Editorial & Opinion

Increased Ethiopian Aliyah Reflects Jewish Values

03/01/2012 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

After months of disappointment, debate and distress, the Israeli Government this week announced that it will increase the number of Ethiopian Jews that will be brought to Israel on aliyah. The Government had decided in 2010 to permit the remaining 8600 Ethiopian Jews to emigrate from Ethiopia at the rate of 200 a month. Unfortunately, after a short time, they disappointingly reduced the number to 110 a month.

 Rabbi Epstein is chief Israel Affairs officer of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.

Who Wrote the Torah? Committed Theology in an Age of Skepticism

02/28/2012 - 19:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

It is the question that so many wonder but few investigate, about which we are long on opinion but short on fact: “Who wrote the Torah?” One might think this would be the most basic question in Jewish learning and thought since of the three primary theological paradigms of religion—creation, revelation, and redemption—revelation most profoundly captivates our human lived experience. How in an age of skepticism can we fully embrace the Jewish tradition? 

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

In Defense Of JFK On Church-State

02/27/2012 - 19:00

Rick Santorum’s comment that John Kennedy’s famous 1960 speech on the importance of church-state separation almost made him “throw up” gave us a tinge of nausea, concerned that he was misrepresenting an important issue.

Kennedy, the Democratic nominee for president at the time, sought to reassure the nation that his Catholic faith would not prejudice his views on what was best for America.

“I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute,” Kennedy told the Houston Ministerial Association.

Narrowing The Religious-Secular Gap

02/27/2012 - 19:00

In 1948, when the State of Israel was founded, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion made an accommodation for full-time yeshiva students to serve their country by studying Torah rather than enlisting in the army. There were only 400 such young men at the time, and Ben-Gurion believed the number would diminish.

New Grandchild, Ancient Ritual

02/27/2012 - 19:00
Editor And Publisher

Last week our family participated in a ritual commanded in the Torah and associated with the birth of a baby boy, a mitzvah that has become increasingly rare in Jewish life: the Pidyon HaBen, or redemption of the firstborn son, which applies in only an estimated 5 to 10 percent of Jewish births.

What follows are a few thoughts about the little-explored custom and the little boy who has been the focus of my thoughts in recent days.

Gary Rosenblatt

New Age, New Reality

02/27/2012 - 19:00

When asked if he wanted the King of Rome one day to replace him, Napoleon declared, “Replace me? I could not replace myself! I am the child of circumstances.” That idea was dramatized by Stephen Vincent Benet in his story “A Curfew Tolls,” in which an Englishman residing on the Mediterranean coast of France meets a retired, frustrated French artillery major. It turns out to be Napoleon, born a few decades too early to conquer.

Great Neck Pride

02/27/2012 - 19:00

While reading Gary Rosenblatt’s otherwise thoughtful column, “From a Sephardic Scholar, An ‘Enlightened’ Torah Approach” (Jan. 13), I did double and triple takes as I reeled from his observation: “Sadly, I have come to realize how far apart and sometimes distrustful the Ashkenazic and Sephardic communities can be of each other, even when living in close proximity (Great Neck, for example), and how little, even today, mainstream American Jewry understands and appreciates the Sephardic worldview.”

Lew On Iran

02/27/2012 - 19:00

The story, “U.S. General’s Iran Comments Sharpen Rift With Israel” (Feb. 24), inaccurately conveyed the tenor of White House chief of staff Jack Lew’s remarks.

Our notes reflect that he said, “At the core, there is no difference [between the U.S. and Israel] on Iran. Iran cannot and should not develop a nuclear capacity. I hope that no difference exists [regarding a timetable]. If we did not believe there was time we would not be waiting.”

Anne Frank’s Legacy

02/27/2012 - 19:00

Lately, a Google News Alert for “Anne Frank” has filled our inbox with a range of online content relating to the famous diarist and Holocaust victim (“Anne, For A New Generation,” Feb. 24).

Civil Agunah Case

02/27/2012 - 19:00

The sadness felt by Jonathan Mark over the dissolution of marriages (“Tales Of The Broken Glass, Feb. 24) was movingly expressed, but some of his facts need to be corrected.

While I strongly believe that any abuse of halacha is reprehensible, my words were misunderstood to endorse Mark’s view that equivalency exists in the legal positions, and therefore in the vulnerabilities, of husbands and wives, and that they are equally likely to abuse halacha to secure a divorce. 

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