For years, young Jews have voted with their feet after their bar or bat mitzvahs, with about half of those in non-Orthodox synagogues' religious schools leaving before the 12th-grade confirmation.
A lengthy battle over how the Reform movement should handle a charge of sexual misconduct against a California rabbi is coming to a head.
The execution of American Jewish civilian Nicholas Berg by Iraqi extremests for being a Jew.
At a small, suburban New Jersey synagogue next week, a pair of Holocaust survivors will pray, bar mitzvah children will recite the poem, "Butterfly," by a teenage death camp inmate and a choir will sing the "El Maleh Rachamim" blessing of God's compassion.
Paying taxes may be one of life's great certainties, but there's a bit more wiggle room when it comes to tax deductions.
The Conservative movement may continue to attract those for whom Orthodoxy remains "too restrictive" and Reform "too acculturated," but a more likely outcome will be "the demise of the Conservative movement," Rabbi Paul Menitoff wrote.
Joseph Kanfer deftly wrapped wires and affixed pieces of material to a truncated test tube. Then he glued the Hebrew letter "shin" to the creation, producing a mezuzah.
Rabbi Yoel Kahn originally married 13 years ago, but on Monday he tied the knot again -- to the same man.
Kahn, who leads a congregation in Sonoma, first wed his longtime partner Dan Dellm under a chuppah (Jewish wedding canopy), but on Monday they finally secured a marriage license from the City and County of San Francisco.
Jesus will appear on the Christian holy day of Ash Wednesday -- thanks to Mel Gibson. The Hollywood star directed and financed the $25 million epic "The Passion of the Christ," which is emerging from a nearly yearlong media storm and is due to hit 2,000 screens nationwide Feb. 25.
New York state legislators are trying to prevent insurance companies from blacklisting travelers to Israel so that they cannot obtain life insurance coverage.
Sheldon Silver, speaker of the New York Assembly, and Assemblyman Peter Grannis unveiled a bill Jan. 15 that would bar state insurance firms from denying life insurance to anyone who has traveled to Israel.
At Temple Congregation Ohabei Shalom in Nashville, Tenn., congregants newly trained in the ancient skill of shofar blowing sounded the ceremonial ram's horn for the first time this past Rosh Hashanah. It was the first time a lay member of the 150-year-old synagogue had blown the shofar.
"It was quite a pivotal moment" for the 800-family congregation, said its rabbi, Mark Schiftan.
Deeply rooted in classical Reform Judaism, the temple's services until recently were marked by choirs and English-only prayer. This Reform movement charter synagogue is undergoing upheaval, and it is not alone.
Reform Jews cannot go it alone.
That was the message at the Reform movement's 67th biennial in Minneapolis last week.
Despite numerically dominating the North American Jewish landscape, Reform Jews must reach out to other Reform Jews in Israel and Eastern Europe and fight anti-Semitism by forging closer ties to Christians, said the movement's president, Rabbi Eric Yoffie.
If you're concerned that the money you donate to Los Angeles Jewish charities is eaten up by administrative and fundraising costs, fear not.
Most Jewish charities in Los Angeles have a favorable rating for the amount of dollars spent on their projects compared to dollars spent on costs, according to Charity Navigator, a new philanthropic watchdog. The group assessed some 130 Jewish nonprofits, including seven from Los Angeles, among 2,500 charities across the United States. It then rated the groups based on the Form 990 tax returns that all nonprofit charities, except religious institutions, must provide annually to the IRS.
When Rabbi Mitchell Ackerson blew the shofar this past Rosh Hashanah, it reverberated throughout one of Saddam Hussein's former palaces. More than 100 Jewish members of the U.S. forces stationed in Iraq attended the High Holiday services at the former Iraqi dictator's Baghdad compound.
They seemed shocked and awed, not least by the echo.
Then under a late afternoon sun, the group performed the customary Tashlich ceremony outside the palace, casting pieces of bread representing sins into a private lake once owned by the Iraqi dictator's sons, Uday and Qusay.
The National Jewish Population Survey (NJPS) 2000-01, dubbed "Strength, Challenge and Diversity," offers key findings on demographics, intermarriage, Jewish "connections" -- that is, communal behavioral trends -- and such "special" topics as the elderly, immigration and poverty.
The Jewish population is aging and shrinking, its birthrate is falling, intermarriage is rising and most Jews do not engage in communal or religious pursuits.
Yet a majority attend a Passover seder and celebrate Chanukah, Jewish education is booming, and many Jews consider being Jewish important and feel strong ties to Israel.
These are not dueling headlines, but parallel portraits contained in the long-awaited National Jewish Population Survey (NJPS) 2000-01. Federations and Jewish communal leaders use these studies every decade for policy and planning decisions.
The ghosts of virulently anti-Semitic nuns may haunt Mel Gibson's new film about Jesus' final days, some Catholic and Jewish scholars are warning.
The growing hype concerns charges that "The Passion" blames Jews for Jesus' death. Gibson denies any anti-Semitic intent, and little attention has focused on the sources for his screenplay.
Rivera, 59, the flamboyant TV reporter, recently announced to the Philadelphia Inquirer and The Washington Post that he is planning to marry TV producer Erica Levy, 29, in a Reform ceremony in New York this summer.
The United States should be the country to bring Abbas to justice because "it's an American citizen who was murdered," argued Abraham Foxman, the ADL's national director. "We urge the Department of Justice to seize this moment to strike another blow in this nation's war on terrorism."
"He was a macho kid with a gentle soul," his mother said as she was preparing her house for the shiva. "He was like a sabra."
Besides limiting the TV viewing of his girls, ages 5 and 9, Finley said, "I tell them, 'I'll let you know when it's time to worry.'"
"When there's been a big battle," the rabbi continued, "I tell them the next day, 'It was time to worry, but I forgot to tell you, so now you don't have to worry.'"
And so each day goes for the Finleys and thousands of American families like them, who desperately hope to learn something about the fate of their loved ones and try somehow to deal with knowing very little.
Kayitz is one of approximately 1,000 Jewish men and woman serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. They represent a fraction of the estimated 20,000 Jews among the 1.5 million in the U.S. armed forces.
An emaciated death camp survivor stares blankly alongside a gaunt steer.
Financial wizard Michael Steinhardt is blunt in assessing the future of North American Jewry.
The next generation is "mostly Jewish ignoramuses," Steinhardt said. "We haven't convinced the general Jewish population of the value of a Jewish education."
The study, "Can Watching a Movie Lead to Greater Jewish Affiliation?" insists that the burgeoning Jewish film festival scene holds not only big box-office potential, but the possibility of moving unaffiliated Jews "along the continuum of Jewish involvement."
"If cloning was the way we were supposed to be fertile and replenish the Earth, as the Bible said, who needs Eve?" asked Rosalie Ber, an international lecturer on bioethics and head of the Medical Education Department at Haifa's Technion -- Israeli Institute of Technology.
Students from Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life gathered one night during the recent General Assembly of the Jewish federation system and confronted Richard Joel.
The students peppered Joel, Hillel's president and international director, with criticism that events during the United Jewish Communities' annual gathering had condescended to them.
Stephen Hoffman said he only learned of the missing data Tuesday, one week before the information from the NJPS about Jewish identity and intermarriage was due to get released at the annual UJC gathering, which brings together much of the organized American Jewish world.
Naked women covered in ... tallitot and tefillin? The black-and-white photographs in "Shekhina" (Umbrage Editions, $39.95) a new book by Leonard Nimoy -- a.k.a. "Star Trek's" Mr. Spock -- have ignited a debate in the Jewish community over art and censorship.
America's Jewish population declined by 5 percent during the past 10 years, according to a new survey, a trend that is likely to continue given the community's aging population and low birth rates.
This is the American Jewish world, by the numbers, as revealed in the just-released National Jewish Population Survey 2000-2001 (NJPS):
American Jews soon will see the fullest picture of their community ever developed.
Ads trumpeting Israeli democracy and the country's cultural and political similarities to America came to TV sets nationwide.
It was 1962, and Marilyn Monroe had just died. So George Kalinsky did what he always did when something important happened -- he visited a rabbi.
Typically an outspoken political activist, Rabbi Avi Weiss struggles for the right words when it comes to talking about Ground Zero.
U.S. college students back Israel over the Palestinians by a 4-1 margin, according to a new survey.
The mid-July survey of 300 students found that 43 percent of respondents called themselves supporters of Israel, while only 11 percent backed the Palestinians. Another 29 percent did not take either side in the conflict, however, and 10 percent said the United States should stand behind both sides equally, according to the poll taken by Washington pollster Stanley Greenberg.
When Mark Miller walks in downtown Jerusalem these days, he leans away from the street whenever he sees an oncoming bus.
The recent sex-abuse conviction of Rabbi Baruch Lanner for groping two teenage girls closed a highly disturbing chapter for the centrist Orthodox world. But it remains to be seen how deeply the controversy will transform the community.