Jewish Journal

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  • The Religious Brains exchange, part 2: ‘All God-talk is metaphorical, inexact and incomplete’

    By Shmuel Rosner

    2 days ago

    Rabbi Ralph Mecklenburger is the leader of the Beth-El Congregation in Fort Worth, Texas, an adjunct faculty member at Brite Divinity School and has served as the Jewish co-chair of the Texas Conference of Churches' Jewish-Christian Forum. Rabbi Mecklenburger was ordained at the...

  • Partition, pragmatism and missed opportunities between Israel and the Palestinians

    2 days ago

    Two scholars examine, from the Jewish and Palestinian perspectives, the historic United Nations vote on the partition of Palestine on Nov. 29, 1947, which ultimately led to the creation of  the Jewish State of Israel.


    The Palestinian national movement has long been...

  • What’s a dollar a month worth?

    By David Suissa

    2 days ago

    People love the Jewish Journal. They love picking it up, at a shul or deli or cafe or market, and flipping through the stories of the Jewish world. There’s nothing quite like it in Los Angeles — a gathering place where all the voices of our community can be heard.

    I can’t tell...

  • To be a Jew means ‘I love you’

    3 days ago

    On Thursday last week, a suicide bomber murdered forty three human beings in Beirut and injured two hundred and forty. On Friday last week, a suicide bomber murdered nineteen human beings in Bagdad and injured thirty three. In Paris, seven men murdered one hundred twenty three...

  • Mao’s Jews

    6 days ago

    On Oct. 1, 1967, China’s National Day, Sidney Rittenberg had reached the pinnacle of his revolutionary career. It was the 18th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, and Rittenberg was seated on a reviewing stand less than fifty feet from Mao Zedong,...

  • Member of prominent Chasidic family comes out as transgender

    1 week ago

    A 24-year-old Brooklyn descendant of one of Chasidic Judaism’s founders has come out as transgender.

    Raised Charedi Orthodox in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, Abby — originally Srully — Stein told the New York Post, and announced on a personal blog called The Second...

  • The Power of Prayer

    By Ilana Angel

    1 week ago

    I pray everyday. Some days it is a conversation and others a rant. There is no plan, routine, or schedule. Some days I pray for a minute, and other days for an hour. Some days I pray once, and other days often. It is important to me and has value. Prayer is something I am not...

  • It is a sin not to visit Israel now

    By Dennis Prager

    1 week ago

    If you are a Jew who cares about Israel and you have the money to pay for a ticket and a hotel room, it is a sin not to visit to Israel at this time.

    That is a message every rabbi who cares about Israel should be conveying to his/her congregation.

    I just returned from another...

  • Heads of the Hydra

    1 week ago

    This time it’s Paris. It was already Paris earlier this year. It was also Madrid, London, New York and suburban Washington D.C., and it was the Russian cities of Buynaksk, Moscow and Volgodonsk in 1999, and the infamous Moscow theater disaster in 2002. In each case, terrible...

  • Security boosted at Milan Jewish sites after stabbing

    2 weeks ago

    Italy boosted security at Jewish sites in Milan on Friday after an Israeli Jew was knifed in the city, police said.

    Nathan Graff was stabbed in the back and face on Thursday evening by an unknown assailant near a Jewish school in Italy's financial capital, police said. They added...

  • The Religious Brains exchange, part 1: Between faith and neuroscience

    By Shmuel Rosner

    2 weeks ago

    Rabbi Ralph Mecklenburger is the leader of the Beth-El Congregation in Fort Worth, Texas, an adjunct faculty member at Brite Divinity School and has served as the Jewish co-chair of the Texas Conference of Churches' Jewish-Christian Forum. Rabbi Mecklenburger was ordained at the...

  • A view from the women’s section on Orthodox spiritual leadership

    By Julie Gruenbaum Fax

    2 weeks ago

    I have a vivid memory of sitting in my yeshiva high school principal’s office, imploring him to start teaching the girls Mishnah and Gemara, to offer a little more respect to our intellects and our souls by giving us access to all the Jewish texts that form the basis of our...

  • Can Open Orthodoxy help revive Judaism?

    By David Suissa

    2 weeks ago

    There are two ways to look at the controversy raging in the Orthodox world right now over a fledgling movement that calls itself “Open Orthodoxy.” One way is to put the controversy under a microscope and go through all of the arguments and name calling. I will do that, don’t worry....

  • Rabbi charged with felony sex abuse pleads not guilty

    2 weeks ago

    A rabbi arrested on felony charges of sexual abuse of a child entered a plea of not guilty at his arraignment Nov. 10 at the Airport Courthouse in Los Angeles. Sholom D. Levitansky, 39, of Sherman Oaks arrived at court wearing a suit and yarmulke, flanked by a handful of other men...

  • Israeli opposition chief to US Jewish leaders: ‘Open and frank partnership’ vital

    2 weeks ago

    Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog told a gathering of North American Jewish leaders that his vision of Israel includes a place where all Jews can pursue and practice Judaism the way they want.

    Speaking Monday night at the annual General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of...

  • Actress Zooey Deschanel converts to Judaism

    2 weeks ago

    Actress Zooey Deschanel has converted to Judaism.

    Deschanel, the daughter of a Quaker and Roman Catholic, converted shortly before marrying producer Jacob Pechenik, Us Weekly reported Monday. The article did not say what denomination of rabbi supervised her conversion.

    The two...

  • Mayim Bialik: Let Orthodox Jewish women be called ‘rabbi’

    3 weeks ago

    Something is going on in the Jewish world that may be the most important thing to happen in a very long time. In a recent statement, a leading board of Orthodox rabbis reaffirmed that although they encourage many different professional opportunities for learned women, “due to our...

  • 5 clarifying comments on the ordination of Orthodox women

    By Shmuel Rosner

    3 weeks ago

    My article from three days ago - It is time for Orthodox revolutionaries to drop their tone of anger – ignited a wave of responses, many of which were, well, angry. Obviously, some of what I said was not clear to some of the respondents. It is probably my fault, so I would like to...

  • Is the Jewish future bright?

    By Dennis Prager

    3 weeks ago

    As reported by Danielle Berrin in the Jewish Journal, the latest issue of Commentary Magazine is devoted to a symposium of responses by 69 “Jewish leaders, theologians, and thinkers” to the question: “What do you think will be the condition of the Jewish community 50 years from...

  • The Chabad exchange, Part 1: ‘Chabad does not give up’

    By Shmuel Rosner

    3 weeks ago

    Rabbi David Eliezrie is the Director of North County Chabad –Congregation Beit Meir Ha'Cohen, Yorba Linda, CA. He serves as President of the Rabbinical Council of Orange County and Long Beach; Board Member of the Jewish Federation and Family Services of Orange County; Member of the...

  • Skip college — embrace Judaism and learn a trade

    October 30, 2015 | 9:51 am

    The conventional profile of American Jews is that they tend to be highly educated and work in professions like medicine, finance, law and the academy.

    Jews, of course, “value education,” as the trope about the “People of the Book” goes. And American Jews, since they started...

  • Ready, set, Goa in India

    By  Orit Arfa

    October 29, 2015 | 11:47 am

    Rabbinic tradition has it that Hodu (“India” in Hebrew) is the word Yehudi (“Jew” in Hebrew), without the letter yod, which signifies the one God — suggesting that India possesses kindred spirituality to Judaism, minus the monotheism. Perhaps that is why the predominantly Hindu...

  • Christopher Noxon: A Hollywood husband converts

    By Danielle Berrin

    October 29, 2015 | 11:34 am

    Christopher Noxon is frank about the reason he avoided converting to Judaism for almost two decades. 

    “It was the little matter of the damn prick,” he said, explaining he had a “feminist response” to the requirement that he undergo a symbolic circumcision by spilling some blood...

  • New York’s hip SoHo Synagogue sets sights on West Coast

    October 28, 2015 | 3:05 pm

    With his shoes off and yarmulke on, Rabbi Dovi Scheiner set aside his plastic glass of white wine, climbed on top of a white leather chair and began addressing the young, well-heeled guests who had assembled at a luxurious Malibu home one recent Sunday. 

    His speech was part...

  • Exploring prayer: A conversation with Alden Solovy

    By Roger Price

    October 28, 2015 | 9:18 am

    Alden Solovy is a poet and liturgist. A native of Chicago, Illinois, Alden made aliyah to Israel in 2012. His first book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing, was published in 2012 by Kavanot Press. He is currently working on a mythical journey, told with prayers and poetry, called...

  • On eve of biennial, 9 things to know about Reform Judaism

    October 27, 2015 | 10:50 am

    Some 5,000 Reform Jews will gather Nov. 4-8 in Orlando, Florida, for the biennial conference of the Union for Reform Judaism. With about one in three American Jews identifying as Reform, the movement constitutes America’s largest Jewish religious denomination. Read on for...

  • The meaning of coincidences

    October 14, 2015 | 2:28 pm

    One of the most powerful ways we experience God’s closeness is through coincidences.

    I know this is certainly the case with me. Stuff happens to me all the time that I can’t explain.

    Here are two examples.

    One Friday night, I was in shul and my mind wandered a bit. I realized...

  • Could guns for German Jews have prevented the Holocaust?

    By Tom Tugend

    October 13, 2015 | 4:32 pm

    In the mid-1930s, an English scholar wrote a book — with many learned citations — proving that Nazism was the wave of the future and made for a happier and healthier nation.

    In reviewing the book, one critic noted that if the distinguished author had spent only one day actually...

  • Reflections on my visit to a ‘minyan’ of L.A. synagogues during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

    October 7, 2015 | 1:55 pm

    As has become something of a tradition for me, I had the privilege to visit 10 synagogues in Los Angeles during the most recent High Holy Days. I experienced the many voices of Los Angeles and of the Jewish community that come together at this time of year.

    Visiting a veritable...

  • Forgiveness

    October 2, 2015 | 2:57 pm

    I was standing with my brother on the top floor of a hotel in Atlanta having checked in for a conference he had organized.  The elevators were jammed and they didn’t have enough to accommodate all the guests.  More, some of them went to the lower floors and others to the upper.  We...

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