Blog

General Topics

Religious Gangsters

I am saddened but not surprised by the news that the son of the Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, Shlomo Amar, has been arrested for beating up an Orthodox young man who offended by communicating with Amar’s unmarried daughter “unofficially”. Meir Amar, the son, is something of a suspect character altogether, but the Chief Rabbi’s wife, Mazal, has also been…

Continue Reading

General Topics

Pope John Paul

The papers have been full of the death of the Pope. Tributes from Jews have been flooding in. In Jewish terms, it could be argued he was the best and most pro-Jewish pope ever. He was, after all, the first pope to visit the Western Wall, to recognize the State of Israel, to visit the Synagogue in Rome (in four…

Continue Reading

General Topics

Christo’s Spiritual Gates

It was a wonderful experience to be in New York in February to see the hundreds of saffron “gates” erected in Central Park by the Bulgarian-born, French-educated and now American artist Christo and his wife, Jeanne-Claude. He has previously covered the Reichstag building in Berlin and the Pont Neuf in Paris and set up visually stunning, temporary artistic artifacts all…

Continue Reading

General Topics

Kiddush Clubs

The Orthodox Union (OU), which represents over 1,000 so-called Centrist or Modern Orthodox synagogues in North America, has decided to ban kiddush clubs! So what are kiddush clubs? Kiddush clubs are informal social gatherings in Orthodox synagogues on a Shabbat, that go on in rooms out of the main sanctuary during either the reading from the prophets, the rabbi’s sermon,…

Continue Reading

General Topics

Follow-Up to “Doing It”

Regarding a previous post on the rabbinic response to premarital sex in the Orthodox community: Question:I’ve heard of a case in Baltimore where the rabbi of one shul gave a sermon that was directed (though I don’t believe he mentioned names) toward a couple who weren’t married. They, of course, were offended and left the shul; but the next shul…

Continue Reading

General Topics

The Zoo Rabbi

Daniel Pipes is known in America as an effective commentator who tries to counterbalance biased reporting on the Middle East. As a result, he is vilified by the alliance of Left Wingers, Islamic lecturers at Columbia University, Israeli Anti-Zionists and Palestinian polemicists alike. He is feted by pro-Israelis, Right Wingers and Jewish fundamentalists. He was actually on Bush’s advisory board…

Continue Reading