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As Orthodox Jews, we assume a myriad of financial obligations in order to ensure that we can live in accordance with the tenets of our faith.  We give generously to our shuls and we make charitable donations to various organizations that service the Jewish community at large.  But one of the biggest investments we make is...

Jackie and the Jews/Irish/Italians/Blacks/Poles, etc. Ethnicity in Post-War America

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Jackie was the first. Jackie could not just play the game for himself. He was playing the game for every one of his race who had been denied a chance, whose future was closed because of racism and segregation. Indeed, as I remember it, Jackie played the game for every minority kid whose opportunities were constrained because of discrimination.

I was but a toddler when Jackie broke in. My mother was often ill and my father, a decorated World War II veteran, was struggling to make up for lost time in the post-war years. He was 35 in 1945, the year the war ended, 35 and just beginning his career which was delayed by the Great War and the Depression. In a frenzy to make something of his...

Orthodox in America

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An old saw about American Catholics of the 1970s and ’80s had it that “Catholics could not figure out whether they were Joe McCarthy or Gene McCarthy!”  The same holds true for American Orthodox Jews, who have a history and tradition of liberal politics and progressive stances in public affairs but who are sorely conflicted as their community has moved to the right religiously and politically.

Thirteen years ago, historian Jack Wertheimer wrote a prescient article, “The Orthodox Moment,” in which he incisively reported on a Jewish traditionalist world that, despite relatively small numbers (at the time 400,000 out of 5.5 million American Jews), has an outsized impact on Jewish...

If You Don’t Vote, Don’t Complain

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At one time or another, I am sure all of us have lamented something said or done by one of our elected representatives, or have questioned the wisdom of a decision made by the people who represent us in government. In theory, we may have every right to offer critiques of our elected officials, but quite frankly, doing so when we have not even registered to vote is hypocritical. That doesn’t mean you have to be a political activist, it means you have to become an informed voter. Freedom is a privilege, not a right. You earn and keep that privilege by voting.

Like everything in life, getting involved in the political arena is only as complex and time consuming as you make it. There are...

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