A Rabbi's World

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

Guarding The Public Trust

06/07/2013
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The more things change, the more they stay the same…

Though the Torah is, by anyone’s definition, an ancient document, its “cast of characters,” if you will, often portray sensitivities that are strikingly relevant to contemporary concerns.   One area in particular in which this is evident is in the responsibility of those in leadership positions to be worthy of the trust that others put in them, particularly with regard to fiduciary duty.

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

Yom Hazikaron and Memorial Day: How We Remember

05/31/2013
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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Remembering those brave men and women who have fallen in battle in defense of their homeland is any country's solemn responsibility.  A commitment to remember their ultimate sacrifice is the most effective guarantee that their lives will not have been lost in vain.  Those who survive them, and live free because of them, owe them at least this much, and of course so much more...

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

Nature, God And Us

05/24/2013
Special To The Jewish Week

I am writing this the morning after the day before, not quite twenty-four hours since the horrific tornado in Moore, Oklahoma essentially destroyed the entire town, taking many innocent lives with it.

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

The Torah Is For All Of Us

05/17/2013
Jewish Week Online Columnist

In all of the storied history of the Jewish people, there was no single event that had greater short and long-term consequences than the revelation of Torah at Sinai. 

The festival of Shavuot, which we celebrated this week, marked the anniversary of that extraordinary (in both the literal and figurative senses of the word) day.  It encouraged us to recall, or recreate, if you will, the power, majesty and mystery of that luminous moment when God and humanity communed as one.  The world would never be the same thereafter.

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

A Grief That Time Does Not Heal

05/10/2013

There is an older gentleman in my synagogue who, for as long as I’ve known him (which is quite a few years), has been reciting the Mourner’s Kaddish on a daily basis. 

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

Thoughts On the Sharansky Plan For The Kotel

04/26/2013
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Although I heard it forty-two years ago in a classroom at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, I can remember it even now with perfect clarity.

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

From Jerusalem to Boston: That Was the Week That Was

04/19/2013
Special To The Jewish Week

Having just come off the week of Yom Hashoah, when we consciously called to mind memories of the very worst behavior that humanity has ever countenanced, I– like most of us, I’m sure– thought it was safe to “shift emotional gears” and anticipate the joy of celebrating Israel’s independence.  But now, of course, I know I was wrong…

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Yom Hashoah, Yom Ha’atzma’ut, And The Jewish Condition

04/12/2013
Jewish Week Online Columnist

My sister in Israel is fond of saying that her least favorite Shabbat of the year (tongue firmly in cheek) is when we recite the blessing in anticipation of the new Hebrew month of Nisan (meaning, of course, imminent Passover and all that entails).  Conversely, her favorite Shabbat is when we recite the blessing in anticipation of the new Hebrew month of Iyar (meaning, of course, the end of the Passover season, and imminent celebration of Yom Ha’atzma’ut, Israel’s Independence Day).

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

V’higa’d’ta L’vinha … Telling the Story Of The Shoah

04/05/2013
Jewish Week Online Columnist

It is an unusual day indeed when The New York Times, not always considered sensitive to the concerns of the Jewish community, publishes a front-page obituary for a rabbi. But the Times did just that a few short weeks ago, when it noted, with appropriate pathos and respect, the death of Rabbi Hershel Schacter, of blessed memory.

Rabbi Gerald Skoknik

Leaning In, and Out, As A Rabbi

03/29/2013

I’m not completely sure why I remember this particular episode of my childhood quite so clearly, but I do…

One day, when I was in third grade, I went to the supermarket with my mother. While there, we happened upon my English teacher from the Yeshiva where I studied.  I remember staring at her, completely uncomprehending of how she could possibly be in the supermarket.  After all, I never, ever saw her outside of our classroom, and insofar as my third grade brain was concerned, that was where she always was.  She was completely out of place in the supermarket, and again- I’m not sure I even realized that she got hungry, or ate, because I never saw her do that.  David Copperfield could not have accomplished a greater illusion for me.  I was thoroughly amazed.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik
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