When a Fortune Cookie isn’t Enough: Three Models for Making Tough Decisions

Jewish Week Online Columnist


An hour after I got home from a month-long business trip to China last fall, I was hungry again – hungry to go back. Last year, I hankered for the excitement of living alone abroad, for the challenge of communicating in a new language, and for the autonomy of having nobody else’s opinion to consider in making my decisions. (Of course, it’s cold comfort to have complete control of the remote when there’s nothing on television in English).

Deborah Grayson Riegel

Are Zoos Ethical?

Jewish Week Online Columnist


Q – Given the recent Ohio tragedy involving a private zoo, in which dozens of exotic animals were killed, I was wondering whether it is ethical to have such zoos in the first place.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Take On Me: What is Your Jewish “Aha Moment?”

Jewish Week Online Columnist


Recently, a congregant told me about a wonderful program in which she participated as a teenager. While on a youth group retreat, the attendees were asked to reflect on big, defining moments for their involvement in Judaism. They were asked if they could identify one event which was a turning point, which led them to say to themselves, “Hey, I like this Judaism thing, and I want it to be a part of my life.”

Rabbi Marci N. Bellows

PresenTense: Fostering Innovation Through Idea Slam

Aaron Herman sits in on a forum to brainstorm great ideas with the folks from PresenTense.

A Somber Anniversary

Staff Writer

In Berlin, Gleis 17 (railroad platform 17) means more than a transportation site.

It’s where part of the Final Solution began.

The first deportations of Jews from the capital of the Third Reich started 70 years ago last week on Track 17 of the Berlin Grunewald station, with 1,000 people bound for the Lodz ghetto in Poland. The date was commemorated with a ceremony in which Holocaust survivors, leaders of the current Jewish community and German politicians took part.

Photo By Getty Images

New Brand, But Still Green

Associate Editor

Even diehard “reduce, reuse and recycle” proponents have to get something new occasionally.

Just before Rosh HaShanah, the 18-year-old beacon of Jewish environmentalism, the Teva Learning Center, acquired a new website, new logo and new name: Teva Learning Alliance. A few weeks later, it became one of 50 nonprofits included in the seventh annual Slingshot: Resource Guide for Jewish Innovation.

Nili Simhai, Teva Learning Alliance’s co-director, says community could use “deeper rootedness in Jewish ecological literacy.”

A Different Roman Holiday

Travel Writer

We were in Apulia, lounging on beaches along Italy’s coastal heel, when it occurred to my husband and me that both we and our rental car needed to be dropped off in Rome — 400 miles and two metropolitan traffic jams away.

We could have booked an airport hotel and written off the last day as a multi-hour schlep. But we wanted to extend our beach vacation to the very last possible hour — and in doing so we hit upon some inspired, even under-sung corners of Roman charm.

The beach at Anzio, located on a scenic point just south if Fiumicino. Photos by Hilary Larson

Sorry About That

Special To The Jewish Week

I don’t know about you, but I made a lot of mistakes this past year. I forgot to pick up my kids at school once. I gained weight in all the wrong places. I was consistently late in writing this column — and in just about everything else of importance in my life.

This is par for the course, and most of the time, after purging myself on Yom Kippur, I can make it at least to Sukkot before a new mistake haunts me — usually in the form of an injury to myself or a small child during the construction of the sukkah in our backyard.

Daniel Schifrin

Sukkot 2.0

Aaron Herman checks out some innovative sukkahs, including a portable one.

Gilad Shalit: How Do You Measure The Life Of A Man?

Jewish Week Online Columnist

The title of this piece is, of course, taken from the painful but magnificent song from Jonathan Larson’s RENT titled “Seasons of Love.”  As two of the protagonists are slowly dying from AIDS, their friends struggle to assess the value of their lives, which they know will end far too early.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik
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