The year was 1994; South Africa was hanging on a thread. The first free general election was about to take place on April 27.
The Iranian nuclear issue and Palestinian peace talks may be dominating the news about Israel nowadays, but if discussions within the Jewish state focused on any social challenge this year, it was the question of how to integrate the Charedi Orthodox population into Israel’s workforce and military.
While Jews were able to enjoy the rare, simultaneous celebration of Thanksgiving and Chanukah this year, Judaism has long been had something in common with the American holiday.
The longer Israelis live in the United States, the less critical of Israel they are likely to be, a new survey suggests.
Rumors of the Conservative movement’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, according to Arnold Eisen, chancellor of the New York-based Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), the movement’s de facto intellectual center.
Of late, it’s been depressing to be a Conservative Jew. News of demographic and organizational challenges have fed a frenzy of articles delighting in our imminent demise.
When we are children, Chanukah often seems the most important holiday -- after all, we get gifts and chocolate coins.
Detroit is bringing in the Jews. A couple of weeks after hiring Brad Ausmus as manager, the Tigers on Wednesday traded for Ian Kinsler, previously of the Texas Rangers, to play second base.
“Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts; the entire earth is filled with his glory” (Isaiah 6:30). If Isaiah is correct, with every step we take, with every breath we draw, we cannot help but encounter God’s glory. And yet who among us is constantly aware of this fact, this daily miracle?
Rob Eshman’s criticism of former President George W. Bush’s public support for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute (MJBI) is well put (“Why Bush Was Wrong,” Nov. 15). However, the participation of a former president in MJBI’s activities should be profoundly insulting to all Americans regardless of religion.
What do you do when your back is to the wall? When tensions are so high, annihilation seems imminent?
Admit it. It is bad timing, these two very unique festivals of two very different faiths colliding in time and space. Even when our Hebraic lunar calendar separates the two by a week or so, the commercial heralding of both in our consumer-focused society continually blends the two, as if Chanukah were some Jewish version of Christmas.
Seventy-five years later, the very word Kristallnacht still casts a long shadow — on Europe and on the Jewish people. The countrywide pogrom orchestrated in 1938 by the German High Command marked the Nazi regime’s transition from the quasi-legal, anti-Jewish discrimination of the Nuremberg Laws to the coming of the Final Solution.
Traveling reminds us that the old is distinctive and the new melds together. I had never been to Thailand, or indeed to any country in Southeast Asia. As the bus rolled through the streets, nothing in the facade of the 7-Eleven convenience store or the crushed muddle of Bangkok traffic proved startling.
“And Leah’s eyes were tender, but Rachel was fair in form and fair to look at, and Jacob loved Rachel” (Genesis 29:17).
In my last column, I suggested a number of reasons for the rise of Orthodox Judaism and the decline in membership among non-Orthodox denominations.
A provocative discussion on sex and spirituality. Whether you are single, married, have a great sex life, or want one — join the conversation as we talk about what sex means to a relationship and how it is reflected in our faith.
On Thursday afternoon, Oct. 31, Mendel Tevel appeared in a Los Angeles Superior Court for the first time since his arrest two days earlier by Beverly Hills police acting on a warrant issued by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office. Tevel, a rabbi and youth worker, is accused of 11 counts of alleged sexual abuse in New York.
Having conquered coffee, Starbucks is now moving into tea. The coffee giant’s newest venture, Teavana, launched with a tea bar on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
“You are being relocated to a labor camp,” the Hungarian gendarmes, or police, announced to the Jews of Sopron, Hungary, who had spent the previous two weeks confined to a windowless tobacco factory. Edith Jacobs (née Rosenberger), her parents, three sisters and the other Jews were marched to the train station
Wells, water, history and peace. Seems like as much as the world changes, advances and develops, some things remain intact, remain essential to our future. In the midst of this week’s parasha, Toldot, within the stories of familial strife among Isaac, Rebecca and their twin sons, Jacob and Esau, in between the pain, we have a scene that brings hope, if not for the immediate pain of the Torah’s story, then for the future, perhaps for us today.
Our fellow Jews are sick. They don’t admit it. They don’t even know it. Yet the malady is grave. “The most destructive, painful, most contagious disease of all,” Rabbi Noah Weinberg said, “is ignorance. Ignorance perverts people and leads to wasted, counterproductive lives. Ignorance causes untold suffering — mistreatment of children, marital strife and suffering in a dead-end job.”
Word of Lou Reed walking beyond the wild side, never to return, reached me as I was leaving campus, having just finished teaching a class on Modern Jewish Philosophy. As I recovered my copy of Take No Prisoners on my i-Phone and flicking to his 1978 strung-out rendition of “Sweet Jane”, I wondered why Lou Reed (né March 2, 1942, Brooklyn, as Lewis Allan Rabinowitz, later changed to Reed,) was not included on my syllabus for the study of Modern Jewish philosophers!
Better late than never, as they say! At 51 years young, former “American Idol” and “X Factor” judge Paula Abdul will celebrate her bat mitzvah at the Western Wall, The Times of Israel reports.
At least 18 Jewish non-profit groups and non-profit groups that support Israeli institutions have notified tax authorities of likely illegal “diversions” of funds in the past five years.
Legendary Jewish rocker Lou Reed passed away this weekend at age 71, and since the news broke there has been a flurry of digital tributes.
Musician Lou Reed, the frontman for the band Velvet Underground as well as a solo artist, has died.
In a private audience with Pope Francis on Oct. 24, Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), urged the leader of the Catholic Church to confront the evil that exists in the world, even while praying and working for peace.
Did Avraham attend Yitzchak’s wedding? Well, in the closest thing we have to a wedding description — right at the end of this parasha — Avraham is nowhere to be found. The servant who made the match is there, and the spirit of Sarah is there as she looms large in her son’s memory, but there’s no mention of Avraham.
In the great, century-long love affair between America and the Jews, it’s tempting to assume that Jewish and American values are perfectly aligned.
As almost every Jew knows by now, according to major reports on American Jewry — such as the most recent and most highly regarded Pew report — Orthodoxy is growing, while Conservative and Reform Judaism are shrinking.
One of the most interesting findings of the respected Pew Research Center’s poll of American Jews was the continuing theme of Jewish liberalism and approval of Barack Obama’s performance — a vote of confidence in the president exceeded only by that of African-American Protestants and Hispanic Catholics.
I want to thank and congratulate you for again getting it right (“It’s Warsaw, Jake,” Oct. 18). It’s amazing what happens when power and authority are motivators. Since the Twarda has dealt with only the Orthodox community under Rabbi Michael Schudrich for years, it’s an uphill dynamic to move the pendulum at all or at least incrementally.
It’s no secret that all the planning and decisions required to pull off a wedding can cause stress and worry. From flower designs to musical selections, there are a million things that might drive you meshugge.
I will lift my eyes to the mountains from where my help comes. My help comes from the Holy One who makes heaven and earth (Ps 121: 1-2). We Conservative/Masorti Jews have forgotten to lift up our eyes. We have of late become a little too defensive, as if we could refute our challenges through debating points.
One day in early March 1954, Uri Herscher, just 12 at the time, ran away from his parents. His father, Joseph, a cabinetmaker, and mother, Lucy, a laundress, were having trouble making ends meet living in Israel. Together with Uri and his younger brother, Eli, they were meant to leave from Haifa the next morning to travel to the United States. There, the family would find a new home in San Jose, Calif., a thriving middle-class community with very few Jews, where Joseph’s sister had already set down roots.
It seems the recent Pew poll is all the Jewish community can talk about, and most of the conversation is a doom-and-gloom perseverance on the possible extinction of Judaism. I’ve heard much moaning, a fair measure of denial and a handful of creative “solutions.”
You would think that when the Polish edition of Forbes, the internationally respected financial magazine, publishes a front-page exposé on the disappearance of tens of millions of dollars of Holocaust restitution funds, Jews everywhere would be outraged and demand an immediate, independent investigation.
This week’s Torah portion begins: “YHVH appeared to Abraham as he was sitting at the entrance of the tent … looking up, he saw: behold, three men standing opposite him.
As the executive director of the USC Shoah Foundation-The Institute for Visual History and Education, Stephen Smith is known for his work preserving the memory of the Holocaust.
The FBI arrested two prominent Orthodox Jewish rabbis and two of their associates overnight Oct. 9 in New York. Allegedly, these rabbis arranged back-alley beatings for men who refuse to divorce their wives. Understanding their alleged crimes requires a short background in Jewish law.
The ink is barely dry on the latest Pew report on declining Jewish affiliation and concerned community leaders are quickly weighing in on what to do to attract the unaffiliated back under the tent. Notwithstanding all the good ideas, something, from my experience, is missing from the conversation.
Over the past week, I have seen a flurry of writing about Pew Research Center’s study on American Jews. Several scholars and communal leaders have taken an alarmist stance toward the findings, calling the increasing rate of intermarriage “devastating” and describing non-Orthodox Jews as “demographically challenged.” As an adviser to the Pew study and researcher of American Jewish communities, I would like to offer a more optimistic analysis.
Full disclosure: I have been thinking about the results of the Pew report for more than a decade. I understand that Pew didn’t release its results until last week, but these statistics and trends have been obvious to some in the Jewish community for a very long time.
I have one big answer to the depressing findings of the Pew poll, but you’re not going to like it. The Pew Research Center’s landmark new survey of American Jews came out last week, and the American Jewish community reacted about the way Sandra Bullock does when her tether snaps in “Gravity.” Except our “Oy vey!” probably could have been heard in space.
The historian Simon Rawidowicz wrote a famous essay in which he described Jews, with our constant fear of extinction as the “ever-dying” people. He wrote the essay 27 years ago, does that make him wrong or prophetic?
It’s funny how the American Jewish community has a way of getting all breathless and excited when a new study comes out, as is happening right now with the new Pew survey.
The death on Sept. 16 of Rabbi Philip Berg, 86, who founded the Kabbalah Centre with his second wife, Karen, did not come as a surprise. Rav Berg, as he was known at the center, had suffered a stroke in 2004 and had been little heard of since.
Falling in love with a Jewish man was Erica Hooper’s introduction to Judaism, but the religion’s ideals were ultimately what made her want to embrace it for life.
Last week, the Pew Research Center released the first national demographic study of Jewish Americans in more than a decade. Like all such studies, there are disagreements at the edges about the accuracy of some of the results, but the study’s most significant findings have been generally accepted.
I didn’t need to ask directions. Stepping out of the Jerusalem Central Bus Station, I saw them, men in hats and coats walking together slowly, a steady stream moving east along one of Jerusalem’s central thoroughfares to the funeral of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.
Philanthropist and community activist Joyce Black, wife of real estate magnate Stanley Black for 57 years, died on Oct. 4 after a prolonged battle with cancer. She was 75.
If you’re pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into Jewish identity building, what do you do when a survey comes along showing that the number of U.S. Jews engaging with Jewish life and religion is plummeting?
Women of the Wall agreed in principle to pray in a new egalitarian space adjacent to the Western Wall Plaza, provided the space meets several conditions regarding design and management.
Scores of women gathered for a Women of the Wall service at the Western Wall with little police protection and minimal disruption from protesters.