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.
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.
Much has appeared in the Jewish press about the Claims Conference over the past several weeks, including a report by Jewish Week editor Gary Rosenblatt, relying on material from letters that I wrote (“Claims Conference Facing New Pressures,” July 17).
A former U.S. Mideast negotiator throws some doubt on supporters’ and critics’ certainties about the pact.
Aaron David Miller
Special To The Jewish Week
One thing that critics and defenders of the Iran nuclear agreement seem to have in common is the certainty, conviction and authority with which they present their views. It’s an historic breakthrough; no, it’s an historic catastrophe; it’s this agreement or war; and my favorite — this deal sucks; negotiations, more sanctions or threat of military force could have produced an infinitely superior one. The latter is simply unknowable. Indeed, it’s at times like these that I’m reminded of Tennyson’s wonderful quip that “there lives more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the creeds.”
Editor’s note: Tu B’Av (literally, the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Av) is marked this weekend, a day that in ancient times was celebrated through matchmaking for unmarried women. It has been revived in modern Israel as a kind of Valentine’s Day, celebrating love.
Even the Modern Orthodox are victims in the kulturkampf waged by Orthodox parties.
Rabbi David Ellenson
Special to the Jewish Week
The avalanche of controversial events surrounding issues of religion and state in Israel and the attacks on liberal expressions of Judaism — even in Modern Orthodox form — have been unending in recent weeks, and there is no end in immediate sight.
This past school year was a most difficult one for anyone committed to shared, dignified, and equal life between Jews and Arabs in Israel. Recently, parents and teachers packed the halls of Jerusalem’s district court to attend the sentencing hearing for the arsonists convicted of destroying two first-grade classrooms in Jerusalem’s bilingual Hand in Hand school. The defense attorneys requested mercy from the court. However, as our group left the courtroom, the father of the two arsonists snarled, “What a shame that the burnt classroom was not filled with Arabs!” About a week later, on the last day of the school year, Hand in Hand was once again the target of hate-filled vandals who sprayed swastikas and anti-Arab messages along our walls.
Now that a final agreement with Iran has been reached, Congress will be given 60 days within which to debate and accept or reject it. This, however, would not be the end in the long-simmering fight between Congress and the president over his foreign policy legacy and its long-term threat to American and Israeli national security interests. Let me explain.
For many in our community, the Dominican Republic (DR) is a magical Caribbean nation we contemplate visiting in the winter for beach time, gambling and relaxation. For those of us who spent 10 days there in June, the picture is starkly different: the DR is a place of poverty, discrimination, violence, potential deportation and increasing marginality. And yet, it is also a place of strength, dignity, principle and tenacity, and a warm welcome.