A Rabbi's World

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

At Carnegie Hall, Teens Sing Jewish Identity

04/02/2014 - 20:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

It is hardly a secret that the Jewish world that we inhabit, particularly here in New York, is plagued by deep divisions. Interdenominational friction makes it at best extremely difficult for rabbis and laypeople to work together across those lines for the betterment of the Jewish community as a whole, and there is little reason to hope that the situation will be changing any time soon. There are pulls to the right and to the left.  Unless Israel is threatened, we find it hard to talk to each other both literally and figuratively.

Hazamir, the International Jewish High School Choir, has figured out how to solve that problem: Transcend the spoken word and the ideologies behind it, and replace it with the harmony of beautifully sung music. That's exactly what happened this past Sunday at Carnegie Hall, when the choir performed.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Power-Sharing In Synagogues

03/31/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

As a profession, the rabbinate as we know it is a creation of the modern era.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

We Are the People in Your Neighborhood: What A Synagogue Really Is

03/20/2014 - 20:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

As you might imagine, I spend a lot of time talking about my synagogue with other rabbis and laypeople. It is a natural thing for professionals and lay leaders to share “war stories” about the institutions that play such important roles in their lives, and often times, the insights gained are invaluable. Usually there are more than a few laughs that accompany this sharing, as we inevitably discover how universal certain synagogue characteristics are, both for better and for less good.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Persia, Then And Now

03/13/2014 - 20:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

With the imminent advent of Purim and our annual encounter with Haman and the forces of evil, we are, yet again, brought into uncomfortably close contact with the darker side of Jewish history. 

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

"From SodaStream to Rawabi: What Peace Might Look Like"

02/26/2014 - 19:00

Just about a year ago, I had the opportunity to visit the SodaStream factory in Israel.  Actually, how do define exactly where the factory is located has led to one of the more explosive and high profile manifestations of the so-called BDS (boycott-civestment-sanction) dispute.

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

The London Jewish Community: Just Fine, Thank You!

02/13/2014 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

I left London this past Tuesday morning after a long weekend and wonderful Shabbat there, and landed in Madrid this afternoon, preparing to meet up with the Conference of Presidents mission here.  If anyone asks you what London and Madrid have in common besides both being in Europe, the answer is that, right at this moment, they're both cold and wet! 

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

The Other Side Of The Pond

02/05/2014 - 19:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

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

The Grammys And The Jewish Condition

01/29/2014 - 19:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Partly because my daughter had asked me to, but also because I enjoy live performances of music, I watched the Grammy Awards last Sunday night.  In all honesty, I should say I watched the Grammys until I nodded off in my very comfortable chair, but I saw a good deal.

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

What Does Perfect Faith Mean?

01/23/2014 - 19:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

It has long been considered the case in Judaism that there is no “catechism” that one needs to subscribe to in order to be a Jew.  We are, for the most part, much more a community that measures a person’s commitment to the covenant by what he/she does- the mitzvot they perform- than one that cares about being able to say “I do” to a set of neatly and very specifically articulated beliefs.

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