Learning To Filter Our Speech

06/09/2016 - 14:27

Rabbis both old and new have done a pretty good job teaching about the dangers of “lashon harah,” most commonly translated as slander, or malicious gossip. The most common way this manifests itself is when the offending language is being used offstage, behind the scenes, so that the offended party is not aware of it until it comes out in a more public way.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Ali’s Ring Cycle

06/07/2016 - 17:53
Special To The Jewish Week

I was walking through Rockefeller Center one spring afternoon about 30 years ago. There was a large knot of people in front of the NBC Building, which ordinarily wouldn’t have attracted my attention at all.

George Robinson

Banff, Albert: A Peak Vacation

Jews on the prairie in Banff, Alberta.

06/07/2016 - 13:07
Travel Writer

I was first acquainted with Banff when two good friends married in a spectacular mountaintop setting there about a decade ago. I still remember her twirling in a red dress, the vivid scarlet contrasting with the brilliant white of Alberta’s snowcapped Rockies.

The main drag in Banff, framed by Alberta’s snow-capped Rockies.  Wikimedia Commons

American Politics, Israeli Politics… Pick Your Poison

06/01/2016 - 13:58

Regarding the long simmering ill will between the governments of Israel and the United States, I am reminded of the pithy yet profound rabbinic comment on the episode of the Binding of Isaac in Genesis. In assessing whose behavior is more difficult to comprehend, Abraham, with his blind obedience to God’s terrifying command, or Isaac, who utters not a word though he intuits exactly what is happening, the rabbis commented simply “zeh lishhot, v’zeh lishahet.” “One was determined to slaughter, and the other was determined to be slaughtered.” Neither party is beyond reproach.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

An Eye On Packing

05/31/2016 - 15:06
Travel Writer

Recently on Twitter, I came across a vacation-packing checklist that included such items as a pocket square, binoculars and a travel steamer. There were 10 boxes to check in the shoe section alone.

With summer travel right around the corner, sometimes it makes sense to pack binoculars. Wikimedia Commons

Assessing The Risks Of Female Suicide Bombers

05/24/2016 - 12:58

Anat Berko is a member of the Knesset from the Likud Party who holds a doctorate in criminology and is a recognized terrorism expert. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had selected her for a Knesset seat in last year’s election, has appointed Berko to head the Knesset’s Subcommittee of Intelligence and Secret Services, which is within the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. She is the first woman to lead the subcommittee, which is the most classified in the government.

Anat Berko: First woman to lead Knesset Subcommittee of Intelligence and Secret Services.

Those Little-Town Blues

05/24/2016 - 12:56
Special To The Jewish Week

Throughout Anton Chekhov’s play, “Three Sisters,” the heroines of the title dream passionately but fruitlessly of returning to Moscow, the city of their childhood. Similarly, Jude Fawley, the title character of Thomas Hardy’s “Jude the Obscure” gazes on the spires of the far-off city of Christminster (a stand-in for Oxford), convinced that life there is far more exciting than in his rural village.

Ted Merwin

As American As Cherry Pie (And Challah)

Traverse City, Michigan makes for an ideal summer destination.

05/24/2016 - 12:41
Travel Writer

If cherry pie on July 4 is the ultimate expression of Americana, then the ultimate American destination for Independence Day weekend might be Traverse City, Mich. — home to the oldest and biggest festival celebrating the red, juicy summer fruit in all its glory.

Traverse City is home of the country’s oldest cherry pie festival. Wikimedia Commons

Post-Denominational Politics

05/19/2016 - 10:36
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Those who labor in the vineyards of the American Jewish community will readily attest to what sociologists have long known from their research: namely, that denominational affiliation among American Jews, particularly the non-Orthodox denominations, is waning.

Sanders supporters at a rally. Getty Images

New Program Stresses Global Jewish Life

05/17/2016 - 17:38
Staff Writer

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s leadership training program, Entwine, and Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion have announced a new Fellowship for Global Leaders, open to the school’s rabbinical, cantorial and education students. The program, established by philanthropist Jane Weitzman, a JDC board member, and her husband, shoe designer Stuart Weitzman, will train 15 men and women over the next five years, through a specially developed curriculum and visits to the 70 countries where the JDC operates.
The Jewish Week interviewed Ms. Weitzman by email; this is an edited transcript.

Jane Weitzman: “Global Jewish life … continues to fall below our communal radar.”
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