A Rabbi's World

Weekly reflections from Gerald C. Skolnik, the rabbi of Forest Hills Jewish Center and a leader in the Conservative movement.

Not Just Another Rosh Hashanah

10/07/2016 - 12:50
Special To The Jewish Week

In the days and weeks leading up to Rosh Hashanah, 5777, most Jewish newspapers and more than a few secular ones featured articles on how rabbis would integrate the current American presidential elections into their sermons, if at all.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

The Bibi Chronicles, Continued

09/23/2016 - 17:43
Special To The Jewish Week

Read carefully, because it doesn’t happen too often. I’m about to express just a little bit of sympathy for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Thank You NY City Council For Standing Up To BDS

09/15/2016 - 11:41
Special To The Jewish Week


Even here in New York, where so many Jews make their home and are politically active, it takes a fair share of courage these days for politicians to take a bold, principled stand on matters relating to Israel. Criticizing Israel has become a blood sport on college campuses, and often in political circles as well. Nowhere is this more evident than with the BDS movement– the move to bring Israel to her knees via economic boycott and divestment and sanctions in international arenas and organizations


Back In The Saddle…

09/08/2016 - 15:40

For as long as I’ve been a practicing rabbi, I’ve taken most of my vacation time in the month of August. Most rabbis—by far the majority—vacation in July, feeling that August is too close to the Holidays. It makes them anxious to be away then. I’m exactly the opposite. I’m all for preparing, but since July is customarily a very slow month work-wise, I’ve never quite understood why to take vacation then. I’d rather “get out of Dodge” when everyone else is getting increasingly antsy about what lies ahead!

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Kamtza Bar Kamtza And Donald Trump

08/04/2016 - 10:43

On his show this week, Stephen Colbert said that he goes into each program wanting to talk about something other than Donald Trump, but somehow or other he’s always pulled back into the vortex. I feel somewhat the same way. I sit down to write wanting to talk about something else, anything else, but it’s hard to avoid talking about Donald Trump. Every day the story gets richer, and more bizarre.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Arguments for the Sake of Heaven… And Not

07/27/2016 - 12:19

It is well known that the single greatest Jewish legal text, the Talmud, is built on a foundation of disagreements. In fact, those disagreements were indispensable to the eventual adjudication of the laws themselves, because the truth that was to inform the law was ultimately found in the dialectic of the dialogues of the discussants.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

A Modest Proposal on Conversion

07/15/2016 - 04:42
Special To The Jewish Week

The recent flap over the Israeli Chief Rabbinate's refusal to recognize conversions to Judaism conducted by my esteemed colleague Rabbi Haskel Lookstein has left me feeling yet again that we are very far away—as far as we have ever been—from solving this problem, all statements to the contrary by Prime Minister Netanyahu notwithstanding.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

A Death That Impoverishes Us All: Saying Farewell To Elie Wiesel

07/07/2016 - 11:33

Jews and non-Jews from all walks of life, from the world-famous to the most humble, have already written eloquent, pained obituaries for Elie Wiesel, whose death last Shabbat came upon us like a punch in the stomach for which we were ill-prepared, despite his illness. I humbly add these words.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Deciding What To Speak About On Shabbat

07/02/2016 - 16:08

As I began to contemplate appropriate topics for my Shabbat sermon last week, it felt like that the world was feeding new and urgent things for us to worry about almost every day.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Who Knows Where the Time Goes?

06/23/2016 - 16:25

Come this September, my wife Robin and I will be celebrating our fortieth wedding anniversary, a relatively rare event in this era of late marriage and frequent divorce. That span of time has afforded us the precious opportunity to bring four beautiful children into this world and raise them, each different from the other, each progressing slowly but steadily from cradle to independence. It has been an unending source of stimulation, laughter, and tears. That doesn’t stop no matter how old they get.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik
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