The subject of “How to Die in Oregon,” a documentary airing this on HBO, is of special interest to Rabbi Leonard A. Sharzer, a physician and the associate director for bioethics at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Directed by Peter D. Richardson, an independent filmmaker, the documentary offers a moving and powerful look at Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, a 1994 measure allowing physician-assisted suicide and the first law of its kind, by telling the stories of several people who died under the act.
A surprising highlight of a touching Torah dedication ceremony aboard the USS Iwo Jima last Wednesday at Pier 88 was the fact that the admiral of the ship, who received the scroll on behalf of the Navy from the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, happened to be Jewish.
(An estimated 1 percent of the U.S. military is Jewish.)
Adm. Herm Shelanski appeared moved by the ceremony, telling the 30 or so assembled JCRC representatives and guests that having a Torah on board is deeply meaningful not only to Jewish members of the crew but to all on board.
The biggest factor influencing summer travel this year may not be outlandish fuel prices, packed planes or even that pesky Icelandic volcano.
As far as I can tell, it’s the so-called Arab Spring that’s having the biggest effect. The ongoing political turmoil in places like Egypt, Libya and Syria has completely shifted this year’s vacation landscape across the Mediterranean, sending nervous travelers away from Morocco and Egypt to the European coasts. New Yorkers headed east will have to plan ahead.
Q - In the wake of recent sex scandals involving Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Time Magazine ran a cover story asking the rhetorical question, "What Makes Powerful Me Act Like Pigs?" Ethically speaking, how does Judaism account for this constant abuse of power by piggish men?
This past December, I wrote my (secular) New Year's Resolution article for the Jewish Week called, "Live Like a Movie Star.". In that article, I made a commitment - in print - that I would stop thinking about myself as a coach who just happens to write a column of careless musings, and to start regarding myself as a real writer.
In my third year of rabbinical school, I began a student pulpit in Florida. One part of my two-year experience there that will always stay with me involved my work with a prospective convert, Tammy. In the middle of my first year, she approached me to discuss the possibility of conversion to Judaism. She had read quite a bit about Judaism already, and she really felt that the Jewish community was her true home.