Rabbi Avi Weiss is an unabashed iconoclast. Understandably, this makes some people uneasy, and others downright fearful. However, given the current state of the institutions that govern Jewish religious life, I would like to suggest that a little iconoclasm might not be such a bad thing.
I wasn't raised in an observant home, I never attended a Jewish day school and no one else in my family has ever been observant. Despite that, I found myself drawn, starting at age ten, to Orthodox Judaism. Over the course of my journey, I have experienced the many gifts of the diverse faces of the Jewish People, all of which have impacted significantly upon me, from Chabad to Renewal, from Reform to Yeshivish, from Modern Orthodox to Post-denominational.
A dozen middle-aged to elderly Israelis, some blind, some deaf, some both, baking bread. It is not the most promising theatrical concept, but it works. Rabbinical students from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and Yeshivat Maharat attended a recent performance of Not By Bread Alone at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, staged by the Nalaga’at Theater, an Israeli company made up of the deaf-blind. It came towards the end of a week devoted to learning about disability.
During a lull in a local kosher restaurant’s schedule one day last year, Rabbi Ari Weiss, a frequent customer, approached the owner. Rabbi Weiss, executive director of the Uri L’Tzedek Orthodox social justice organization, suggested that the owner join Uri L’Tzedek’s Tav HaYosher “ethical seal” program.