On My Mind: Arnie Eisen

Archive for January, 2012

Rabbinic Training Institute 2012

Prayer and Learning in the JTS Courtyard

Prayer and Learning in the JTS Courtyard

/ 24 Tevet 5772

I spent much of last week in the company of about 70 Conservative rabbis—participants in the annual workshop sponsored by JTS that is known informally as “rabbi camp” and formally as RTI, the Rabbinic Training Institute. The schedule includes text classes in the morning offered by faculty from JTS and other institutions (I co-taught a course with Rabbi Gordon Tucker on the nature and authority of mitzvah and halakhah). In the afternoons there are professional skills workshops offered by experts in the relevant fields (e.g., psychology or management). Read the rest of this entry »

Coming Closer to Israel

/ 10 Tevet 5772

I read the responses to my December 21st blog posting on the topic, “Distancing from Israel,” in the wake of a spate of news reports from Israel that graphically illustrated one piece of the problem we face in trying to overcome such distancing. It’s upsetting to many of us here in North America to see pictures of Haredi kids dressed by their parents with yellow Jewish stars in order to liken Israeli police enforcing Israeli law to Nazi murderers of Jews. It’s hard to watch settler extremists torch mosques and break into army bases to protest government policies and law-enforcement that they do not like. It’s painful to Jews brought up to be proud of the Jewish role in America’s civil rights struggle to see images of Jews in Israel separating men and women on buses on religious grounds or hurling abuse at a little girl because she does not dress as they think she should. And sometimes—often—it’s very hard to find images of Israel in our media that counter those. Where are the positive stories that do make us swell with pride? Read the rest of this entry »

On My Father’s Yortseyt

/ 8 Tevet 5772

My father’s third yortseyt begins this evening, and to mark the occasion I repost here a piece written for Mentshen, a blog series sponsored by the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs. They asked me to reflect on my father’s influence upon me. I am proud to share my response with you.

A lit yortseyt candle

Yortseyt candle, courtesy of Elipongo

It’s not difficult to recall numerous ways in which I have been shaped—as a person, a father, a Jew, a man, a friend, a husband, and much, much more—by my father, Alan Eisen (z”l), whose third yortseyt I will observe in early January. Read the rest of this entry »