A Rabbi's World

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

When Nature Betrays Us

11/04/2012 - 19:00

Human beings crave predictability. And by and large, as regards the natural world, we have it. 

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik is the spiritual leader of the Forest Hills Jewish Center in Queens.

Looking At The Election From A Broader Perspective

10/25/2012 - 20:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

With the presidential election here in America under two weeks away, the incessant campaign pitches in all of our print and electronic media are virtually impossible to ignore.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik is spiritual leader of the Forest Hills Jewish Center

Making The Ordinary Sacred

10/18/2012 - 20:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

With the completion of the cycle of holidays that ushered in the new Jewish calendar year, one could almost hear the audible sigh of relief from all quarters of the Jewish community. No more sick days that need to be depleted, no more classes that need to be missed, no more relentless assault of unending, overwhelming holiday meals…we’ve been ready for this for a long time, and it feels awfully good to have reached the holiday-less month of Heshvan.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik is spiritual leader of the Forest Hills Jewish Center.

Civil Discourse: Reclaiming the Higher Ground

10/10/2012 - 20:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Even the most casual observer of the Jewish community over recent years will have noticed that we Jews seem to have a problem talking nicely to each other.  Because this problem usually manifests itself publicly around thorny and contentious issues, it’s easy to read it as the inevitable result of the passions generated by the issues themselves, and not necessarily the people involved.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik is the spiritual leader of the Forest Hills Jewish Center in Queens.

Of Savages And Civilized Men

10/03/2012 - 20:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

By the time this article is published, much will already have been written and spoken about the American Freedom Defense Initiative’s very crude ad that was placed in the most public of New York City spaces -- our subway system.

“In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.” 

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik is the spiritual leader of the Forest Hills Jewish Center in Queens.

The AWEsome Act of Prayer

09/20/2012 - 20:00

Awe – a concept that is so hard to grasp. There are not many things that produce in us a pure sense of awe. If you are like me, you may use the word “Awesome” in your daily speech, but rarely with a true feeling of something being full of awe. Awe seems to contain within it something….majestic….holy….and even fearsome. I think the key to this season, and the place it holds in so many of our lives, lies in this word: Awe.

Rabbi Marci N. Bellows

Memo to Bibi: What Are You Thinking?

09/19/2012 - 20:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Having made a private vow to myself to steer clear of politics during this High Holiday season, I write this article with considerable ambivalence.  The deepest truth is that it is not about the American presidential campaign per se, nor is it intended to indicate a preference for one candidate over another, though I won’t pretend not to have one.  The real issue that I want to address has to do with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and his obvious decision to insert himself- and Israel- into the American presidential campaign.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik is the spiritual leader of the Forest Hills Jewish Center in Queens.

It Never Gets Old

09/12/2012 - 20:00

I was walking my dog late one night this week when I encountered a neighbor from down the block, past whose house my dog and I invariably pass on this evening ritual. As most people will say to me in one form or another at this time of year, my neighbor offered the following greeting: “So, you’re entering into your busy season, yes?  Must be a lot of pressure.”

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik is the spiritual leader of the Forest Hills Jewish Center in Queens.

Democrats, Republicans and The Jewish Community

09/05/2012 - 20:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Now that Labor Day has come and gone, we have officially entered into the silly season of American politics.  The truth, of course, is that nothing about it is silly; quite the opposite.  But once the candidates are formally nominated and the campaign reaches its most intense stage, truth tends to take a leave of absence, hyperbole reigns, and promises are handed out like crisp one dollar bills.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik is the spiritual leader of the Forest Hills Jewish Center in Queens.

The Inevitable Call of Elul

08/21/2012 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

With your indulgence, I begin with an apology.  I had fully intended to write an article last week, but the overlap of my return from Japan and the deadline for completing and submitting the article, superimposed onto epic jet lag, simply overwhelmed me.  So to those of you who look for my articles and wondered why the article “teaser” appeared in the print edition but the article itself never made it online, I publicly and most sincerely do apologize.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik is the spiritual leader of the Forest Hills Jewish Center in Queens.
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