A Rabbi's World

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

Israel After Bush

05/16/2008
Special to the Jewish Week

Now that the love-fest is over and President Bush has “left the building,” so to speak, Israelis are left to ponder life after him. The conference on tomorrow organized by Shimon Peres afforded the Israeli government the chance to say thank you to the man who has been, in his gut, arguably the most sympathetically inclined towards Israel’s precarious security position of any American president in recent memory.

Can You Hear Me Now?

05/23/2008
Special to the Jewish Week

Is there such a thing as “virtual closeness?”

As I write, my married son and his wife are in Israel for the year, my older daughter is living in Manhattan, my younger daughter is in Poland with her senior class and about to depart for Israel for a year, and one son remains at home.

You Are What You Eat

06/08/2008
Special to the Jewish Week

The recent federal raid at the Agriprocessors kosher meat plant in Postville, Iowa, and the accompanying allegations brought against the Rubashkin family and brand, represent a particularly sorry and damaging episode in the cause of religious Judaism in this country.

Songs of Youth

06/13/2008
Special to the Jewish Week

In different ways, the various senses with which we are born can take us back in time to people, places and events long ago forgotten.

Thoughts on Tim Russert’s Death

06/18/2008
Special to the Jewish Week

The sudden, shocking death of Meet the Press host Tim Russert last Friday has unleashed a powerful torrent of grief from a very wide swath of Americans. I readily admit that I, too, was horrified and saddened greatly by his untimely death.

Playing the Wedding Game… Literally

06/27/2008
Special to the Jewish Week

Close to two weeks ago, Israel’s Masorti movement, the sister movement of North America’s Conservative Judaism, launched a new campaign to interest non-religious Jews in Israel in considering a Masorti wedding- fully grounded in tradition, but also sensitive to issues of egalitarianism and the particular wishes of the couple.  There is a website set up for the campaign, and the media blitz of print ads and radio commercials directs interested Israelis to the site.  There they can play “The Wedding Game,” featuring an interactive, colorful format to personal

I Can Do That… Can I?

07/04/2008
Special to the Jewish Week

It doesn’t happen all that often, but occasionally I do go to funerals where I’m not officiating.  As a professional, I “enjoy,” if I can use that word in this context, the opportunity to see how colleagues do what I am so often called upon to do.

Hearing God in Music

07/18/2008
Special to the Jewish Week

I’ve just returned from spending the past two days at the 19th annual North American Jewish Choral Festival in upstate New York. I am an officer of the

Zamir Choral Foundation,

which sponsors the festival, and spending time there is something I look forward to every year.

This year, as always, I am so proud of what it has accomplished.

A Little Reality Check on Prisoner Exchanges

07/24/2008
Special to the Jewish Week

There are few more banal ways to open any kind of blog, article or sermon about Israel than to say “These past few days have been extraordinarily difficult ones for Israel.”  But- that having been said- these past few days have indeed been extraordinarily difficult ones for Israel.

When in Newport…

08/17/2008
Special to the Jewish Week

With all of our kids in camp or working elsewhere for a good part of the summer, my wife and I stole away for a precious few days alone, and, like God said about Tuesday a long time ago, it was very good. Though our (four) children are increasingly independent and only our youngest will actually be living at home this year, your children are always your children, and coupled with the pressures of our jobs, it was wonderfully rejuvenating to be away with each other and no one else.

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