In October 2007, Rabbi Avi Weiss and I convened a group of Modern Orthodox rabbis for a conference in West Palm Beach.


Rabbi Daniel Rosen comments on Daniel Schwartz’s article, “I Dread Going to Shul”, that appeared in issue 9 of Conversations, the journal of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals, and which is posted on the Institute’s website,

A terrible crime recently made the headlines in Israel. A well-known rabbi, reputed to be a wonder-worker, had a large following of supporters who sought his prayers and blessings. One such follower came to him to seek a prayer/blessing so that a certain result would ensue.



By Rabbi Zev Farber

The Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, recently reported:

The Israeli Chief Rabbinate has recently rejected the applications of several Orthodox Jewish converts who have applied to live in Israel. This rejection has been reported widely in the Jewish media, and has generated much discussion--and anger, frustration, disgust. These cases are being appealed, and we hope that these converts will indeed be allowed to settle in Israel as Jews.

The Chief Rabbinate only accepts Orthodox conversions performed under their jurisdiction and/or with their express approval. Orthodox rabbis who refuse to bend to the will of the Chief Rabbinate are excluded from the Chief Rabbinate's "approved" list.

This policy is problematic on many levels.

We've all been reading of tensions in Israel due to the "Hareidization" of standards of conduct involving women and men. Serious problems have emerged in Bet Shemesh, because some Hareidim were disparaging and spitting at a modern Orthodox girl who was dressed modestly--but not according to Hareidi norms. There has been a long ongoing battle over public buses where the Hareidim demand that women sit in the back and the men in the front. They allow no intermingling of the genders, so they impose their values on everyone else.

The Puah Institute, specializing in medical research on women's health and especially on fertility issues, recently held a conference, but would not allow female doctors to present papers or to be on panels.

(Rabbi Finkelman is a member of the International Rabbinic Fellowship. He earned his rabbinic ordination at Yeshiva University, and has a PhD in Comparative Literature from the City University of New York. He teaches literature at Lawrence Technological University, as well as adult education classes in his local Federation.)

The Jerusalem Post and other media reported that a leader of "Women of the Wall" was arrested at the Kotel in Jerusalem for raising her voice in song and prayer. She, together with a group of hundreds of women, have been attempting to gain the right for women to pray at the Kotel, each according to her preferred style of prayer--with prayer shawls, chanting aloud, reading from the Torah etc.

The arrested woman was kept in prison overnight, and complained that she was treated as though she were a notorious and dangerous criminal.