Jewish Journal

Julie Wiener

  • IDT’s CEO Jonas: Not a Typical Millionaire

    January 27, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    Don't be alarmed if you visit the Newark headquarters of telecommunications giant IDT, open the coat closet and stumble upon a lanky man in jeans, a wrinkled work shirt and running shoes.

    That's just Howard Jonas, the company's 48-year-old founder, chairman and controlling...

  • Intermarriage:The Contest

    May 8, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Since the 1990 National Jewish Population Survey (NJPS) reported that 52 percent of Jews were marrying non-Jews, the American Jewish community has been split on how to respond. While many on the left have called for greater outreach and acceptance for interfaith families, others have...
  • Groups Call for Divestment

    May 30, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    Israel supporters in Cambridge, Mass., have hit back hard in response to a small faculty campaign urging Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) to divest from companies doing business in Israel.

    Responding to a pro-divestment faculty petition that garnered...

  • Making the Grade

    May 23, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    With their abundant classroom hours, impressionable young students and highly involved parents, Jewish nursery schools have the power to help shape the Jewish identity of children and their families.

    But only 14 percent of American Jewish youngsters are enrolled in such programs....

  • UJC Israel Campaign Sets Priorities

    May 16, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    The North American Jewish federation system has designated five priority areas for allocating funds from its Israel emergency campaign.

    More than $119 million has been raised, most of it since April 8, when the national campaign was officially launched, according to officials of the...

  • Year Abroad?

    May 2, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, David Novak reassessed his life and decided to become a rabbi.

    The 39-year-old Novak, who lives in Los Angeles, opted to leave his longtime career in public relations and was accepted to the Reform movement's Hebrew Union College-Jewish...

  • Federations Answer the Call

    April 4, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    In a campaign reminiscent of one undertaken during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when Israel's survival was at stake, the North American federation system is hoping to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for Israel in the coming months.

    Robert Schrayer, chair of the United Jewish Appeal...

  • Recession Hits Jewish Education

    March 14, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    Hillel Day School of Metropolitan Detroit, a Conservative school, is raising its tuition by $1,000 for next year -- more than twice the usual rate of increase -- to make up for shortfalls in its endowment revenues.

    The Rabbi Jacob Joseph Schools in Staten Island, N.Y. and Edison,...

  • Enron Fallout in Houston

    January 17, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    The Enron Corporation and Linda Lay, the wife of its chairman and chief executive, have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Houston's Holocaust museum, accounting for approximately 10 percent of the institution's $3 million budget.

    Now enmeshed in scandal and bankruptcy,...

  • Jewish Identity Crisis

    November 8, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    A new study reporting decreased identification with Judaism and rising intermarriage rates is generating concern, but not shock, in the Jewish community.

    Instead, many leaders see the new findings, released last week, as a continuation of trends reported in the 1990 National Jewish...

  • Reform Leader Angers Orthodox

    October 25, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    U.S. Orthodox Jewish leaders are outraged by an Israeli Reform leader's comments drawing comparisons between fervently Orthodox Jews and the Islamic fundamentalists who attacked the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

    But Rabbi Uri Regev, the outspoken director of the Israel Religious...

  • Continued Help Could Harm

    October 4, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    Like many other charitable groups, the American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is collecting money to benefit the victims of the devastating Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

    But in addition to helping those hurt by terrorism, the New York-based humanitarian...

  • The Year In Review

    September 13, 2001 | 7:59 pm

    At the start of the Jewish year last Rosh Hashana, American Jews seemed on the cusp of fulfilling all their dreams. This year the major terrorist attack on American soil will no doubt have overshadowed every other event of the year.

    Last year, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), the...

  • An End to Denial

    September 6, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    The Borough Park section of Brooklyn is one of America's most visibly Jewish neighborhoods.

    On several residential blocks of one- and two-family brick homes, almost every front door has a mezuzah. Modestly dressed women push strollers, while girls in dresses and boys in tzitzit and...

  • Jewish Art Makeover

    September 6, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    A women's tefillin set with a beaded velvet box and blue satin straps.

    A silver "Kiddush" cup in which ceremonial wine passes through a delicately crafted silver net formed from the Hebrew word for "blessed."

    A sukkah with brightly painted walls made of the long, plastic


  • Yeshiva Students Still Going to Israel

    August 23, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    Jennifer Kessler always knew she would spend a year between high school and college studying at a girls' yeshiva in Israel.

    Her modern Orthodox day school in Los Angeles, Shalhevet, usually sends at least a third of the graduating class to Israel, and among the children of her...

  • Mixed Message

    August 9, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    The "report card" for non-Orthodox American Jewish teens should feature either an A or a D, depending on which of two new studies you read.

    With teen outreach a growing concern in the American Jewish community, a number of communities and agencies, including the Reform movement,...

  • The Impact of Intermarriage

    May 17, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    Jewish women who are intermarried create much more Jewishly identified households than do Jewish men married to non-Jews.

    But regardless of whether the mother is Jewish, most interfaith families -- even those raising their children as Jews -- incorporate substantial Christian...

  • Repairing the World

    April 12, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    According to a popular joke, a group of American Jewish tourists in Israel ask their tour guide, "How do you say tikkun olam in Hebrew?"

    Tikkun olam, of course, is a Hebrew term, one that describes the Jewish obligation to repair the world.

    The joke's humor lies in the fact that many...

  • A Matter of Time

    February 22, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    Michele Frankel of Fort Lee, N.J., wants her fifth-grade son, Roger, to get a Jewish education, but she also wants him to be able to go to baseball practice and complete his regular-school homework.

    Her husband works every other Saturday, so Sunday mornings -- often a Hebrew school...

  • Shining Examples

    February 15, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    A physician might be queen of the operating room, or a lawyer king of the courtroom, but put them up on a bimah, and without some serious background, they'll feel fumbling, foreign and clueless.

    And if that's the case, chances are they'll avoid feeling stupid by avoiding the bimah,...

  • Dirty Money?

    February 1, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    Exactly two weeks before a controversial last-minute presidential pardon made him a household name in the United States, Marc Rich was sitting in the VIP section at a mega-event for Birthright Israel in Jerusalem.

    Surrounded by thousands of young, primarily North American Jews on...

  • The evergreen interfaith dilemma

    December 14, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    Rabbi Mark Levin planned to attend a bris this holiday season just a few feet away from a Christmas tree. The Reform rabbi didn't know about the decorated evergreen until the baby's mother, who is Jewish and one of his congregants, called to make the arrangements and mentioned the...

  • Establishing Boundaries

    December 14, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    For those who look up to the American Jewish clergy, it has not been a good year. Last week, one of the Reform movement's most prominent rabbis was suspended from the movement's rabbinical association for past sexual misconduct.

    Shortly after his suspension from the Central...

  • Nervous But United

    November 16, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    In a speech that was the centerpiece of the North American Jewish federation system's gathering in Chicago this week, Israel's prime minister recalled being a small child when he heard of the United Nations' 1947 vote to partition Palestine.

    That period - when the Jews' willingness to...

  • Inspired Leader

    November 16, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    Rabbi Alexander Schindler, the longtime leader of the Reform movement best known for his support of outreach to intermarried couples and recognition of patrilineal descent, has died at the age of 75.He died early Wednesday morning from heart failure at his home in Westport, Conn. As...

  • Fundraising Fluctuations

    November 9, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    The umbrella organization for North American Jewish federations is now the seventh largest charitable organization in the United States, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

    This marks the first time in recent years that a Jewish organization has ranked in the top 20 of the...

  • Beyond the Glass Ceiling

    October 5, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    When word got out last week that Janet Engelhart had been named executive vice president of the Jewish Federation of Rhode Island - making her the only woman professional at the helm of one of the 40 largest federations - she received a flood of phone calls.

    Most were colleagues and...

  • Spreading the Word

    September 21, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Shirley Kotler of Los Angeles said her commitment to day schools stems from her interest in "perpetuating Judaism."

    "I'm frightened about assimilation," said Kotler, who funds the modern Orthodox Shalhevet school, which her grandchildren attend, and created an endowed faculty position...

  • Spiritual Transformation

    September 14, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    At Congregation Agudath Israel in Caldwell, N.J., more than 100 members gather twice a month to talk about their "spiritual journey."

    They break off into groups of 25 people, gather in members' homes and discuss things like family peace and caring for the ill, using Jewish texts and...

  • Voluntary Dues

    September 14, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco had a problem. No matter how hard it tried to promote its innovative Hebrew school, dynamic clergy or range of services, prospective members always had one question: How much does it cost?

    "They didn't want to know who the rabbi was or what the...

  • Redefining the Synagogue

    September 14, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    It's a Friday evening in the middle of summer and casually attired worshipers - many of them young singles - are lining up on Manhattan's West 88th Street to enter the large Gothic-inspired edifice that is B'nai Jeshurun.

    Virtually every seat in this large, recently restored Moorish...

  • Hadassah Kvelling Over Hadassah

    August 31, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    For activists in North America's largest Jewish women's organization, the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles was like a marketing dream come true.

    With Hadassah Lieberman's rise to fame as wife of vice-presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman, the name Hadassah had become a...

  • Uniting the Divided

    August 10, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Minutes after the official announcement that her husband would be the first Jewish vice presidential candidate on a major ticket, Hadassah Lieberman stepped on the national stage.

    "Here I am, the daughter of survivors from the Holocaust, the most horrendous thing that happened," she...

  • ‘The Rules’ vs. ‘Kosher’

    July 27, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    During a recent New York "debate" between "Kosher Sex" Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and the authors of the dating guide "The Rules," the largely Jewish audience was as raucous as that for any daytime talk show. Boteach, a 33-year-old Lubavitch showman whose provocative books and flair for...

  • Dropping Out

    June 22, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Elliot Maltz had a Bar Mitzvah two years ago, but he says his Hebrew school experience was "really boring" and "discouraged me from future practice."

    Maltz, a West Hartford, Conn., 15-year-old who spends most of his free time playing sports, says being Jewish is important to him, but...

  • Jewish Research Calling

    April 27, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    If you get a phone call in the next few months from a stranger with lots of questions, don't assume it's a telemarketer.

    The person on the other end of the line may be more interested in hearing about your Jewish identity than telling you about the latest credit card deal.


  • Critical Response

    April 27, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Yeshiva University is enmeshed in its own battle over gay and lesbian couples less than a month after the Reform movement affirmed the right of its rabbis to officiate at same-gender commitment ceremonies.

    Two lesbian students and a gay-lesbian-bisexual student group are suing Yeshiva...

  • Reaching Consensus

    April 13, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    When leaders from 119 North American Jewish federations met here this week, they did not make any earth-shattering decisions or vote on anything binding.

    Instead, they did what many involved described as even more revolutionary: They listened to each other, building trust and...

  • Condemning the Vote

    April 6, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    It's bad for Jewish unity, but not as bad as the decision to recognize the children of Jewish fathers and non-Jewish mothers as Jews.

    That's how Orthodox and Conservative rabbis are viewing the Reform movement's recent decision last week to affirm the right of its rabbis to officiate...

  • False Advertising

    March 30, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    An advertisement that appeared in 80 American Jewish newspapers last week, including this one, looked fairly innocuous.

    The title of a film, "The Rabbi," appears in Hebrew-style lettering, above a close-up shot of a bearded, yarmulka-wearing man praying at the Western Wall in...

  • Starting Up

    March 2, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    When a 30-something British financial investment manager took a few years off to study Jewish texts in Israel, he was struck by the differences between the financial and Jewish communal worlds.

    "In the private sector, at the moment, committed young people with good ideas can find...

  • Pillar of the Communities

    February 24, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    In a sign that the new Jewish buzzwords of "renaissance and renewal" are intrinsically linked to education, a top Jewish education professional has been tapped to oversee a national push to infuse Jewish life with more meaning.

    One of four pillars that will set the agenda for the...

  • Breaking Away

    February 10, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    The Anti-Defamation League is setting itself apart from Israel and most other American Jewish organizations in its refusal to boycott Austria.

    "I don't think the way you deal with the problem" of Joerg Haider's extreme-right Freedom Party participation in Austria's governing...

  • High Hopes

    February 3, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    The release on bail this week of three Iranian Jewish prisoners has raised hopes for their future, but not alleviated concerns that they and the other 10 accused of espionage will not receive a fair trial.

    Wednesday's release followed announcements earlier this week that a trial is...

  • Rabbi To Head Holocaust Museum

    February 3, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    Rabbi Irving Greenberg, an influential scholar and religious leader, is about to take another national position.

    President Clinton is expected to appoint Greenberg to head the voluntary council overseeing operations at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, according to...

  • Teaching The Tots

    August 26, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    The Jerusalem Talmud recounts the story of Rabbi Joshua, whose mother carried him in his cradle to the Beit Midrash, or house of study, so that "his ears would become accustomed to the sounds of the Torah."

    Early childhood Jewish education has changed a bit since then, and though the...

  • Help for Turkish Earthquake Victims

    August 19, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Jewish relief agencies and the government of Israel are mobilizing to send rescue missions and humanitarian aid to Turkey, in the wake of a devastating earthquake that, at press time, may have claimed more than 4,000 lives.

    The Israel Defense Force sent a 200-member rescue team to...

  • Money & Schools

    July 8, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    A film on the 1972 Olympic Games massacre of Israeli athletes has received an Oscar nomination for best documentary, while a Welsh film about the romance between a Jewish boy and a Welsh girl is in the running for best foreign film.

    The documentary "One Day in September" recreates...

  • Barak’s Threatened Promises

    July 8, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    The post-election optimism among advocates of religious pluralism in Israel has dampened somewhat with the inclusion of three Orthodox parties in Israel's new government.

    Reform and Conservative leaders -- who have been lobbying for years to have their rabbis, institutions and...

  • Taking the Middle Road

    June 3, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    The Reform movement's much-anticipated "Statement of Principles" may rival the Torah for most carefully scrutinized text in Jewish history.

    The two-page statement, which seeks to spell out just exactly what Reform Judaism is about, was discussed for close to two years, underwent six...