Author: Gerald M. Schreck

Chairman’s Message – Spring 2020

Some decades ago, when I was about to graduate Yeshiva University where I majored in English literature, I was encouraged to take an aptitude test. I did, and once I got the results, I shared them with my mother. “Mom,” I said, “I scored high in abstract thinking.” “How will you support a family with […]

Chairman’s Message – Winter 2019

“Never before in Jewish history has it been so easy to learn a blatt gemara as it is today.” The above line could have been written in 2019, but it was actually written in 1997 in an article published in the now-defunct Jewish Observer entitled “New Technological Frontiers in Dialing the Daf,” by Rabbi Eli […]

Chairman’s Message – Summer 2019

Our Letters to the Editor section is more than just a window into what contemporary Orthodox Jews are thinking. It is also a historical record for future generations.

Chairman’s Message

The April 2011 issue of Harvard Business Review, a publication targeting successful businessmen and corporate executives, focused on a somewhat unusual topic: failure. Dubbed “the failure issue,” the edition featured numerous CEOs discussing their insights into failure and making mistakes—sometimes worth billions of dollars. In one article, former Procter & Gamble CEO Alan G. Lafley […]

Chairman’s Message Summer 2018

In this issue we also explore the trend of Israeli Chareidim—both men and women—joining the high-tech industry and what this means for Israel’s future. Barbara Bensoussan takes a look at Sephardic Kinot and the unique Moroccan traditions on Tishah B’Av, and Sarah Rindner visits the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC, and questions whether religious visitors have anything to gain from this fascinating enterprise.

Chairman’s Message

While Jews have never been actively involved in proselytizing, there is no question that converts and descendants of converts, ranging from Ruth to Onkeles to Rabbi Akiva, have enormously enriched Jewish life and history. In contemporary times, converts continue to contribute to the Jewish world in profound ways. Indeed, each of the converts profiled in […]

Chairman’s Message

  The past few months have been extraordinarily tumultuous for Israel, a country not unaccustomed to instability. The disengagement, the demise of Sharon’s political life, the stunning Hamas victory and the violence at Amona have served to repeatedly remind Israeli and American Jews alike of the truth of the old Yiddish adage “Man tracht un […]

Chairman’s Message – Fall 2017

We do not purport to offer solutions to the challenge of prayer. We don’t want to provide quick, simplistic answers to complex, nuanced problems; we are hoping to start an important communal conversation about how we can improve tefillah, for ourselves and for our children.

Chairman’s Message – Summer 2017

I haven’t seen any studies done specifically on the reading rates among Orthodox kids, but I’m fairly optimistic that frum kids are still reading.

Chairman’s Message – Winter 2016

In our war against Jewish apathy and assimilation, victory sometimes seems impossible; the situation appears dire and depressing. However, Chanukah reminds us that miracles do happen.

Chairman’s Message – Fall 2016

At the time, Williamsburg was a community of survivors. While my friends and I were American born, we were surrounded by Jews who emerged from horror of the Holocaust and had lost everything in the European inferno.

Chairman’s Message – Summer 2016

There are two photos on my iPhone that I am careful never to delete: one is Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel’s high school graduation photo. Rabbi Finkel, zt”l, known as “Nate” in his youth, was an all-American, baseball-loving teen who graduated from Ida Crown Jewish Academy, a Modern Orthodox day school in Chicago. The second is a photo of Rabbi Finkel when he was the venerated rosh yeshivah of Mir in Yerushalayim, a yeshivah that today boasts some 7,000 students.

Chairman’s Message – Spring 2016

While reviewing the table of contents for this edition, I could not help but be amazed by the wide-ranging topics included in this issue. From Dr. David Berger’s insightful critique of Rabbi Shlomo Riskin’s new book The Living Tree: Studies in Modern Orthodoxy to our look at the diverse and growing communities in Yehuda and the Shomron, home now to nearly 400,000 Jews, this issue is filled with a variety of thought-provoking and inspirational material.

Chairman’s Message – Winter 2015

Back in the fall of 1985, the first issue of Jewish Action made its much-anticipated appearance. The brainchild of the then OU Publications Chairman Joel Schreiber and Rabbi Matis Greenblatt, the magazine was to be a thoughtful, intellectually sophisticated publication that would “project the interests, concerns and values of the Orthodox Union and the Orthodox world.” The very first issue, a slim publication with a mere fifty-six pages, included features on the “Mi Yehudi” issue, an article entitled, “Threats to Israeli Air Superiority,” and a survey of adult Jewish education programs.

Chairman’s Message – Fall 2015

In this issue, we are honored to present poignant recollections and stories of Rav Aharon Lichtenstein, z”tl, the rosh yeshivah of Yeshivat Har Etzion and one of the foremost leaders of Modern Orthodoxy, who passed away this past April.

Chairman’s Message – Summer 2015

Our editorial board thought long and hard before going ahead with this issue’s somewhat controversial cover story, “When Leaders Fail: Healing from Rabbinic Scandal.” Members of the board were concerned: Could we handle this delicate subject matter with the right combination of erudition and empathy? Could we address the issue from all angles—psychological, emotional, spiritual […]

Chairman’s Message – Spring 2015

A caveat: while reading the cover story in this issue about the frightening rise in anti-Semitism, it is easy to succumb to the notion that Jews are being targeted the world over, that we have no friends, that every non-Jew—from our colleagues at work to the neighborhood “Shabbos goy”—is, beneath his or her courteous exterior, […]

Chairman’s Message – Winter 2014

Growing up in Williamsburg in the fifties and sixties, I had something most of my friends could only dream of having: grandparents. I even had both sets. My friends, most of whom were children of Holocaust survivors, had no relatives to speak of—certainly not grandparents. My mother’s parents had traveled to the United States from […]

Chairman’s Message – Fall 2014

I grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust. Williamsburg in the 1950s and 60s, as I have written about in this column many times, was comprised of mostly survivors—men and women with numbers on their arms but a fire in their souls. These were Jews who drew upon their vast reservoirs of faith to build […]

Chairman’s Message – Summer 2014

Not too many readers understand what it takes to come up with an eighty-eight-page full-color thought-provoking magazine, issue after issue, year after year. But since we recently learned that Jewish Action won four Simon Rockower Awards for Excellence in Jewish Journalism for work produced in 2013, I decided to give our readers a rare behind-the-scenes […]

Chairman’s Message – Spring 2014

We are all familiar with the expression “two Jews, three opinions.” The fact that the Jewish people are opinionated is nothing new. Our Sages argued and debated endlessly in the Talmud; in fact, the Talmud is one long record of rabbinic disagreement.

Chairman’s Message – Winter 2013

As I write this message on a Motzaei Shabbos in early October, we just finished reading parashas Lech Lecha, where God tells Avraham to leave his birthplace, his family and all that is familiar to him and embark upon a journey. While the text does not explicitly state why God chose Avraham to father the […]