In just a few hours, I’ll be leaving for ten days in Israel, bringing with me fifty members of my congregation, as well as my wife and the Educational Director of our synagogue’s Religious School. I can no longer remember how many of these trips I’ve led during the past thirty years, and that is a very good thing indeed. One of the things I’m proudest of in my rabbinate is having introduced many members of my community to Israel for the first time. There is a special joy in that for me, and the feeling never grows old.
There is a great deal of talk swirling around about my movement- the Conservative movement- and its state of being. The lead article in this week’s print edition of The Jewish Week reports on a new strategic plan for the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, and the changes that it is intending to make in both its organizational structure and sphere of operations. The article implies- not too subtly- that the proposed changes reflect an organization, and a movement, in crisis.
Shortly after my vacation this past summer in California, I wrote a piece for this column about California and its charms. Having slowly and lovingly driven the Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to Los Angeles, I lamented how coming back to New York City- which I admittedly love- was not so easy. Concrete jungle and all that….
My youngest son, who is a senior in the Abraham Joshua Heschel High School in Manhattan, is studying economics for the first time, and he’s finding it fascinating.
His teacher is introducing the basics of marketing, and the dynamics that drive the consumer market. Each student has been assigned to focus on a particular product, and assess how the advertising for that product has shaped the marketplace’s opinion of it, and, of course, sales.
There is an expression still used in modern Hebrew that is actually obsolete. I suspect that people still use it because it’s so wonderfully expressive. It is what Israelis say when someone finally “gets it,” when he/she actually understands what’s going on, and gets the point. The expression is “nafal ha’asimon:” the phone token has fallen.
Or, Why It’s Hard to Make a Minyan in a Snowstorm in Queens
Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik
Special to the Jewish Week
Writing an on-line article is a tricky business.
When you write for a hard copy local newspaper, which the Jewish Week is in the New York area, you are, essentially, writing for a local audience. New Yorkers will catch the regional references that won’t necessarily make sense to people reading my article online in, say, Des Moines, Chicago, or, for that matter, Jerusalem.
It wasn’t all that long ago that, in the immediate aftermath of Barack Obama’s sweeping victory in the race for President, more than a few pundits were declaring that America had become a “post-racist society.” I wish it were so, but I’m sure it’s not.
My wife and I are blessed with four wonderful children, two of whom are married, and the third a sophomore in college. Our youngest child- a son- is eighteen and a senior in high school. And like his friends, he is living through those weeks of high anxiety when college acceptances- and the other letters- are sent out.