Silencing Women's Voices: Time To Speak Up

Special To The Jewish Week

I was riveted by the recent story of an Orthodox Israeli young woman, Ophir Ben-Shetreet, who sang beautifully on the Israeli talent-search program, “The Voice,” and as a result was suspended from her Orthodox school for two weeks because of the prohibition against women singing in public if men are present.  Ophir’s performance and evident charm inspired people around the country.  The judges praised her as “modest” and “pure,” and she could serve as a role model for young Orthodox women who feel the desire to express themselves and develop their talents.  Instead, she was condemned.

'The Heritage Of All Israel'

Founder of Tel Aviv's secular yeshiva, also a Knesset member, leads Israel's parliament in study and prayer.


Editor’s Note: Ruth Calderon, founder of a secular yeshiva in Tel Aviv, spent several years living in New York recently, teaching at the JCC in Manhattan and other venues. This was her inaugural speech in the Knesset this week as a member of Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party.

Ruth Calderone

A Conservative Rabbi Caught In Middle On Israel

Special To The Jewish Week

In what is just the latest in a sad string of similar stories about the struggle for religious pluralism in Israel, the ultra-Orthodox mayor of Rehovot, Rahamim Malul, forced the postponement of a long-anticipated bar/bat mitzvah ceremony for children with special needs — in this case, severe autism. This program, sponsored for the last 25 years by the Masorti (Conservative) movement in Israel, was to have taken place in Adat Shalom-Emanuel, the Masorti congregation in Rehovot. But the mayor decided that it would be offensive to Orthodox sensitivities to hold it there, leaving the children and their families understandably distressed.

Gerald C. Skolnik

Needed: A Performance-Driven Jewish Culture

Special To The Jewish Week

‘How am I doing?”

We ask ourselves this question periodically — in fact, between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, we have a 10-day period to do so.

Jacob B. Ukeles

Piercing The Heavens

Special To The Jewish Week

We learn in Pirke Avot, “There is no person who does not have his hour.” On a Shabbat morning in early June, a remarkable young man will ascend to the Torah to become bar mitzvah in my synagogue, on the very same pulpit where his bris took place 13 years ago. His name is Jewels Harrison. 

Joshua Hammerman

My Chavruta With President Obama

'Is there a requirement or expectation that the adults come here and study as well?' the president asked.

Special To The Jewish Week

I could have said “Dayeinu," “it would have been enough," if the President of the United States came to visit my synagogue, as he did today, May 22. 

Rabbi Gil Steinlauf

Why Ameinu’s Slate Should Be Barred From World Zionist Congress Elections

Special To The Jewish Week

Ameinu’s inaccurate Opinion piece invokes the “straw man” of non-existent “murder charges” to distract readers from the real issue: namely, that Ameinu’s “Hatikvah” slate should have been removed from the World Zionist Congress (WZC) election because its members promote discriminatory anti-Israel anti-Jewish boycotts, divestment and/or sanctions (BDS).  

ZOA Has Gone Too Far In Criticizing Progressive Zionists

Special To The Jewish Week

Are progressive Zionists like us “murderers” for opposing settlements and calling for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?  In the eyes of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) and their allies on the right, we are. And with a spirited demonstration on May 11 at UJA-Federation of New York protesting the Israel philanthropy of the Federation’s president and the annual participation of progressive Jewish groups in the Salute to Israel parade, a “murder” charge against our community’s central organizational body may soon come as well.

Intermarried Connected Jews Look Like The In-Married

Special To The Jewish Week

For many, the word “intermarriage” connotes all that is wrong with the American Jewish community, but it shouldn’t. A reanalysis of the data collected in 2013 by the Pew Research Center shows that interfaith families — while they remain a minority on the “inside” of the organized Jewish community — can, and increasingly do, find a place inside Jewish institutions.

Zohar Rotem

Mixed Outcomes From Latest Pew Study

Special To The Jewish Week

The new Pew Research Center study, “America’s Changing Religious Landscape,” shows a steep decline in Christian affiliation and a parallel increase among the unaffiliated. Some believe the study’s results suggest that we will have a more difficult time advocating effectively on behalf of Israel, as spelled out in Robert Goldblum’s article, “Less-Christian U.S. Seen Disturbing For Jews On Israel” (May 15). But this judgment is not so clear-cut.

Martin Raffel
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