Allen I. Fagin, a prominent attorney and former chairman of the Proskauer Rose law firm here, was appointed executive vice president and chief professional officer of the Orthodox Union in April after spending more than 20 years as an unpaid officer of the organization. He is the first person without rabbinic ordination to assume the role.
Two years ago, on erev Shavuot, my grandmother, Bea Papo, died at 98. In a column I wrote about her just afterwards I focused on the arc of her last journey, the 40 days between Passover and Shavuot. At the seder she announced that she was about to make her final trip, explaining that “In the last few days I have been trying to imagine how an old woman might feel and act when forced to leave behind her roots and her whole life.”
In the new French movie “Bicycling with Molière” — terrific fun, by the way — the actors Fabrice Lucchini and Lambert Wilson bicycle around a picturesque French island while trading barbs and lines from Molière’s play “The Misanthrope.”
The island, Île de Ré, may be unknown to most Americans. But this 18-mile spit of land north of Bordeaux and south of Brittany is a classic summer resort — the Martha’s Vineyard of France, you might say.
“My late husband wished me to re-marry,” said Judy Brown, “but it took me sixteen years. At first, I couldn’t even think about a second marriage, and then when I was ready, there was no one waiting in line to meet me.”
Conventions often take professionals to exotic locations, not least of all to entice potential participants to attend. Dallas was not chosen for my rabbinic convention- the Rabbinical Assembly- because it's exotic. It actually has a significant Jewish community, and our new president, Rabbi Bill Gershon, leads a major congregation there.
For a minor holiday, Lag b’Omer draws a major crowd.
The 33rd day in the Sefira period of counting the Omer daily between Passover and Shavuot (lag is the Hebrew acronym for 33), Lag b’Omer has grown into a celebration that crosses the nation in Israel, and crosses denominational barriers in the United States.
The Jewish Theological Seminary professors who signed my diploma 50 years ago were names for the ages: Heschel, Kaplan, Lieberman, Finkelstein. As a student, I also studied with the likes of Baron, Scholem and notable junior profs. They all decided that I had learned enough to be called “rabbi, teacher and preacher.” I was skeptical. How did I ever pass their muster? In retrospect, I’m grateful that their greatest generosity was in allowing me to study not only with great scholars but also with great Jews.
A Jewish state without control of the sacred site is a 'contradiction,' says Moshe Feiglin.
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Moshe Feiglin is a deputy speaker of Israel’s Knesset, which joined a member of the Likud Party in January 2013. At the last election for his party’s head, he ran second to Benjamin Netanyahu. Feiglin, 51, is also president of Manhigut Yehudit (The Jewish Leadership Movement), which is the largest faction inside Likud. During his first year in office, he was the only coalition member to vote to end the Oslo “land for peace” process and to oppose the budget in order to prevent the release of Arab terrorists as part of a deal that restarted Palestinian peace talks. Feiglin was in New York last week. This is an edited transcript.
Wherever you stop along the way, to traverse U.S. Route 66 is to retrace the mythic American westward journey — the same journey undertaken, often with unimaginable hardship, by generations of pioneers, Jewish and otherwise.
At the annual convention of the Rabbinical Assembly this coming week in Dallas, Texas, my two-year term as President of the Assembly will come to an end. Not surprisingly, I approach this transition with mixed feelings – glad to hand over the considerable day-to-day responsibilities of the presidency of an international professional organization to a colleague, but also aware that a door is closing on a very special opportunity.