Opinion

OP-ED Conservative movement is closing its gender gap, but there is still work to be done

Amy Eilberg, the first woman ordained by the Conservative movement's Jewish Theological Seminary in 1987, speaks at the Parliament of the World’s Religions, December 2016. (Screenshot from Youtube)

(JTA) — As the Jewish world this year marks Israel’s 70th anniversary, we recall that two years before Israel’s independence, a momentous change came in the Conservative movement: Its then new prayer book, known as the Silverman siddur, no longer contained the traditional words “Shelo Asani Eisha” — thank you… Read more »

Relating Tisha b’Av to today’s environmental crises

Tisha b’Av (the 9th day of the month of Av) which we commemorate this year on July 21-22, reminds us that over 2,000 years ago Jews failed to heed the warnings of the prophet Jeremiah, with the result that the first Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, the first of… Read more »

OP-ED US immigration policies are straight out of the Bible — the story of Sodom

Illegal migrants seen in a jail at the Central Processing Center in McAllen, Texas, June 17, 2018. (U.S. Border Patrol/Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Last week, I visited McAllen, Texas, with a group of clergy — including 10 rabbis — to bear witness to the situation on the border, where new policies are forcing the detention and separation of families and the refusal to hear asylum claims from victims… Read more »

OP-ED Charles Krauthammer: ‘How dreams of peace led to Israel’s biggest mistake’

Charles Krauthammer in his office in Washington, D.C., March 16, 1985. (Ray Lustig/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

(JTA) — On June 10, 2002, Charles Krauthammer delivered the Distinguished Rennert Lecture upon receiving the Guardian of Zion Award from Bar-Ilan University’s Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies. Below is an excerpt from the lecture titled “He Tarries: Jewish Messianism and the Oslo Peace.”  In the 1990s, America slept and… Read more »

OP-ED Any volunteers? You are tomorrow’s Jewish doers and leaders

More than 150 Limmud volunteers from over 40 communities around the world at a program in Maale Hahamisha, Israel. (Courtesy of Limmud)

(JTA) — “Ethics of the Fathers” includes this bold advice from Rabbi Yishmael: “When we learn in order to act, we become learners, teachers, preservers and doers.” So many Jewish institutions are asking how they might engage younger people, raise a new generation of leaders and appeal across age groups.… Read more »

Op-Ed: The #MeToo movement goes to summer camp

(Pxhere)

The #MeToo movement has empowered women to speak up against harassment and abuse. It is heartening to see many men standing as allies and organizations beginning to hold themselves accountable for establishing policies, procedures and transparency and for changing the workplace culture. For those of us working in youth-serving… Read more »

OP-ED When Jewish students in America raised alarms about the Holocaust

The cover of Yeshiva University's student newspaper, The Commentator, from March 4, 1943, shows that Jewish students were active in efforts to draw attention to the plight of Europe's Jews. (Courtesy of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies)

  JERUSALEM (JTA) — Seventy-five years ago this month, a handful of rabbinical students in New York City helped mobilize hundreds of churches and synagogues nationwide to cry out against the Nazis’ mass murder of European Jewry. That remarkable interfaith protest is omitted from the U.S. Holocaust Museum’s new… Read more »

Op-Ed: I voted against the Iran nuclear deal. Withdrawing from it is a mistake.

Sen. Ben Cardin speaks at a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., introducing the Iran Policy Oversight Act of 2015, Oct. 1, 2015. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the Iran nuclear deal, is bad policy and calls into question America’s international credibility. Mr. Trump has now set the international community on a slippery slope, imperiling the national security… Read more »

OP-ED To fight anti-Semitism, first you have to define it

A Turkish demonstrator holding a banner with a Nazi swastika and Star of David in Istanbul, Jan. 2, 2009. (Mustafa Ozer/AFP/Getty Images)

(JTA) — In recent years we have witnessed anti-Israel demonstrations that have turned overtly anti-Semitic and even violent, but police ignored initially as only political activity. We have seen prosecutors and judges rule that an arson attack on a synagogue is not anti-Semitic because the perpetrator was motivated by… Read more »

OP-ED Why Israel is investing in Diaspora Jewish education

Millions of Jews, mainly in North America, are drifting away from Judaism, writes Israel’s minister of education and Diaspora affairs. (David Whelan/Flickr Commons)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — For decades, world Jewry helped Israel. Organizations gathered and sent funds to the feeble, small state; our Air Force and Navy were formed and trained by Jewish volunteers from around the globe. As we celebrate our 70th Independence Day, we should thank the previous generations while… Read more »

OP-ED ‘Schindler’s List’ at 25: How Steven Spielberg’s deeply Jewish story spoke to the masses

Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler in "Schindler's List." (Screenshot from YouTube)

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — 1993 was a dramatic year in the memorialization of the Holocaust. In April, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum opened its doors; 45 million visitors later it is a fixture adjacent to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., not only telling the story of the Holocaust… Read more »

OP-ED: Israel at 70: How Israelis like me relate to a country that’s an ocean away

Ofra Daniel as the lead character Tirza in her play “Love Sick.” (Cheshiredave Creative)

SAN FRANCISCO (J. The Jewish News of Northern California via JTA) — My Dear Land, It is almost your birthday. At 70, you are not a young country anymore. Some will consider me a stepdaughter because I left you, deciding to move an ocean away. I left behind me the battles,… Read more »

OP-ED: The US, and the world, need our anti-Semitism monitor more than ever

The scene after a march in Paris in memory of Mireille Knoll, the 85-year-old Holocaust survivor murdered in her home in what police believe was an anti-Semitic attack, March 28, 2018. (Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Images)

(JTA) — This is a hypothetical memo from two members of the U.S. House of Representatives to the nominee for secretary of state, Mike Pompeo. To: Mike Pompeo From: Nita Lowey, Chris Smith Mr. Pompeo: Last week, many of our constituents, as well as Jewish families here and abroad, sat… Read more »

OP-ED: Israel at 70: It’s time to reclaim the Z-word, Zionism

Theodor Herzl, the father of modern Zionism, leaning over the balcony of the Drei Konige Hotel during the first Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, Aug. 29, 1897. (GPO via Getty Images)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — All too often, when I ask campus organizations that are pro-Israel and deeply Zionist why they avoid using the “Z-word” in their messaging and literature, I’m told, “Zionism doesn’t poll well.” True, not polling well is one of today’s great sins. But imagine what our world would be… Read more »

OP-ED: ‘Engaging’ millennials is all the rage. But is it the best use of Jewish philanthropy?

Birthright participants celebrate the program's 10th anniversary in Jerusalem, Jan. 14, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Engaging young people in their 20s and 30s, the so-called millennial generation, is a high priority for Jewish philanthropists. Some funders have banded together to create new initiatives, including free trips to Israel, with the express purpose of drawing members of this generation into Jewish life.… Read more »

Rebranding efforts miss spirituality inherent in Judaism

Set during the Spanish Civil War years before World War II, Ernest Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” tells the story of a valiant, but ultimately doomed, attempt by a group of republican rebels to launch an attack against the Fascist powers in Spain. Their heroism is often magnificent,… Read more »

OP-ED: We need a rabbinic resistance to the religious right

A Torah reading at the Central Conference of American Rabbis' annual convention. (CCAR)

IRVINE, Calif. (JTA) — When most people think about the intersection of faith and political activism, the religious right comes to mind. And there’s no doubt that the current leaders of our government are closely aligned with the agenda of religious conservatives, even if they often don’t live up… Read more »

OP-ED: ‘Nobody is talking about anti-Semitism.’ You’re kidding, right?

White supremacists sparring with counterprotesters as they attempt to guard the entrance to Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 12, 2017. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Slate podcaster Mike Pesca has a theory that whenever President Donald Trump says “everybody” it means “almost nobody,” and when he says “nobody” or “anybody” it means “almost everybody.” Try it: When Trump said, “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated” — well, nearly everybody disagreed. And when he says,… Read more »