Editorial & Opinion

When Jewish Foundations Ignore Core Needs

Special To The Jewish Week

Gary Rosenblatt’s column on foundations’ priorities in “Why Funders Need to Embrace Failure” (Jan. 6) will hopefully set off a discussion about basic community needs and how we can do better in the future. Most of the large Jewish foundations are caught up in funding “cutting-edge” or “funky” Jewish trends and social networking projects. While some are successful in building new models that have real impact, many duplicate existing efforts or, worse yet, miss the boat entirely.   

William Rapfogel

Stop Enabling Our Jewish Fanatics

Special To The Jewish Week

A number of years ago the Agudath Ha-Rabonim, a relatively small group of right-wing Orthodox rabbis, declared that Conservative and Reform Judaism were “outside of Torah and outside of Judaism.” Much has been written to justify and rationalize their statement. I found it offensive, but for argument’s sake let’s say they are right — more importantly let’s say that in fact they are the true spokespeople for the application of halacha (Jewish law).

David Sable

Gambling: More Than A Fun Game Of Cards?

Jewish Week Online Columnist

Anyone who has held a lottery ticket knows the thrill of taking a gamble. Personally, I recall the emotional intensity of the poker games in the basement of my friend’s house as a child. With money on the table, even as a 12 year-old, this friendly get together was no longer a game. Five years later, I recall passing through an Atlantic City casino on a family trip shocked to see it full of yarmulke-wearing Jews.  I wondered if gambling was an acceptable Jewish sport.

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

Striking Contrast


The heartfelt editorial, “Why The Delay in Ethiopian Jewish Aliyah?” (Dec. 30), was right on the mark.

Reform The System


In your article (“In Beit Shemesh, Modesty Wars,” Dec.30), I was glad to see a protest that included the backing by all streams of the Modern Orthodox young girl who was frightened to walk to her school.

It is time for total government reform in Israel so that any prime minister in charge is not held hostage by a coalition agreement to a particular party in this outdated parliamentary system. A change would guarantee that extremist would lose political power.

Supports Yitzhar Yeshiva


Joshua Mitnick’s article, “Amid Settler Crackdown, Hilltop Town And Its Yeshiva Still Defiant” (Dec. 23), raises alarms about 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.”

Parental Pride


While Uri [Westrich] did say, “my parents were not exactly thrilled” (“For YU Grad, Video Career Maccabeats Medicine,” Dec 30), he actually went on to say that his parents have been supportive. 

With seven million hits on YouTube and counting, we think any parent would be proud. “Pirsumei Nisa,” to make known the miracles of Chanukah, has a new medium in the age of the Internet. Uri has created professional, fun videos that present the Maccabeats and the holidays through a Jewish lens.

Teaneck, N.J.

When Teen Doesn’t Fit


Leonard Saxe’s “Engaging Teens Through a Jewish Service Corps” (Opinion, Dec. 30) culminates with a study travel program intending to make a “major inflection point.” The proposal needs to be counterbalanced with a transfer option for those registered for Israel programs with which they are instantly uncomfortable and need alternatives.

How We Work With Teens Is Key


Engaging teens by melding Jewish values with secular passions and interests is a formula proposed by Leonard Saxe (“Engaging Teens Through a Jewish Service Corps,” Opinion, Dec. 30) as he advocates for a communal mobilization to create a national Jewish service corps for a post-high school gap year.

The challenges outlined in a new study on teen engagement — presented by The Jewish Education Project and UJA-Federation of New York — prompt this notion, and beg for our attention and design of real solutions to make Judaism relevant for our teens.

In Messianic Times


The history of messianism in Judaism is the history of false and failed Messiahs. Some were earnest but wrong; others were clever pretenders. But there is also no complete agreement as to what the messianic time, when it arrives, will bring. Some scholars are supernaturalists, believing that it will result in the overturning of nature. Others, most notably Maimonides, are more restrained in their vision.

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