Understanding Conversion

With all of the talk about the technicalities of conversion and the alleged abuse of the system, the core of what conversion is and why the process seems so convoluted has been lost. For any intelligent discussion to take place, it is essential that this be clarified. What is conversion? On the one hand, the… Read More

Democrats Painfully Quiet in Primary

I respectfully disagree with Doug Gansler when he stated that the reason he lost the gubernatorial primary election was due to the Democratic establishment and machine (“Gansler Looks Ahead,” Nov. 21). I voted for Gansler in the primary, but, unfortunately, the voter turnout for that election, I believe, was less than 20 percent. The voice… Read More

Look to Torah for God’s Forgiveness

I was shocked and saddened about the scandal related to Rabbi Barry Freundel (“Prominent Rabbi Arrested,” Oct. 17; “Freundel Had Planned More Student Tours,” Oct. 31). As a former Washingtonian and author of “The Jewish Community of Washington, D.C.,” I had visited Freundel’s synagogue, Kesher Israel, on a number of occasions. My great-grandfather, Morris Garfinkle,… Read More

Shame on Hogan’s Dishonest Campaign

The election of Larry Hogan as governor is a good example of what is wrong with American politics (“Hogan Dominates, Nov. 7). His campaign repeatedly criticized the O’Malley-Brown administration for its tax increases. Let’s look at the facts. In 2008-2009, the nation went through a recession in which millions of people lost their jobs and… Read More

Parenting in the iPhone Age

Parenting has never been for the faint of heart. It takes tremendous mental and physical energy, and there are few, if any, breaks. It seems that in recent times, however, the ante has been upped. With the ever-expanding reach of the Internet, the kinds of trouble our kids can get into has mushroomed as we… Read More

A Bad Bill for the Jewish State

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In what has largely been seen as a political move by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday approved a controversial bill that would declare Israel the nation-state of the Jewish people. Such legislation, coming at this time, is not in Israel’s best interests. Sunday’s vote was the result of heated negotiations… Read More

Obama Goes It Alone

President Barack Obama’s declaration that he will enact immigration reform by executive order has generated much comment, including near universal approval from Jewish groups. According to the administration and Democrats on Capitol Hill, the president made his move because the House of Representatives has refused to take up immigration reform, specifically the version of a… Read More

The Need to Inspire

Yuli Edelstein, the refusenik whose wife, Tatiana, once staged a hunger strike during his incarceration in a Siberian gulag, spent months during his initial interrogation in 1984 praying in his cell while donning tefillin without the halachically mandated black leather straps. That was the only way his wife could get the ritual items past the… Read More

Opening the Well of Interpretation
Parshat Vayetze

In Jewish tradition, wells give life by providing not only water, but also a meeting place for our ancestors to find their mates. In this week’s Torah portion, Jacob meets his beloved Rachel at a well. Emboldened perhaps by love at first sight, he rolls away the heavy stone covering the mouth of the well… Read More

Shock, Fear … and Resolve

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Until Tuesday morning, Har Nof for my family was an amalgam of different experiences, all of them positive. It’s where my wife went to seminary, where we had one of our first Shabbat meals after moving to Israel and where our kids always loved going for pizza — it had, according to our research in… Read More