A Rabbi's World

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

'Dear' Bibi, Don't Do It

Your acceptance of the House Speaker's invitation to speak before Congress as unconscionably arrogant.

01/29/2015 - 19:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

The news of your impending visit to deliver an address to a joint session of our Congress, at the invitation of Speaker of the House John Boehner, has generated a major controversy here in America, both within and outside of the Jewish community. I know that it is a subject of much discussion in Israel as well. My reason for writing is simple. I am, with the greatest of respect for your office and your responsibilities, asking you to reconsider your visit, and not deliver the address.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

What’s Wrong With This Selfie?

01/21/2015 - 19:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Unless you were in a cave this week or otherwise out of touch with the world, you will surely have heard or read about the great ‘selfie incident” at the Miss Universe pageant.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

France And The Jewish Problem

01/14/2015 - 19:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Even with the passage of a few days since the awful events in Paris last week, a lingering sense of horror and dismay continues to invade the bodies politic of the western world. And why would it not? What happened in Paris was grotesque and terrifying, with implications that will not disappear even if ignored.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Police Vs. Civilians, In NYC, And Jerusalem

01/08/2015 - 19:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

There are aspects of spending time in Israel that can take one completely out of a “New York state of mind,” and refreshingly so. For all the problems that Israel has, and there are many, I have yet to spend time there without experiencing one or two encounters with people that are so unlike life here in New York, and I treasure them.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

We Need A Little Chanukah

12/17/2014 - 19:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

It is difficult, if not impossible, to walk into a store at this time of year without being subjected to mind-numbing Christmas Musack playing in the background, just soft enough that you can speak over it, but also just loud enough that you can’t help but hear it. I assume that the intention is to put shoppers in the “Christmas spirit,” and make them spend more. I doubt that it has any positive effect in that regard. The message, though, comes through loud and clear in ways both liminal and subliminal: “We need a little Christmas, right this very minute.”

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

At Long Last, Home From Okinawa

12/11/2014 - 19:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

My wife Robin and I are blessed with four children; as she is fond of saying, we have “one of each.” In raising them, we have come to understand the true miracle of creation.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Israel's Politics, America's Jews

12/03/2014 - 19:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

As I write, the government of Israel is literally in the process of dissolving itself, as a vote taken in the Knesset mandated that it do. New elections will be held this coming March. Metaphorically, Israel's government has been dissolving itself without benefit of Knesset action, slowly and tortuously, step by painstaking step, over the past few weeks.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Appreciating An Imperfect America

11/25/2014 - 19:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

At our Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, we sing all three stanzas of America the Beautiful, which appear in the Prayer Book that we use here, edited by the late Rabbi Ben Zion Bokser, z”l, who led this synagogue for fifty years.

Gerald C. Skolnik

Our Synagogue In Har Nof

In this generation, we are required to see ourselves as if we personally were in that synagogue when the murderers entered.

11/20/2014 - 19:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Early in the 1980’s, when the AIDS epidemic was in its early stages and few people really understood what AIDS was or how it was transmitted, a particularly awful episode of fear-driven hatred was visited upon a family in Arcadia, Florida. Their house was intentionally burned down by arsonists, and it was made clear that, because one member of the household had AIDS, the family was no longer welcome in Arcadia. The family, for reasons both physical and spiritual, had no choice but to leave.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Veteran's Day: In My Sixties, And During The Sixties

11/12/2014 - 19:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Reflecting this year on the significance of Veterans Day from the vantage point of my sixties, I find it to be an unsettling experience, and not for the first time. I had the same experience during the sixties.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik
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