My middle kid, Shir, just turned four. This morning, I came into his room to find him naked and tantrumming on the bed. He had taken off his pajamas and was hysterically screaming that he didn’t want to wear clothes today. Clothes are terrible, horrible things, evidently, and he just wasn’t having any of it.
I spend most of my days and nights highlighting problem areas in Orthodox communities as well as viable solutions, with the intention of bringing about much needed changes. Said problem areas include the need to address the treatment and prevention of abuse, the agunah crisis, the erasure of women from publications, the lack of leadership roles for women in Jewish communities, the need to allow for healthy disagreement when we think or interpret law differently, etc.
In loving memory of my mother, Judith Kaufman Hurwich a”h
I recently heard Rabbi Joseph Telushkin speak about the Lubavitcher Rebbe. The Rebbe believed that words mattered so much that he petitioned Israel to change the Hebrew word for hospital, Beit Cholim (house of the sick), to wording that indicated it was a house of healing. He urged people to use positive language as a way of bettering our world.
In her JOFA post, “I Wasn’t Asking for Your Opinion,” Rabbanit Sharona Halickman rightfully criticizes the Orthodox Union for “only now thinking about whether they want . . . women to work in their shuls.” She recalls how Rabbi Avi Weiss hired her as a rabbinic intern at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale eighteen years ago, back in the last century–the first women to fill a pastoral role in an Orthodox synagogue.
The great challenge is learning how to honor the past while being able to create a future based on fresh vision of the present. This Saturday night and Sunday we will commemorate Tisha B’Av, the destruction of the Holy Temples. The rabbis in Tractate Yoma 9b attribute the destruction of both Holy Temples to the behaviour of the Jews themselves as opposed to external factors. The First Temple’s destruction is attributed to idolatry, immorality, and bloodshed, and the Second Temple’s destruction is attributed to the senseless hatred that prevailed between people even though they were following the Torah and giving charity. There is something inherently powerful in this framing, where the rabbis take responsibility for the fate of the people, instead of blaming others and seeing the rest of the world as inherently hostile to Jewish flourishment.
Many of us have read some of the recent memoirs written by people who have left their Orthodox community of origin, usually in the Hareidi (ultra-Orthodox) segment. The stories told have offered insights into a world with which most of us are not intimately familiar, and they have been gripping but sad. Perhaps because I grew up in a Yeshivish community and some of my close relatives are Hasidic, I have found these memoirs to be intriguing, and was particularly intrigued by Shulem Deen’s, “All Who Go Do Not Return.”
I’ve just read a book whose sole purpose is to denigrate Open Orthodoxy, its institutions and its principles.
Over 18 ½ years ago I was chosen to be the first Congregational Intern at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale. When Rabbi Avi Weiss hired me, he explained that the position may be controversial as this was the first time that an Orthodox woman would be working in an Orthodox shul (synagogue) in a role similar to that of a rabbi.
All posts are contributed by third parties. The opinions and facts in them are presented solely by the authors, and JOFA assumes no responsibility for them.