Are Female Rabbis a Threat — or Is It the OU?

Last month, the Orthodox Union, the Orthodox administrative body that oversees nearly everything Jewish-related in America, called together a seven-man rabbinic panel to answer the question whether synagogues under the aegis of the Orthodox Union may employ female rabbis. The unanimous opinion of this distinguished panel was a ringing, if eloquent, NO. Citing philosophy, history… Read More

Dancing on a Volcano

In 2017, the world accelerates to light speed. In Pikesville, the Yom Kippur War happened yesterday. Four years ago, I heard a sermon from a rabbi who bemoaned American decline. He also bemoaned centrism’s disappearance and, of course, blamed it on the degeneracy of the next generation. I unwisely wrote him to defend my peers…. Read More

Significance of the Acacia Wood Parshat Terumah

Parshat Terumah begins the Torah’s extended discussion of the construction of the Tabernacle (Mishkan). Many of the materials required for its construction were not readily available in the desert and the commentators offer many explanations of how B’nei Yisrael acquired the dolphin skins, yarns, oils, precious metals, etc. for this task. One of the most… Read More

Sour on Sarsour

What’s Linda Sarsour’s angle? The American activist, who was a surrogate for Sen. Bernie Sanders during his presidential campaign and an organizer of the Women’s March that brought half a million people to Washington in January to protest Donald Trump, last week helped start a crowdfunding campaign to repair more than 100 gravestones that vandals… Read More

Pence to the Rescue

The number of reported anti-Semitic incidents in North American cities keeps rising. At last count, among other things, there were more than 60 bomb threats called in to JCCs in the United States and Canada, a bomb threat called in to the ADL office in New York and several Jewish schools and the toppling of… Read More

People of the Book 'The Radetzky March' - Don't Blame the Grandson

It’s impossible to look at America in 2017 and not think of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the early 1910s at the end of its gloriously long sunset, unwittingly ready for the journey into eternal night. In those years, its capital, Vienna, was the most diverse, most exciting, most interesting place on Earth. Nobody knew it,… Read More

Tilling the Educational Soil

A Talmudic story relates the power of forward-thinking combined with self-sacrifice: Choni HaMa’agal was walking down the road and saw a man planting a carob tree. “How long does it take for the tree to bear fruit?” he asked the man. The man replied that it would take 70 years. “Are you certain that you… Read More

The Rich Man Is Merely the Poor Man’s Agent Parshat Mishpatim

How can we ensure that Jewish ideals — such as protecting the downtrodden and most vulnerable people in our society — emerge from the abstract and find expression in our daily lives? Our weekly portion, Mishpatim, in addressing the issue of lending, provides an insight to this question and sheds light on the core biblical… Read More

Trump: Baal Shem Ra

I heartily applaud and echo the Feb. 17 Your Say letters of Buddy Sapolsky (“Respect for Others”) and Howard Kahn (“Surviving Trump”). Both, however, lacked any conspicuous Jewish — let alone Judaic — optic to their criticism of America’s Tweeter-in-Chief, a glaring omission in a Jewish communal publication. I am delighted to remedy that lacuna…. Read More