Editorial & Opinion

Distressed By Hooligans


As a pulpit rabbi and as an Orthodox Jew, I am deeply distressed by the harassment and violence that has been perpetrated by the hooligans of Beit Shemesh, Israel (“In Beit Shemesh, Modesty Wars,” Dec. 30).

All of their despicable actions are diametrically opposed to our Torah, Jewish tradition and the teachings of any and all Jewish leaders.

So that my silence not be misconstrued as passive acceptance of their horrid behavior, I condemn it in the strongest terms — as do the vast, overwhelming majority of Orthodox Jews all over the world.

Defends Controversial Yeshiva


Joshua Mitnick’s article, “Amid Settler Crackdown, Hilltop Town And Its Yeshiva Still Defiant” (Dec. 23) raises alarms about, in his words, the “hilltop youth” the “vigilantes” and the “fringe group of settlers marauding through Palestinian villages and [engaging in] mosque burnings.” There is great controversy over whether or not the government is cracking down sufficiently on these “Jewish terrorists” led by their rabbis who are “inciting the youth.”

Attention To Special Needs


We would like to thank Jonathan Mark for his article, “More Needed For Special Jews” (Dec. 16), which described the Ruderman Conference and some of the wonderful work being done in the Jewish community in relation to individuals with disabilities. It is inspiring to learn that so many communities are interested in creating more fully inclusive environments for all of their members. We also cannot agree more with Felicia Herman about the importance of including a conversation about disabilities in every Jewish communal conversation.

Inclusive Jewish Community


Thank you for spotlighting the enormous contribution that philanthropist Jay Ruderman is making to raise the consciousness of the world Jewish community about our obligation to include and support people with disabilities as full members of our community (“More Needed For Special Jews,” Dec. 16).

Acts Of Kindness


I felt it important to respond to the essay by Avram Mlotek, a caring, wonderful young man who has brightened my ailing, frail brother’s life through his songs, warmth and Yiddish communication (“My Lunch Breaks With Joe,” Back of the Book, Dec. 30).

Deinstitutionalizing Abuse

Special To The Jewish Week

A school social worker called me recently. She wanted to ask me a question but asked if she could remain anonymous. She knew that I just published a book on the topic of abuse in the Jewish community and had heard me speak about some of the research I was doing at a professional meeting. What she went on to describe was unfortunately not unique. A student in her school had told her that one of his teachers was touching him inappropriately.

Michael J. Salamon

When Universalist Truths Are Particular

Special To The Jewish Week

Candlelighting, Readings:
Shabbat candles: 4:25 p.m.
Torah: Genesis 47:28-50:26
Haftarah: I Kings 2:1-12
Havdalah: 5:29 p.m.

Few biblical prophecies have generated as much heat as this week’s blessing of Judah: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet.” The verse following, however, adds the caveat, ad sheyavo shiloh, and therein lies the problem.

Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman

Making MLK Day A Day Of Service

Special To The Jewish Week

Next weekend, many of us will be enjoying a long, holiday break because of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. We might see this as a time to sleep late, meet friends for brunch, take in a movie or relax on a short family holiday.

Susan Kohn and Stefanie Greenberg

Skydiving Through Life: We Are Responsible for the Present

Jewish Week Online Columnist


When I was in college, I went skydiving over the plains of Texas. Three years later, wanting to relive that unique moment of transcendence and tested limits, I went skydiving again, this time over the Swiss Alps. Ten years later, I’ve learned to embrace a spiritual alternative to jumping out of planes.

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

Is The Jewish People Better Off Today Than It Was A Year Ago?

Editor And Publisher

If you’re an optimist and were asked to name three of the most significant Jewish events of the past 12 months, you might cite the release and emotional homecoming of Gilad Shalit after more than five years in captivity; the protest movement that spread across the Arab world, signaling an end or challenge to autocratic rule and a push for democracy; and a Jerusalem-Washington relationship bolstered by new military and strategic advances, and politically by America’s decisive efforts to thwart Palestinian efforts to achieve statehood through the United Nations and to prevent a nu

Gary Rosenblatt
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