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Monday, March 25, 2019

Op-eds

In Support of Women Who Choose to Lay Tefillin

My perspective on the recent announcements that several female students have requested and been given permission to wear tefillin at Shacharit at SAR Academy in Riverdale would be what you might call a long view, as it’s now been over 20 years since I left my community Jewish day school behind for college, career, motherhood, and

Honor Holocaust Victims

We rarely ask ourselves why we should remember the Holocaust. We simply assume that we should. However, if we only go through the motions uttering phrases such as “we remember” and “never again”, remembering the Holocaust will quickly become a meaningless ritual.

Just saying that we don’t want something like the Holocaust to happen again has not

A Comment on the Prime Minister’s Diaspora Initiative

I have spent a good portion of my professional career working in areas at the intersection of the Israel-Diaspora relationship. In addition to my social work education I have a certificate in Jewish communal service from Hebrew Union College. During my career I have monitored and evaluated programs funded by the local Federation campaigns in Israel; I represented the

The Spinning Wheel

The Israeli Rabbinate has once again decided to accept the “attestation of Jewishness” letters of Rabbi Avi Weiss. That was a no-brainer, and I, for one, was not supportive of the initial rejection of those letters, of which I have written many. Let’s face facts: It is a real insult to be told that one has no credibility to state that “X” is Jewish because

Kerry’s Peace Process Double Standards

It is interesting how one comment from an Israeli minister has managed to strain relations between the U.S. Administration and Israel, while fiery rhetoric and street demonstrations against Kerry and Obama in the Palestinian territories and Arab capitals are completely ignored by Washington.

The U.S. Administration has reacted quickly and strongly to

Who Killed Hebrew?

Growing up in New York in the 1940s to1960s, in a Religious-Zionist family mixed in an odd way with Hashomer Hatza’ir, I was raised on a steady diet of Hebrew.  A yeshiva whose classes were conducted “Ivris b’Ivris” (“Hebrew into Hebrew”); a summer camp, Machane Massad, whose language was exclusively Hebrew; shirei ha-Yishuv,

Remembering Our Identity

According to the recently published Pew Survey of U.S. Jews, a staggering 73% of Jews say that remembering the Holocaust is “an essential part of what being Jewish means to them.” In fact, more Jews chose “remembering the Holocaust” as an indispensable component of Jewishness than any other alternative.

What does this response convey? If “remembering

The Prejudice-Promulgating Professors

Academics traditionally wear the mantle of freedom of expression with great pride. They embrace the open exchange of ideas and embolden others to engage in independent thinking and knowledge-enhancing exercises. These scholars are generally well-respected and their disciplined pursuit of academic excellence in their respective subject areas is extremely

Staying Home Can Make a Huge Difference

The 2013 general election results in New Jersey became official recently, revealing a number of interesting points about voter turnout throughout the state. I would like to share some of those items with you.

The overall turnout was 39.6%. That is the lowest voter response ever in a gubernatorial election in the State of New Jersey. The lowest previous turnout

“Jewish Success”—And the “Knockout” Game

In times where the cohesive vision of the American Dream seems to be dissolving into an American entitlement-nightmare—which will certainly drown us from sea to shining sea—we may need to remind the “give-me, give-me” denizens of this country what that vision was all about. The definition of the American Dream, seemingly remote, thank God can still easily be

Us and Us

Individuals who come together in a community maintain a shared identity. Communities, and social groups of all kinds, are defined by common behaviors, beliefs and values.

But communal identity may also have a negative component, defined by behaviors, beliefs and values which a community does not accept. What a group perceives as offensive in a rival

Gevaltism, Antisemitism and Hungary

Gevalt! The goyim are after us! It’s the Second Holocaust! Jews are not safe in Hungary—or anywhere in Europe!

My mother’s favorite story: Two Jews in post-Anschluss Vienna are walking through an antisemitic neighborhood. They see that they are being followed by two Nazi thugs. One of the Jews says to his friend, “We’d better make