Articles by Laura Shaw Frank

Don't Damage American Jewish Ties To Israel During COVID-19
The power of visits to Israel to foster deeper attachment between American Jews and the Jewish state is well-known. 73% of American Jews who have been to Israel reported that their visit strengthened their connection to Israel, the AJC survey found. Israel and the organized American Jewish community need to think creatively and in partnership about how to recapture at least some of these lost opportunities during the pandemic.
Education Essential To Israeli-Diaspora Relations
Improving the reach and content of Israel education in America and Diaspora education in Israel must be an urgent priority. American Jewish Commitee (AJC) surveys of American and Israeli Jews give a holistic picture as to where improvement is needed to raise understanding about the richly complex Jewish communities in each center and to nurture opportunities for American and Israeli Jews to be lifelong learners about one another.
Shabbat Parshat Emor - AJC Shabbat Table
In this week's AJC Shabbat Table, we contemplate the meaning of counting the days of Omer, the seven weeks between Passover and the holiday of Shavuot, focusing on being mindful of our journey with all its uncertainties. We also remember the maiden voyage of the SS Theodor Herzl, the largest passenger ship that ever sailed under the Israeli flag.
Shabbat Parshat Acharei Mot-Kedoshim - AJC Shabbat Table
In this week's AJC Shabbat Table, we consider how to fulfill the commandment to rebuke others for wrongdoing in a way that effectively gets our point across and inspires change. We also mark the birthday of Oskar Schindler, the factory owner who became one of the most famous “Righteous Gentiles” for saving the lives of 1,200 Jews in the Holocaust.
Shabbat Parshat Tazria-Metzora - AJC Shabbat Table
In this week's AJC Shabbat Table, we contemplate the parallels between leprosy in Biblical times and today's epidemic of hate speech, which endangers all of society. We also remember the struggles of Jewish mathematician Emmy Noether and how discrimination denies us the contributions of those being excluded.
Shabbat Parshat Shemini - AJC Shabbat Table
In this week's AJC Shabbat Table, we contemplate what the Torah's prohibition against eating storks can teach us about compassion for those outside our immediate circles and we celebrate the birthday of Israel's largest city, Tel Aviv by remembering its idealistic Zionist founders who dreamed of building a modern Hebrew city.
Shabbat Shvi'i Shel Pesach - AJC Shabbat Table
In this week’s Shabbat Table, we consider how the bravery that led Nachshon ben Aminadav to wade into the Red Sea, bringing about God's parting of the waters can inspire today’s activists. We also remember the Jewish American patriot Haym Salomon who helped finance the American revolution against England.
Shabbat HaGadol - AJC Shabbat Table
In this week's AJC Shabbat Table, we discuss how matza is more than a bread of affliction, but a bread of transition from slavery to freedom, symbolic of where we are now in our journey from lockdown to normalcy. We also recall the conviction and execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg on charges of espionage and the impact that had on American Jewry.
Shabbat Parshat Vayikra - AJC Shabbat Table
In this week's AJC Shabbat Table, Moses gives us a leadership lesson in humility. We also recall the horror of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire that killed 146 garment workers and inspired Jewish labor activists to push for desperately needed safety standards in American factories.
Shabbat Parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei - AJC Shabbat Table
In this week's AJC Shabbat Table, we see how Moses’ reminder to the Children of Israel to keep the Sabbath holy coupled with the creation of the elaborate Mishkan prepares us to emerge from this pandemic armed with lessons about the sacredness of time and space. And in honor of Women’s History Month, we recall the “scandalous” bat mitzvah ceremony of Judith Kaplan that opened the door to women’s ritual inclusion in synagogues and arguably led to the ordination of women as rabbis.
Shabbat Parshat Ki Tisa - AJC Shabbat Table
In this week's AJC Shabbat Table, we ponder Moses’ contradictory instincts to defend the Children of Israel to God when he learns they are worshiping a Golden Calf, then explode in rage when he sees them worshiping the idol himself. We contemplate moments when our advocacy does not completely reflect our personal views. We also recall the politics that preceded the Second Intifada, mourn the innocent lives lost, and pray for peace.
Shabbat Purim Meshulash - AJC Shabbat Table
In this week's AJC’s Shabbat Table, we examine Queen Esther’s sudden transformation from a scared young queen to a warrior for her people. We provide some tools to help us reflect on moments that have changed our perspective and empowered us to make change. We also commemorate the anniversary of the Maryland "Jew Bill," which reminds us of a time when America didn’t always give Jews equal rights.
Shabbat Parshat Zachor - AJC Shabbat Table
In this week's AJC Shabbat Table, we consider the meaning of the commandment to remember Amalek in Parshat Zachor, the special Torah reading traditionally read on the Shabbat before Purim, and we provide some questions to spur conversation about the role of Jewish collective memory in ensuring the future of Judaism. We also remember the 1917 dedication of the Midrás Abarbanel, the first synagogue established in Madrid since the expulsion of Jews in 1492, marking a rebirth of Jewish communal life there.
Shabbat Parshat Yitro - AJC Shabbat Table
In this week AJC Shabbat Table, we ponder the lessons to be learned when Moses’ father-in-law instructs him to avoid burn out by delegating some duties. No one leads alone. It is only with communities of committed leaders that we accomplish our goals. We also recount Soviet refusenik Natan Sharansky’s triumphant arrival in Israel and we provide some talking points and resources for a discussion about the Working Definition of Antisemitism developed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.
Shabbat Parshat Beshalach - AJC Shabbat Table
In this week's Shabbat Table, we consider how Moses’ onus of carrying Joseph’s bones to the Promised Land can be a metaphor for how our predecessors’ goals and dreams keep us focused on our purpose. We remember how world Jewry united to fight the 19th Century Damascus Blood Libel and we discuss the plaudits and put downs of Israel’s comprehensive and speedy vaccination program.
Shabbat Parshat Bo - AJC Shabbat Table
In this week's Shabbat Table, we recount how Moses made sure the Children of Israel were able to take what they might need when they escaped Egypt and consider how to apply that same wisdom to preparing for life after the pandemic. We must remember the lessons we are learning about communication, loneliness, public health, and the importance of community. We commemorate the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, and we discuss what it means for the American Jewish community that so many Jews will be serving at the highest levels of the Biden administration.