One morning this past July, I visited the bet midrash (study hall) of Yeshivat Hadar in Manhattan. Nearly 50 young people were there, spending their summer in serious engagement with Jewish texts. The room pulsated with the vitality of a traditional yeshiva and the intellectual openness of a university.
In his “Letter to a Hesder Student” (Opinion, Jan. 15), Rabbi Eric Yoffie of the Union for Reform Judaism suggests that the original purpose of the Hesder Yeshiva program [combining yeshiva study and army service in Israel] in its current form is no longer relevant. He suggests that Hesder students need to share the security burden equally, presumably with regular service soldiers serving three years instead of the 16 months served by those in Hesder. How little he understands the army and the reality in Israel.
Jewish community here, in outpouring
of care, pitches in after quake.
At a Jewish Y on Long Island, Jewish employees take up a collection for the families in Haiti of two maintenance men. In Brooklyn, members of the haredi Orthodox community hold a historic meeting with representatives of the borough’s Haitian-Americans. In southern Florida, a former New Yorker travels to Haiti on short notice to help the relatives of his Haitian-born employees.
It’s no secret that great disasters bring out the best and the worst in people – the selfless rescuers who put their own lives on the line to save people they don’t know on one hand, the looters who use catastrophe as an opportunity for larceny, petty and otherwise, on the other.
* (JTA) — Jewish groups praised President Obama for reversing a Bush administration order banning U.S. assistance to overseas groups that provide abortions or information about other providers.
“The repeal of the Global Gag Rule represents a major victory for international family planning programs and renews America’s position as a leader in the global community,” Mark Pelavin, the associate director of the Union for Reform Judaism’s Religious Action Center, said Friday.
National organizations press their cases for relevancy anew.
Editor and Publisher
A report has been commissioned by the national policy-making body on Jewish community relations to study the relationship between and among the top national defense agencies — including the American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress and Anti-Defamation League — specifically dealing with longstanding complaints about their “duplication, excessive competition, lack of coordination and actual conflict.”
But before you breathe a sigh of relief and think to yourself, “it’s about time,” let me point out that the report in question was commissioned in January 1950, exactly 60 years ago this week.
Throughout high school, Max Chaiken kept asking his parents if he could go to Israel and they kept saying no.
First, the Teaneck teen was supposed to go through his Reform summer camp, but the trip was canceled — along with all Reform youth trips to Israel — because of the intifada.
Shoshana Gibbor, a junior last year at Hofstra University on Long Island, walked past the Hillel flyers posted in her dormitory for several weeks in late 2006.
“Help Rebuild the Gulf Coast,” the flyers stated. They were promoting an alternative Spring Break volunteer program in New Orleans and nearby communities along the Gulf of Mexico that had been decimated by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.
Reform movement leader blasts money to outlying communities.
The Israeli cabinet’s vote Sunday to pour money into 91 outlying West Bank settlements has touched off a fierce debate here about the propriety of funneling resources into settlements that may be abandoned in a peace treaty.
Admitting that his Reform movement's controversial 20-year-old outreach program has failed to reach its potential, Rabbi Eric Yoffie has called for new efforts to bring Reform Judaism to tens of thousands of unaffiliated North American Jews and intermarried couples.
"We have not accomplished all that we should have," Rabbi Yoffie, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC), told about 75 Reform officials at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue last Sunday, while addressing a 20th anniversary celebration of the denomination's outreach program.