The JW Q&A

A weekly interview with notable figures and names in the news.

Opening More ‘Portals’ For Reform Jews

Temple Emanu-El's new senior rabbi says his congregants want to be engaged on topics that matter.

12/02/2013 - 19:00
Managing Editor

When Joshua Davidson, 45, is installed as Temple Emanu-El’s senior rabbi this week, he will formally be taking over one of the country’s largest and highest-profile Reform synagogues, located on Fifth Avenue. The son of Rabbi Jerome Davidson, who served Temple Beth El in Great Neck, L.I., for more than 40 years, he most recently led Temple Beth-El of Northern Westchester. Rabbi Davidson succeeds Rabbi David Posner. The Jewish Week caught up with him last week via e-mail.

Rabbi Joshua Davidson: Taking over at Temple Emanu-El. Will Star

Vows To Serve The Young In Young Israel

Rabbi Perry Tirschwell vows to return the movement to its roots, and live up to its name.

11/25/2013 - 19:00
Staff Writer

Rabbi Perry Tirschwell became executive director of the National Council of Young Israel on Aug. 1 and vowed to revitalize the organization after an upheaval that saw a motion of no confidence in the leadership and threats by congregants to withhold donations.

Rabbi Perry Tirschwell: Wants to return movement “to its roots.”

JFK For A New Generation

Kennedy viewed American leadership as a 'moral imperative,' says the author of a new book.

11/18/2013 - 19:00
Contributing Editor

Believing that young people can benefit from President John F. Kennedy’s legacy of service and citizenship, Scott Reich, 30, an associate at Willkie Farr & Gallagher in midtown, authored “The Power of Citizenship: Why John F. Kennedy Matters to a New Generation” (BenBella Books).

Scott Reich: Fresh look at Camelot.

Masorti's FIght For Religious Pluralism

A lawyer and colonel, Yizhar Hess is head of the Conservative movement in Israel.
11/11/2013 - 19:00
Staff Writer

Yizhar Hess  has been executive director and CEO of the Masorti (Conservative) movement in Israel since 2007 and is known as one of the Israel’s leading voices promoting Jewish pluralism.

Yizhar Hess: Orthodox monopoly is a deterrent to many Israelis’ embrace of Judaism.

A Lens On The New Polish Jewry

11/04/2013 - 19:00
Staff Writer

Dina Kadisha Aspen, a Los Angeles-based filmmaker from an Iranian Jewish family, spent several weeks in Poland earlier this year documenting the post-Communism rebirth of Jewish life there. The result is “The Revival of Jewish Poland,” a 48-minute documentary, produced under the auspices of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s Entwine young leadership program.

Dina Aspen, left, accompanied by an American cousin, documented current Jewish life in Poland for new film.

SNL's Debbie Downer, On The Upswing

Comedienne Rachel Dratch dishes on dating disasters and an accidental pregnancy.
10/28/2013 - 20:00
Contributing Editor

From her days as Boston Teen Denise “Zazu” McDonough to her recurring appearance as Debbie Downer on “Saturday Night Live” from 1999 until 2006, Rachel Dratch has amused millions. In 2012, after becoming pregnant by accident at nearly 44, she penned an autobiographical book, “Girl Walks into a Bar: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle” (Gotham), about her journey from singlehood to motherhood and partnership with her baby’s father, John Wahl.

Former “SNL” cast member Rachel Dratch says she will raise her son “with Jewish influences.” Mary Ellen Matthews

Kosher Advice For President Clinton

An Englewood rabbi has corresponded with the former president for more than two decades.
10/21/2013 - 20:00
Staff Writer

Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of the Orthodox Union’s kosher division and spiritual leader of Congregation Shomrei Emunah in Englewood, N.J., has had another, unofficial, title for two decades — “Bill Clinton’s rabbi.” Since the rabbi and the then-presidential candidate met in 1992, they have engaged in what the former president calls “a written dialogue,” an exchange of thoughts on religious and ethical issues.

Rabbi Menachem Genack: President Clinton “is an enormous friend of Israel.”

Am I Too Late? Seeking Forgiveness from Someone Who Has Passed Away

10/20/2013 - 20:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

We all know that the work of asking for forgiveness from others is necessary, albeit difficult. What do we do when a person we have wronged has already passed away?

Rabbi Shuly Yanklowitz

Sanguine About Relations Between Catholics, Jews

10/14/2013 - 20:00

Betty Ehrenberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress, North America, has been elected the first woman chair of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC), the representative Jewish group that deals with other world religious bodies. (This week she is traveling to Madrid to take part in the biennial Catholic-Jewish summit). Ehrenberg took office July 1 for a two-year term.

Betty Ehrenberg: Pope Francis urges Christians to "understand Jewish history and traditions." Photo courtersy IJCIC

Hated At The Human Rights Council

Hillel Neuer, director of UN Watch, tries to hold the UN to its own charter and to fight anti-Israel bias.
10/08/2013 - 20:00
Staff Writer

Hillel Neuer is the executive director of UN Watch, which last month celebrated its 20th anniversary as a human rights NGO (non-governmental organization) at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

Hillel Neuer: On the lookout for anti-Israei bias at UN. Photo courtesy UN Watch
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