Miriam Shaviv

Fear is still holding us back

By Miriam Shaviv, January 8, 2016

It is easy to dismiss Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. The self-styled “Rabbi of America” has a reputation as a publicity hound, and his credibility took a serious blow with his relationship with Michael Jackson.

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Ban religion, lose the war

By Miriam Shaviv, November 26, 2015

There are many reasons why the West may be ill-equipped to fight against Islamism. We are afraid to get into another ground war in the Middle East; many of our armies and police forces are woefully under-resourced; we have no idea how to handle the sensitivities of Europe's Muslim population.

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The Chief’s damaging lack of judgment

By Miriam Shaviv, October 22, 2015

This month should be a triumph for Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.His flagship event, Shabbat UK, is now established in our calendar and, this weekend, the community will unite in celebration.

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Give us back a second day

By Miriam Shaviv, October 15, 2015

When night falls and Shabbat goes out, I feel a tinge of sadness. My 25-hour rest is over, and it's back to the grindstone.

Last week, as we made havdalah, my heart soared. Finally! We were entering a five-day work week. Since mid-August, what with the summer holidays, Bank Holiday and the High Holy Days, I've only had one full week of work.

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So far away, yet so together

By Miriam Shaviv, September 3, 2015

Our friends thought we were stark raving mad - and as I watched my daughters, aged six and nine, disappear up an escalator with a stewardess whom they had met only five minutes earlier, I wondered whether they were indeed right.

We were sending them for two weeks in Israel, without us.

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Small hopes for a big idea

By Miriam Shaviv, July 23, 2015

Two years after taking up his post, Chief Rabbi Mirvis has been solid and dutiful. He has visited many communities throughout the UK with welcome warmth. Yet we are still waiting for his "big idea" to stir the masses and secure his legacy. Given that he is only a few years away from retirement, he has only a short time to make a difference.

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Who watches the rabbis?

By Miriam Shaviv, June 11, 2015

Is there something particularly twisted about American rabbis? Over the past few months, American Jewry has been left reeling by a string of disgusting scandals involving its best-known modern Orthodox leaders.

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Will we ever see the light?

By Miriam Shaviv, April 30, 2015

Will Shabbat ever be the same? Over the past few days, the Orthodox internet has been furiously debating KosherSwitch, a device which allows electric lights to be switched on and off on Shabbat, without - its creators claim - violating halachah. KosherSwitch has endorsements from Charedi rabbis, although some have partially recanted.

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What's the left's right way?

By Miriam Shaviv, March 19, 2015

What is it going to take for the left to win an election in Israel?

This vote should have been theirs for the taking. Netanyahu, running for a fourth term, was suffering from voter fatigue, beset by personal scandal, and had a poor record on cost-of-living and other domestic issues.

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Show some respect, Israel

By Miriam Shaviv, February 5, 2015

The distorted view Israelis seem to have of European Jewry, and diaspora life, has become alarming. While Hamas rockets fly over their heads, Israelis seem almost obsessed by the idea that European Jews are facing annihilation.

This came to the fore last month following the Paris terror attacks.

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Beth Din must open doors

By Miriam Shaviv, November 13, 2014

The London Beth Din must count itself lucky that the epic scandal shaking the Orthodox community in America has yet to be noticed by Anglo-Jewry.

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How to make Israel's case

By Miriam Shaviv, August 21, 2014

How can Israel improve its hasbarah - public relations? The question pops up after every round of fighting. Allowing that Israel made some improvements during Operation Protective Edge - its spokespeople were mostly native English speakers and the IDF was pro-active on social media -the overall picture was still dire.

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Governmental deception

By Miriam Shaviv, July 10, 2014

The Israeli reaction to the revelation that an Arab teenager, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, was allegedly murdered by Israeli Jews has ranged from denial to - more commonly - disgust and depression that Jews could be responsible.

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Sneers from rabbis won't stop women

By Miriam Shaviv, March 6, 2014

In an Anglo-Jewish community known for its internal rifts and often harsh rhetoric, the discussion surrounding Partnership Minyanim – Orthodox prayer groups at which women lead some parts of the service — has been a breath of fresh air. Although it is a highly charged subject, commentators on both sides, from Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis downwards, have behaved with respect and sensitivity.

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Why death is trending on social media

By Miriam Shaviv, January 24, 2014

How do you approach death in the age of social media?

Avoid writing about it, is the advice of former New York Times editor Bill Keller and his wife Emma. Earlier this month, the couple published columns in the NYT and on the Guardian website, questioning the motives of Lisa Bonchek Adams, an American woman tweeting about her stage IV breast cancer.

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My cure for Holocaust fatigue

By Miriam Shaviv, December 13, 2013

About 10 years ago ago, I felt myself getting Holocaust fatigue.

Not that – God forbid – I stopped caring about the terrible atrocities or the national tragedy. Rather, I had reached saturation point. I had been surrounded by Holocaust stories and history for so long, I did not feel the need to know any more.

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Getting the girls’ message

By Miriam Shaviv, October 31, 2013

Nearly 20 years ago, I wrote a piece for a Jewish student magazine on the excitement of giving my first dvar Torah, or mini-sermon, at my Orthodox synagogue in Montreal.

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Stop this barmitzvah madness

By Miriam Shaviv, September 3, 2013

It’s time to do away with barmitzvah parties.

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Women's prayers answered

By Miriam Shaviv, June 17, 2013

When you hear the same promises from leaders for years, or even decades, cynicism is inevitable. So I will forgive any readers who laugh when I predict there is going to be significant progress on one of the thorniest issues facing our community: the role of women in Orthodoxy.

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End this personality cult

By Miriam Shaviv, May 2, 2013

It has been a bad year so far for Orthodox rabbis. Across the channel, French chief rabbi Gilles Bernheim quit after admitting plagiarising texts and faking his academic credentials while, last weekend, similar charges were levelled by Maariv against the Israeli chief rabbi, Yonah Metzger.

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