what some Israeli officials here are already predicting will be a “Black September” for the Jewish state at the UN.
Having spent almost 13 years in Jewish education, and the last four as a head of school, I am intimately familiar with the question of day school viability. I am fortunate to have been involved, in an advisory capacity, with Yeshiva University and Avi Chai, and I have heard a number of important, thought-provoking, and creative ideas to improve the quality and affordability of our day schools.
A provocative question is circulating in the Jewish community: Can day schools survive, given the reality of reduced philanthropic support in this economic climate? While this is a vitally important question, it misses two salient points.
First, there is strong evidence that the day school field is not only surviving, but is a resilient, thriving enterprise. Enrollment decreases this past year were smaller than originally feared; we have seen significant enrollment growth at 50 non-Orthodox schools nationwide; and school closures, while painful, have been few.
The recent wedding of Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky has triggered a spate of articles about interfaith marriage, rabbinic officiation, co-officiation with Christian clergy and the like. Considerably less attention has been focused on the fact that the wedding took place on a Saturday before nightfall. Perhaps this was deemed less newsworthy because it has become so commonplace. I’m asking myself whether the most publicized Shabbat wedding in American Jewish history might have the unintended consequence of questioning anew the propriety of performing weddings on the Sabbath.
The disclosure by The Jewish Week of the $7 million fraud at the Claims Conference has revived former concerns and exposed new problems relating to the management of this important Jewish organization.
The month of Elul is a time in which we pause and reflect upon our past year to engage in teshuva (repentance). I often ask myself: Are we alone in our attempts to change and grow? The Talmud suggests that God actually engages in teshuva (Megillah 29a). Can this radical suggestion that God grows, evolves, adapts with the times, and experiences redemption pass as an authentic Jewish theology?