An observant Jew was once brought before the judge on counts of tax fraud. Seeing the kippah-wearing Jew before him, the judge innocently asked, “Mr. Schwartz, you are clearly a God-fearing man. How do you explain your immoral behavior?”
It was a decision based on a widespread misunderstanding in the Jewish community, locally and nationally. A young boy not yet 10 years old lay brain dead in a Los Angeles hospital after suffering a severe head injury in an accident. The attending physician explained to the parents that their son was brain dead.
It calls on the government to establish Jewish religious courts that "will base themselves on appropriate moderate and tolerant prior halachic decisions to allow the conversion process to move forward.
Although the Orthodox community is committed to the existing ketubah document, whose language comes from the Mishnah, Blau said he has no problem with a bride and a groom making additional agreements and commitments, as long as they do not controvert Jewish law.
While not everyone is jumping on the 'I gotta be me' funeral bandwagon, a funny thing is happening on the way to the mortuary. When it comes to thinking about the end of life, be it in the business of funeral homes or in the minds of Jews everywhere, the world is changing.
Agriprocessor raid's effects ripple across the community
Like other virtual learning and videoconferencing, Web Yeshiva students see and hear each other and the instructor in the virtual classroom.
The pain felt by the family and near environment of any murder victim is deep and traumatic. The murder of adolescents in an educational institution is horrifying. But a murder that takes place within the walls of the house of study, the yeshiva, amplifies and extends the grief and suffering beyond the families that lost their dear ones and beyond the victims' close surroundings.
In Israel, the "non-Jewish Jews," as some Israelis call them, are everywhere. They drive buses, teach university classes, patrol in army jeeps and follow the latest Israeli reality TV shows as avidly as their Jewish counterparts. For these people -- mostly immigrants from the former Soviet Union who are not Jews according to Israeli law -- the question of where they fit into the Jewish state remains unanswered nearly two decades after they began coming to Israel.
"Numbers don't keep me up at night; Israel keeps me up at night," Eisen said. "I'm worried about the security of Israel, and I'm worried about the apparent decline in attachment on the part of American Jews to Israel. This literally, from time to time, keeps me up at night."
Despite the popular view of what we were arguing about, I believe that the subject of gays was not what we were really divided over. It happened to be the specific subject that revealed the real fault lines in the committee, and in the Conservative movement in general.
The question of whether Talmud is indeed part of Jewish learning for girls and women in traditional Orthodox education has come under debate in the last two decades in Orthodox circles.
Local reaction was positive -- with an element of wait and see -- to the choice of Stanford professor Arnold Eisen as the new, de facto leader of the Conservative moment. Eisen, who isn't a rabbi, will take over this summer as chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.
These two cases vividly illustrate the current problems of the modern day agunah (a woman chained to an unwanted marriage), because halacha (Jewish law) gives the husband the sole, unfettered power of divorce. While under Ashkenazic tradition a woman can withhold her "consent" to such a divorce, the remedies available to the victim of a recalcitrant husband or wife differ substantially.
Grief erases all regular rules. All the logic that has ever seemed to govern one's life suddenly seems useless. More than useless, it seems pointless.
Even as Ron Reagan makes a case for stem cell research at the Democratic National Convention, Californians may take matters into their own hands. In November, the state ballot will include a 10-year bond issue, which would generate $3 billion for stem cell research.
In downtown Los Angeles, three judges are deciding a case involving tens of millions of dollars and dozens of properties. The judges aren't dressed in robes or seated behind wooden podiums with a court reporter close at hand. Instead, the three bearded rabbis are sitting in a small conference room at a table piled high with documents they peruse carefully.
Robby Berman was a journalist living in Israel writing about organ donation when he came across some alarming facts: Out of 200 people who were declared brain-stem dead in a given year, only 70 families agreed to organ donation -- giving Israel the lowest percentage of organ donors in the Western world.
As a woman prepares to say "I do," her friends prepare to stand by her side in purple puffy dresses and lavender dyed shoes. In sickness and in health, in velour and in taffeta, in chartreuse and in lemon. As her bridesmaids, they will participate in a tradition that may be as old as Judaism itself.
In our studies at Beth Chayim Chadashim's (BCC) Queer Jewish Think Tank, we are not throwing out the halacha, nor are we bending and twisting the texts to suit our own devices ("A Conservative Challenge," Jan. 17).
Because elder care can be an enormous drain on an individual's resources, with nursing homes costing in excess of $100 a day and home care costing even more, planning ahead and buying long-term-care insurance is one way of preventing the costs from being too overwhelming.
The heart of the dispute centers on whether Sea Point must observe the standards of halacha demanded by the country's chief rabbinate in Johannesburg, or whether it can adopt looser standards.
In our sex-saturated -- and in fact, as a result, sexist -- society, men and women eschewing handshakes to avoid any semblance of misplaced sexuality might seem a bit much to many.
My mother is in a nursing home now. Every month or so she has to be taken to the hospital for a week.