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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.

This article appears in Haaretz, February 8, 2013: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/converts-to-judaism-are-victims-of-israel-s-insulting-and-cruel-rabbinate.premium-1.502333

Reflections on the Conversion Crisis and the Rabbanut.
By Rabbi Marc D. Angel

(Rabbi Angel is Founder and Director of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals (jewishideas.org); and Rabbi Emeritus of the historic Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of New York City, founded 1654. Author and editor of 31 books, he is Past President of the Rabbinical Council of America (Orthodox), and a co-founder of the International Rabbinic Fellowship, an association of modern Orthodox rabbis.)

The Jewish world has lost one of its most colorful, exciting and challenging rabbis and teachers. Rabbi Dr. Maurice Wohlgelernter, known popularly among his students as "The Reb," passed away on Saturday night June 22, 2013.

I first met The Reb in September 1963, as a freshman in his English 101 class at Yeshiva College. He was an astonishing teacher. He demanded clarity in our writing, marking each of our papers with an overly active red pen. He crushed our egos with his harsh grades--but he taught us, and taught us very well. To get an A from The Reb made it all worth while!

(Ronald Stekel was an active member of the British Jewish community before having made Aliyah.)

There are groups of Jews whose Rabbinic leaders have banned aspects of modern technology. One can see them with posters that cry out that they have no internet or computers, and they are proud of this. They believe it to be an ideal to be emulated by other Jews. I believe that it is dreadful.

When Noah left the ark he planted a vineyard and the Torah describes how he subsequently got drunk, and the demeaning events that followed. It would have been understandable if the Torah had banned alcohol but instead the Torah sets out a totally different approach.

(Rabbi Leonard Oberstein is the only native of Montgomery, Alabama to have ever attended a yeshiva. He was a member of the YU Debating team in 1964-65 when Rabbi Marc Angel was captain. Since then, he attended yeshivot in Israel and Baltimore . He served as a pulpit rabbi in Baltimore for 25 years and is active in a variety of roles in that community.)

A story is told of the great Hassidic master, Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berdichev. He had been visiting a town and attended prayer services in the local synagogue. One day, he stopped at the synagogue door and did not enter the sanctuary. The many people who were accompanying him were perplexed. Why did the Rebbe not enter the synagogue? Rabbi Levi Yitzhak told them: “I am not entering the synagogue because it's too crowded.” But the synagogue was empty! The Rebbe explained: “The synagogue is full of prayers, there's no room left for us.

Last year, the "Forward" (December 10, 2012) published an article listing the salaries of executives in Jewish not-for-profit organizations. Eighteen of these individuals are earning over $400,000 per year, with the top salary at over $879,000.

I subscribe to the notion that Jewish not-for-profits need to pay proper salaries to their employees. Unless proper compensation packages are offered, these institutions will not be able to attract the best and the brightest executives. Good executives are essential to the fulfillment of the missions of those organizations for whom they work.

(This article originally appeared in the Israeli newspaper, Ha-aretz, December 2012)

Hanukkah is widely observed as a holiday that celebrates religious freedom. The persecuted Jews of ancient Israel waged battle against their Syrian/Hellenistic oppressors, and won the right to rededicate the Temple and to restore Jewish worship and religious practices.

Religious freedom is a wonderful thing. It allows us to worship God freely, without being coerced or intimidated by others.

A Memorial Tribute to Rabbi Ezra Labaton
from Rabbi Marc D. Angel

We join the Labaton family in mourning the passing of Rabbi Ezra Labaton, one of the great American rabbis of our generation. Rabbi Labaton served for many years as rabbi of the Magen David Congregation of West Deal, New Jersey.

My personal and professional friendship with Ezra goes back about forty years. To me, he was one of the bright stars in the contemporary rabbinate in general, and in the Sephardic rabbinate in particular.

The Conversion Crisis

This article appears in Haaretz, February 8, 2013: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/converts-to-judaism-are-victims-of-israel-s-insulting-and-cruel-rabbinate.premium-1.502333

Reflections on the Conversion Crisis and the Rabbanut.
By Rabbi Marc D. Angel

(Rabbi Angel is Founder and Director of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals (jewishideas.org); and Rabbi Emeritus of the historic Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of New York City, founded 1654. Author and editor of 31 books, he is Past President of the Rabbinical Council of America (Orthodox), and a co-founder of the International Rabbinic Fellowship, an association of modern Orthodox rabbis.)

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.

This article appears in Haaretz, February 8, 2013: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/converts-to-judaism-are-victims-of-israel-s-insulting-and-cruel-rabbinate.premium-1.502333

Reflections on the Conversion Crisis and the Rabbanut.
By Rabbi Marc D. Angel

(Rabbi Angel is Founder and Director of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals (jewishideas.org); and Rabbi Emeritus of the historic Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of New York City, founded 1654. Author and editor of 31 books, he is Past President of the Rabbinical Council of America (Orthodox), and a co-founder of the International Rabbinic Fellowship, an association of modern Orthodox rabbis.)

The Jewish world has lost one of its most colorful, exciting and challenging rabbis and teachers. Rabbi Dr. Maurice Wohlgelernter, known popularly among his students as "The Reb," passed away on Saturday night June 22, 2013.

I first met The Reb in September 1963, as a freshman in his English 101 class at Yeshiva College. He was an astonishing teacher. He demanded clarity in our writing, marking each of our papers with an overly active red pen. He crushed our egos with his harsh grades--but he taught us, and taught us very well. To get an A from The Reb made it all worth while!

(Ronald Stekel was an active member of the British Jewish community before having made Aliyah.)

There are groups of Jews whose Rabbinic leaders have banned aspects of modern technology. One can see them with posters that cry out that they have no internet or computers, and they are proud of this. They believe it to be an ideal to be emulated by other Jews. I believe that it is dreadful.

When Noah left the ark he planted a vineyard and the Torah describes how he subsequently got drunk, and the demeaning events that followed. It would have been understandable if the Torah had banned alcohol but instead the Torah sets out a totally different approach.

(Rabbi Leonard Oberstein is the only native of Montgomery, Alabama to have ever attended a yeshiva. He was a member of the YU Debating team in 1964-65 when Rabbi Marc Angel was captain. Since then, he attended yeshivot in Israel and Baltimore . He served as a pulpit rabbi in Baltimore for 25 years and is active in a variety of roles in that community.)

A story is told of the great Hassidic master, Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berdichev. He had been visiting a town and attended prayer services in the local synagogue. One day, he stopped at the synagogue door and did not enter the sanctuary. The many people who were accompanying him were perplexed. Why did the Rebbe not enter the synagogue? Rabbi Levi Yitzhak told them: “I am not entering the synagogue because it's too crowded.” But the synagogue was empty! The Rebbe explained: “The synagogue is full of prayers, there's no room left for us.

Last year, the "Forward" (December 10, 2012) published an article listing the salaries of executives in Jewish not-for-profit organizations. Eighteen of these individuals are earning over $400,000 per year, with the top salary at over $879,000.

I subscribe to the notion that Jewish not-for-profits need to pay proper salaries to their employees. Unless proper compensation packages are offered, these institutions will not be able to attract the best and the brightest executives. Good executives are essential to the fulfillment of the missions of those organizations for whom they work.

(This article originally appeared in the Israeli newspaper, Ha-aretz, December 2012)

Hanukkah is widely observed as a holiday that celebrates religious freedom. The persecuted Jews of ancient Israel waged battle against their Syrian/Hellenistic oppressors, and won the right to rededicate the Temple and to restore Jewish worship and religious practices.

Religious freedom is a wonderful thing. It allows us to worship God freely, without being coerced or intimidated by others.

A Memorial Tribute to Rabbi Ezra Labaton
from Rabbi Marc D. Angel

We join the Labaton family in mourning the passing of Rabbi Ezra Labaton, one of the great American rabbis of our generation. Rabbi Labaton served for many years as rabbi of the Magen David Congregation of West Deal, New Jersey.

My personal and professional friendship with Ezra goes back about forty years. To me, he was one of the bright stars in the contemporary rabbinate in general, and in the Sephardic rabbinate in particular.

The Conversion Crisis

This article appears in Haaretz, February 8, 2013: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/converts-to-judaism-are-victims-of-israel-s-insulting-and-cruel-rabbinate.premium-1.502333

Reflections on the Conversion Crisis and the Rabbanut.
By Rabbi Marc D. Angel

(Rabbi Angel is Founder and Director of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals (jewishideas.org); and Rabbi Emeritus of the historic Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of New York City, founded 1654. Author and editor of 31 books, he is Past President of the Rabbinical Council of America (Orthodox), and a co-founder of the International Rabbinic Fellowship, an association of modern Orthodox rabbis.)