The advantages of synagogue religious school

  I began my Jewish education in rather unconventional ways. After graduating from a Jewish preschool, my overwhelmingly nonobservant, unaffiliated parents sent me to the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland — a “black hat,” mainline-Orthodox Jewish day school. My stint there lasted exactly one year. A combination of price tag and ideology put an end to… Read More

Dialogue with a brick wall

The conversation between liberal Jewish movements and Orthodoxy sometimes sounds like both sides are talking to a brick wall. Neither side can penetrate the thinking of the other or evoke the slightest comprehension. Both sides walk away from the conversation feeling deeply hurt and undervalued. This lack of mutual understanding is especially apparent in the… Read More

Israel must grant equality to women

  NEW YORK — Is Judaism the problem or the solution to women’s equality? Try telling agunot, women who are chained to their husbands unable to obtain a get, a religious divorce, that they are equal to men. Overarching Jewish values like b’tzelem Elokim — that all people are created in the image of God… Read More

What took the Egyptian Army so long?

By Uriel Heilman When Mohamed Morsi won the election to become Egypt’s president a year ago, perhaps the biggest surprise was that the Egyptian Army allowed him to take the reins of power. After all, it was the army that had shepherded the coup that had deposed Hosni Mubarak a year and a half earlier… Read More

President Obama’s Circle of Friends

When President Obama came into office in 2009, he had big plans: close Gitmo, strengthen the economy, cut unemployment, make friends with the Muslim world, make peace in the Middle East, and bring about the day when “the rise of the oceans began to slow, and our planet began to heal…” Many of those plans, including the ones about… Read More

Jewish values dictate protecting gay marriage

  NEW YORK — In the early 1970s, while I was CEO of the Seagram Company, public dialogue about gay rights was largely nonexistent in corporate America. Social discourse had not yet even evolved into the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ethos that dominated the following decades. Homosexuality was simply not discussed and therefore, by implication,… Read More

Lessons learned on the playground

  In May, our congregational community (with a lot of help from friends) built a new playground. In the middle of winter we asked our kids to draw pictures of what their dream playground would include; our design team from Play by Design drew up a plan, using our theme of Jerusalem; on a Sunday… Read More