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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 3, 2009 Rav From page 4A The ordination of Sara Hur- witz and scheduled opening in September of Yeshivat Maha- rat, aseminary forwomenwho seek to emulate her path, are part of the natural outgrowth of this brand of Orthodoxy, ac- cording to Rabbi Weiss. Some see it as left wing; he describes itas fillingavacuum, grounded in halacha "but not frozen." He insists that his decision to find an alternative to the title "rabbi" for Sara Hurwitz was not driven by concern that his Chovevei graduates would be further marginalizedwithin the Orthodox mainstream. (At present, the Rabbinical Council of America, the largest group of Orthodox rabbis, does not accept Chovevei graduates as members.) The rabbi says he does not dwell on the "negative energy" of a political dispute. He belongs to the RCA but last year co-founded the Rabbinic Fellowship, designed as a safe space for rabbis to deal with issues without pressure from the religious right, and viewed as a group his Chovevei gradu- ates could join. He takes pride that those graduates, now numbering 54 (from six graduating classes since 2004), have posts in well-established Orthodox congregations around the country, and serve as Hillel rabbis on campus, day school teachers and chaplains. Rabbi Weiss feels Orthodoxy has not sufficiently "inspired our best to feel that the highest meaning is to serve others-- not just Orthodox Jews, but all Jews, and beyond the Jewish community." And regarding women, he says: "With a dearth of leadership, to only tap into 50 percent of our community is tragic." That's what he calls his "point of departure." Rabbi Weiss says his agenda regardingwomen's ordination "was not the title, but changing the facts on the ground," and he emphasizes that Maharat Hurwitz is a "full member" of his rabbinic staff in stature and salary, limited only by the constraints of halacha. "She can do 95 percent ofwhat other rabbis do," he said. "There's a sadness within me," he added, because "Sara has achieved so much and I want the focus to be on that, not what she hasn't achieved." He believes that American Jews are hungering for "spiri- tual leadership" and to help meet that need, he advocates a "spiritual activism," which he defines, in his book on the subject last year, as "an act performed on behalf of the 'other.' Spiritual activism characterizes all action that emerges from the spiritual, divine base." So Rabbi Weiss hopes to keep expanding on that notion, and his women's yeshiva will open in September. But the fact remains that the contro- versy over women's ordination continues, even very close to home. The new yeshiva will be part of HIR, separate and independent from Chovevei. In response to reports that there has been opposition among Chovevei faculty and students to her rabbinic status, Maharat Hurwitz said only, "there have been some dis- heartening aspects and some painful days."And ironically, to date she is not a member of the Rabbinic Fellowship that Rabbi Weiss co-founded in 2008. "I'd like her to be," he said. But it's clear there are members who are opposed. A vote is due when the group meets next. Rabbi Weiss prefers to focus on the positive, the incremen- tal steps that have been taken. Maharat Hurwitzwill serve on the faculty of the new yeshiva; it will be a three- to four-year program focusing on "practi- cal halacha and pastoral train- ing" as well as rigorous Talmud study. A handful of women are expected to enroll initially, and the goal is ordination. Perhaps by the time they graduate they will have a title other than Maharat. Maybe even "rabbi." Gary Rosenblatt is editor and publisher of the New York Jewish Week, from which this column has been reprinted with permission. He can be reached at gary@ Questions PAGE 23A JFS From page 3A helped build a family through its adoption program. According to committee co-chair GayleWorman, "This evening is all about JFS and how it serves the community. Supporting those in need of a helping hand is one of JFS' major principles. "We will be honoring people of valor who exemplify the spirit of volunteerism and community minded- ness, who dedicate their time and energies to aiding those in need." For more information re- garding Evening of Valor, to join a committee or learn about sponsorship oppor- tunities, contact Es Cohen, director of development, at 407-644-7593, ext. 241. From page 5A between jail or freedom for one of their colleagues? Finally, AIPAC and the American Jewish community as a whole were not the only ones to ignore the Israeli prin- ciple of never leaving a soldier on the battlefield--Israel forgot its own motto. A good part of the govern- ment's case revolved around charges that Rosen and Weiss- man had discussions with representatives of the Israeli government about what the duo learned from U.S. of- ficials. Being able to prove that Israeli officials already had learned of the information directly from U.S. officials or had been the original source of the information that the U.S. officials had told Rosen and Weissman was critical to the defense. So one would as- sume that Israel would make the officials with whom Rosen and Weissman spoke available for interviews and possible testimony. That assumption would be wrong. Request after request to the Israeli Embassy in Wash- ington and its attorneys, and to officials in Israel were denied. They would not agree to an interview, even in Israel; they would not agree to an exchange of information, even through attorneys; they would not agree to help in any way. This was not the case of Jonathan Pollard or any- thing similar, yet the Israeli government, like American Jewish groups, reacted as if it were. How was it fair for the Israeli government to benefit from the work of these AIPAC employees when it was convenient and then abandon them when there was a little contro- versy? Was this a result of U.S. pressure? Now U.S.v. Rosen and Weissman is over. The govern- ment has admitted defeat; the two men and their families are left to try to pick up the pieces after a four-year struggle. A number of things that would have been revealed at trial will now stay under wraps, perhaps forever. But some things do not have to be forgotten, and for that to happen, there are questions that must be answered. Abbe D. Lowell represented Steve Rosen, who has filed a defamation lawsuit against AIPAC. Baruch Weiss and John Nassikas served as defense attorneys for Keith Weissman. EDITOR'S NOTE: At the request of JTA, a spokesman for AIPAC, Patrick Dorton, offered the following response to this article: The op-ed by attorneys Lowell, Weiss, and Nassikas represents only one version of the case based on a very particular point of view. But until the threat of litiga- tion currently posed by Mr. Rosen's ongoing lawsuit against AIPAC has been resolved, AIPAC is necessar- ily constrained in its public statements. Where there is no question to be asked or answered is in the AIPAC payment of Mr. Rosen and Mr. Weissman's legal fees. AIPAC provided millions of dollars to provide for a full legal defense through appeal for these two indi- viduals--a sum that AIPAC prudently negotiated with its top-notch legal counsel (the authors of the op-ed) and a sum that its legal counsel mutually agreed to accept to provide Mr. Rosen and Mr. Weissman with the full legal defense they received. Hate From page 5A EuroPean counterparts to join him in fighting hate crimes. These examples of leader- ship are encouraging, but declarations and speeches will take us only so far in this fight. Nations also must work to strengthen hate crime laws, establish monitoring and reporting systems, ensure ad- equate police training on hate crimes, and invigorate efforts Men From page 11A conquer Jewish life and to re-occupy synagogue roles that women have rightly entered," Salkin says. "This is its own form of affirmative action." "While we do not in any way mourn the passing of the exclusively male minyan, it is unfortunate that men are increasingly distancing themselves from Jewish religious life--as worshipers, as students of Torah, and as synagogue leaders," Salkin writes. Iran From page 14A hostile to us," Woolsey said. "But after the elections, that have been so clearly stolen, and the violence brought against the demonstrators by the regime, I think it is a very bad idea for us not to be supportive of the demon- strators." Not doing so gives license to the clerics to crack down on the demonstrators, he argued. to reach out to and work with victim communities and civil society groups. Fortunately, they do not have to achieve these goals alone. The United States has been and must continue to be a strong international voice on combating anti-Semitic and other hate crimes globally. Though far from perfect in its effort to combat intoler- ance, the United States does have a comprehensive nation- "It's not as if synagogues want to exclude men; that is hardly the case. Women were able to articulate what they wanted--what they demanded--out of Jewish life. Men must do the same thing, and vigorously." "The question is whether the pendulum has swung too far, that men are disap- pearing from the synagogue," says Steven Bayme, direc- tor of the American Jewish Committee's Department of Contemporary Jewish Life. "The successful synagogues today are the ones moving Younger leaders of the Irani- an Jewish community are not holding back like their elders; many said they are supportive of the Iranian students seeking democracy for their country. "Among young Persian Jews in Los Angeles, the 'is- sue' of Iran has transformed from a policy question about a nuclear program, Holo- caust denial and a threat to Israel, to a visceral fight for human rights, freedom and wide hate crimes reporting system and a criminal justice system that recognizes the unique nature of these violent acts. American leaders should engage their European coun- terparts in an effort to fight anti-Semitism and provide assistance as foreign govern- ments work t establish or strengthen Official Systems of monitoring and reporting of hate crime Violence. The U.S. model for hate to programs that involve the entire family." Salkin says his book of commentaries fills a spiritu- al vacuum. "If this book did not exist," he says, "Jewish men might still be scratch- ing their heads and asking, 'What's in Judaism for me?' We believe,', he says, "that just as women came back into Jewish life, the same thing can happen to men." Steve Lipman is a staff writer for the New York Jewish Week from which this article was reprinted by permission. democracy," said Sam Yebri, president of 30 Years After, an L.A.-based advocacy group for young Iranian American Jews. "Seeing young protest- ers who share so much in common with us marching, and now getting beaten and murdered in Tehran, has inspired young Persian Jews in Los Angeles with a pride in the people of Iran, which for too long had been dormant." Representatives at the crimes data tracking, which includes incidents motivated in whole or in part on the basis of the victim's race, national original, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and disability, would be a valuable tool for other nations to employ. But if the June 10 shoot- ing at the U,S. Holocaust Memorial Museum taught us anything, it is that the United States also must exercise con- Signs Prom page 13A visitors from Europe, Israel and North America. Tour guides, taxi driv- ers, shopkeepers and even panhandling street people were uniformly polite and welcoming to tourists, what- ever their attire. But one guide told that me he found women with bare arms and short skirts "disrespectful to our religion." From his office in Mon- treal, David Bensoussan, the Moroccan-born president of the Unified Sephardic Com- Iranian Mission to the United Nations did not return calls for comment. For more about the Iranian elections and to listen to a podcast interview with former CIA Director R. James Wool- sey, visit Karmel Melamed's blog, Iranian American Jews, at iranianamericanjews/. Reprinted with permission from the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. tinued vigilance against anti- Semitic and other violent hate crimes at home and update the tools that law enforcement has to combat them. There is an opportunity right now to take such ac- tion: The Senate should pass the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act and President Obama should sign it into law, Without question, if the United States is to be a munity of Quebec, told me later that Moroccan Jews are unlike those in any other in Arab lands. "Many people try to stick the image of Iraqi Jews or Egyptian Jews" onto Moroccan Jews, he said in a telephone interview. "It is not exactly the same. In Morocco, you can be a Jew Tribe From page 14A Satmar chaplain, and the fears about Islamic chaplains spreading radical Islam in prison, there is a strange pattern of back scratching among these chaplains. The supervisor of the city's 40 chaplains is Imam Umar Abdul-Jalil, who in 2006 told inmates in upstate's Woodbourne prison that President George W. Bush was "the biggest terrorist in the world." He also has spoken out against "Zionists in the media." Despite being condemned by Jewish organizations and investigated by the FBI, he global human rights leader, progress must start at home. And if Europe is to end the troubling trend of rising anti-Semitic and other violent hate crime, it must further open its eyes tothe problem and mount a more vigorous and comprehen- sive response. Paul LeGendre is the direc- tor of Human Rights First's Fighting Discrimination program. in Morocco, no problem. You have 75,000 Israelis coming there every year. A lot of Moroccans have learned to speak Hebrew now because of the Israeli tourists." Robert Wiener is a staff writer at the New Jersey Jewish News from which this article was reprinted by permission. was publicly defended as a good person by chaplains Leibowitz and Glanz, even though Glanz, as a Giuliani appointee, was thought to be Abdul-Jalil's political opposite. In turn, it was Abdul-Jalil who gave Glanz permission for the controversial in-prison bar mitzvah. The imam was reprimanded, but did not lose his job, was praised for his good work by Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and the investiga- tion continues. Jonathan Mark is the as- sociate editor of the New York Jewish Week, from which this article was reprinted by permission.