Aurora Mendelsohn

When Women Wear Kippahs

Yarmulkes aren’t just for men. From the classic doily to pink suede, Aurora Mendelsohn examines religious head coverings for women — and the messages they send.

No Women Shall Lead: Rabbi Hershel Schachter and other Orthodox halachic authorities say Jewish law bars so-called partnership minyans.

Partnership Minyan and the Egalitarian Threat

Partnership minyanim offer Orthodox women a leading role. Aurora Mendelsohn explores why rabbis are pushing back against these new egalitarian forms of prayer.

Having It All and Being Good Jew Too

Observant career women face a special challenge in balancing work with the demands of home. Unfortunately, Judaism has not yet lightened the burden on them.

School Tuition Should Be Based on Income

Jewish day school is expensive and the cost is beyond the reach of many families. The solution could be income-based tuition fees, argues Aurora Mendelsohn.

Exodus: ?Contrabands,? fugitive slaves emancipated upon reaching Union-controlled territory, sit outside a house, possibly in Freedman?s Village in Arlington, Va., in the mid-1860s.

From the Civil War to Our Seders, a Song of Redemption

The African-American spiritual “Go Down Moses” is a staple of contemporary Haggadot. Aurora Mendelsohn plumbs the history and lyrics of the song — once a rallying cry for escaped slaves.

‘Religion Is Actually Spirituality’: An Exchange

Last month, our Jay Michaelson, in a column titled “Religion is Actually Spirituality,” argued that “even the most diehard, hyper-rational, Lithuanian Orthodox, High Reform, or otherwise non- or anti-spiritual religionists perform religious acts because they want to feel a certain way. In other words, religion is a form of spirituality.” Michaelson’s take on the relationship between religion and spirituality drew spirited retorts from readers Aurora Mendelsohn, a Toronto biostatistician, and Alan Krinsky, a monthly columnist for the Jewish Voice & Herald in Providence, R.I. Their critiques are published below, as is Michaelson’s response.

Raising Cups, Dropping Oranges

At the first Seder my husband and I hosted in 1999, we eagerly incorporated two feminist rituals we had seen in the Ma’yan Passover Haggadah. We placed a Miriam’s Cup (a wedding gift from several years beforehand) on our Seder table and an orange on our Seder plate. Our mothers cheered.

But Bubbe and Zaide Were Hippies

On a Friday night at my shul, the children gathered to hear the rabbi tell an after-dinner story. His engaging style had them riveted to the tale of a bubbe who teaches her little grandson all about how faith and song magically hid her in the shtetl from the Cossacks.