Articles

The Conversion Crisis

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel has taken a restrictive, hareidi view on conversions to Judaism. They have imposed "standards" that are unrealistic for many would-be converts, and which are not required by the halakha itself. The Rabbinical Council of America has essentially capitulated to the Chief Rabbinate, and is now in the process of establishing regional courts in the U.S. and Canada that will adhere to the extremist opinions relating to conversions.

Religion or Pseudo Religion: Orthodoxy and Torah Values

Some time ago, I was in an airport waiting to board a flight. A young Orthodox Jewish couple was sitting a few rows in front of me. He was wearing a black kippah, and had tsitsith hanging down the side of his black pants. She was wearing a blond wig, long sleeved blouse, and a long skirt. At some point, she arose and took out a pocket prayer-book. She shuckled quite conspicuously as she mouthed the words of prayer.

University Network Update

Shalom. I hope you've been having a good summer, and I wish you all the best. Here are a few items of importance for members of the University Network of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals.

1. Please make sure that we have your correct mailing list on file. You may go to our website, jewishideas.org, and check your My Account page. We plan to mail out the new issue of Conversations (Orthodoxy and Ethics) in early September, and it's important that we have your correct mailing address.

Thoughts for the Rosh Hashana Season

(This week's Angel for Shabbat column is a sermon I delivered at Congregation Shearith Israel on Rosh HaShana, 5769. Its message continues to be relevant. I wish you all a happy, healthy New Year. Tizku leShanim Rabbot.)

Gilda and I recently were invited to attend a charity dinner at a very fancy New York hotel. The moment we arrived, we immediately knew we might have been happier if we had stayed at home!