Michael Orbach


Sex Abuse Witness May Have Been Paid To Testify

By Michael Orbach

A landmark conviction of a prominent member of Brooklyn’s ultra-Orthodox community for sexual abuse faces possible reversal following the indictment of man charged with having bribed a witness to testify against the abuser.Read More


Cuba’s Remnant Rediscovers Religion

By Michael Orbach

Cuba’s Remnant Rediscovers Religion
The hubbub surrounding Cuba’s small Jewish community these days does not faze Yakob Berezniak Hernandez. Sitting behind a desk crowded with a typewriter, several cans of Lieber’s tomato paste and piles of loose foreign change, Hernandez, of Havana’s Adath Israel synagogue, waved away inquiries about Alan Gross, the 61-year-old American Jewish contractor sentenced to 15 years in prison March 15. Gross was found guilty of seeking to clandestinely distribute Internet satellite communications equipment to Cuba’s Jewish community on behalf of United States Agency for International Development.Read More


Questions for Hikind at Rally for Victims

By Michael Orbach

Questions for Hikind at Rally for Victims
It was at the very end of his solidarity rally for Orthodox victims of sexual abuse that the tensions beneath the surface of Assembly member Dov Hikind’s approach to the problem boiled up.Read More


Social Activism, Modern Orthodox-Style

By Michael Orbach

It was a typical crowd for a Yeshiva University student event: long skirts and long sleeves for the girls, yarmulkes and tzitzis for the boys.Read More


Reclusive Syrian Jews Denounce Hebron Eviction

By Michael Orbach

The recent eviction of Israeli Jewish settlers from a contested building in Hebron has provoked a loud and angry retort from the usually publicity-shy Syrian Jewish community of Brooklyn.Read More






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    • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
    • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
    • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
    • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
    • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
    • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
    • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
    • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
    • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
    • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
    • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
    • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
    • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
    • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
    • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
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