A Rabbi's World

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

There Are No Silly Questions

10/12/2011
Jewish Week Online Columnist

 

Over the years, I’ve had what must be tens of thousands of conversations with congregants, and strangers that I’ve met in the context of my work.  I couldn’t begin to count the number of times those conversations began with the words “Rabbi, can I ask you a silly question?” 

The good teacher — or should I say the wise teacher -— will tell you that there are no silly questions.  There are silly answers, to be sure, but very few if any silly questions.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

Making The New Year More Meaningful

10/06/2011
Jewish Week Online Columnist
What follows below is a very slightly edited version of the sermon I delivered on the first day of Rosh Hashanah in my own synagogue.  It was as much a personal statement about my own quest to invest life with meaning as it was a conventional sermon, but upon reflection... if that isn't legitimate fodder for a sermon, I'm not sure what is.

 
I hope that you find it meaningful, and I wish you all a G'mar Hatima Tovah-
 

Life In The Rabbinic Fast Lane

09/22/2011
Jewish Week Online Columnist

 

 

 

“’Twas the week before Rosh Hashanah…”

At this time of year, I am often greeted by friends and congregants with some version of “this is your busy season, isn’t it?” Accountants like to say that this is “The rabbi’s April.” The teller at my bank this morning, an Indian woman, said benignly, “you have some holidays coming up, don’t you?’

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

Moving Beyond 9/11

09/15/2011
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Some years ago, as I recuperated from serious orthopedic surgery on my ankle, I went to the surgeon’s office for a follow-up appointment. My recovery was in that awkward stage where I was no longer in a cast or on crutches, but clearly not foot loose and fancy free, either. I remember asking the doctor something along the lines of “how much is too much?” Should I be walking more or less if it hurts? Should I be pushing this recovery along, or would pushing it slow down my overall progress?

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

Social Justice and National Security

Israel at the Brink… Of What?

09/08/2011
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Taking Israel’s existential temperature right now and diagnosing exactly how to interpret what is going on there is no simple task.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

"Just Because You're Paranoid ...": The Fading Illusion Of Peace In Israel

08/24/2011
Jewish Week Online Columnist

 

Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics,

And the Catholics hate the Protestants,

And the Hindus hate the Moslems,

And everybody hates the Jews.

Tom Lehrer’s not around for me to ask him how he would feel about my playing with his lyrics. I wish he were. We could use his biting humor these days. But I think that, given where America and the world are at right now, if we were to change the last word of his refrain to “Israelis” instead of Jews, we’d have ourselves a reborn classic.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

Lurching Toward Elul: Tracking The Jewish Psyche

08/19/2011
Jewish Week Online Columnist

In the jargon of mental health professionals, when you say that someone’s “affect is labile,” it means that he/she tends to flip back and forth between different moods. It’s another way of saying that a person is behaving unpredictably, alternating between happy and sad, hope and despair, in ways that are hard to predict and liable to change at any moment.

 

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

From Moscow to Mickey: Living Jewish in the Land of Disney

08/11/2011
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Today’s world of incredibly fast travel and communication has created improbably jarring segues of time and space. But even given that fact, transitioning from being in Moscow and St. Petersburg one week to Orlando, Florida the next has been, to say the least, a strange adjustment.

skolnik_1_0.jpg

Back In Russia, 32 Years Later

08/03/2011
Jewish Week Online Columnist

In the spring of 1979, at the height of the struggle to free Soviet Jewry, my wife Robin and I were among many volunteers who traveled to the Soviet Union for the express purpose of aiding and abetting the efforts of Zionist refuseniks.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

Who Could Have Known?: A Most Unlikely Simcha

07/21/2011
Jewish Week Online Columnist

I officiated at a wedding not quite two weeks ago that, by all external criteria, looked much like many of the hundreds of weddings I’ve officiated at over the last thirty years.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik
Syndicate content