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  • Father’s Day: The allure of fishing

    2 weeks ago

    My father and I were fishing a snowmelt lake in the High Sierra, and I was on the shore, deciding whether I should throw back the little trout I’d just caught. 

    It was something my father and I had always wanted.

    We had vacationed in the woods every summer since I was 3 years...

  • Maybe I’m just Jew-ish

    By Tess Cutler

    May 20, 2015 | 2:53 pm

    In Jewish tradition, a child inherits her father’s tribe and her mother’s religion. 

    My father’s not a Cohen or a Levi. He’s not a highborn priest with a fancy title. He’s an Israelite. His ancestors built pyramids and golden calves. They were soldiers, outcasts, and dwellers....

  • Haredi papers welcome Israel’s women ministers — without first names or faces

    May 20, 2015 | 11:02 am

    Another group of women in powerful positions, another haredi Orthodox paper erasing them. Here we go again.

    After each new Israeli government is sworn in, its ministers pose for a group photo with the president. This year’s photo, taken yesterday, features Israel’s three...

  • Ahead of Olympics, 2 synagogues to open in Rio de Janeiro

    May 15, 2015 | 9:20 am

    Rio de Janeiro is set to open two new Orthodox synagogues ahead of the Brazilian city’s hosting of the 2016 Olympic Games.

    One of the new synagogues will open in August in the neighborhood of Ipanema, the famed tourist destination known for its beach scene. The opening was ...

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  • Design a tallit as unique as they are

    May 14, 2015 | 5:43 pm

    Prayer shawls, or tallitot, have long been an important part of Jewish ritual tradition. Although the date of their first appearance is unknown, Torah dictates that we wear fringes (tzitzit) on the four corners of a garment (Numbers 15:37-41) to remind us of God’s commandments....

  • Back in power, Haredi parties aim to roll back religious reforms

    May 5, 2015 | 10:12 am

    Israel’s last governing coalition — divided on war, peace and economics — did agree on one thing: Israel’s religious policies needed to change.

    Now it appears that the incoming coalition will be organized around the opposite principle: Those changes must end.

    A coalition...

  • Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein, prominent Modern Orthodox scholar, dies

    April 20, 2015 | 4:14 pm

    Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein, a leader of the national religious movement in Israel and a prominent Modern Orthodox scholar, has died.

    Lichtenstein, a head of the Har Etzion Yeshiva in the West Bank’s Gush Etzion bloc, died Monday morning. He was 81.

    The rabbi, who received a...

  • Father says 7 children who died in NYC fire were ‘so pure’

    March 22, 2015 | 7:17 pm

    The father of seven Orthodox Jewish children killed in a Brooklyn house fire told hundreds of mourners at their funeral on Sunday that the only way he can survive the tragedy was "complete, utter and total surrender" to his religious beliefs.

    The grieving man, Gabriel Sassoon,...

  • Brooklyn house fire kills 7 from Orthodox Jewish family

    March 21, 2015 | 8:30 pm

    Seven children from an Orthodox Jewish family died early on Saturday when flames ripped through their Brooklyn home in one of New York City's deadliest fires in years, officials said.

    Their 45-year-old mother and a teenage sister survived after jumping from an upper floor. The...

  • At a breaking point in Turkey: Should Jews stay or should we go?

    By Simone Wilson

    March 18, 2015 | 3:55 pm

    The gold and gray city of Istanbul spent Valentine’s Day bracing for snow. Under angry clouds, Turkish couples huddled around tabletops in the cafe quarter of Ortakoy, a historically posh neighborhood along the Bosphorus Strait. Jewelry-makers had set up stands along the alleyways...

  • Religion as romance

    February 12, 2015 | 12:19 pm

    I met my husband in college, hobbling my way through campus on crutches. He touched my shoulder, shouted, “Tag, you’re it!” and ran away. I laughed and found myself looking for his lanky swagger everywhere I went. We were both 20, both experimenting with the contours of our...

  • Dutch Jewish school closed after anti-terrorist raid in Belgium

    January 16, 2015 | 12:14 pm

    The only Orthodox Jewish school in the Netherlands was closed on Friday as a precautionary measure after an anti-terrorism raid in Belgium left two suspects dead.

    There was no concrete threat against the Cheider School in Amsterdam, Dutch national broadcaster NOS said, citing the...

  • Across L.A., Israel’s Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi, a Charedi, casts wide net

    By Jared Sichel

    January 14, 2015 | 2:43 pm

    In his six-day visit to Los Angeles last week, Israel’s Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau made some unlikely stops. 

    At the pluralistic New Community Jewish High School (NCJHS) in West Hills, Lau spoke to 200 students and faculty members, opening the assembly by reminding students...

  • Homemade sufganiyot recipes to brighten Chanukah celebrations

    December 3, 2014 | 11:01 am

    Chanukah has always been a joyful holiday for children and adults.

    A good story about a victory and a miracle, great food like doughnuts and latkes, but more than anything, the chanukiyah — the menorah — whose light gives the holiday an atmosphere of magic and mystery.

    I’ve...

  • Leaving religious life: The ‘un-Orthodox’ path

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    November 21, 2014 | 12:09 pm

    The path between the secular world and highly observant Judaism is a two-way street. The baal t’shuvah travels in one direction, but he or she may be taking the place of someone who has abandoned Orthodoxy.  It is these so-called “defectors” whose lives are explored with color and...

  • Thousands mourn U.S.-Israeli rabbi killed in Jerusalem

    November 18, 2014 | 11:43 am

    Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews swayed in prayer at the funeral of U.S.-Israeli rabbi Moshe Twersky, a descendant of two rabbinical dynasties who was killed on Tuesday alongside three other rabbis in a Palestinian attack on a synagogue.

    [Related: Born in Kansas City, transformed...

  • Plans advance for building in eastern Jerusalem Jewish neighborhood

    November 12, 2014 | 11:21 am

    A Jerusalem planning committee has given preliminary approval for the construction of at least 200 housing units in an eastern Jerusalem Jewish neighborhood.

    The approval Wednesday is for the Ramot neighborhood on the northern edge of Jerusalem.

    The project is several stages...

  • Is she Jewish? Rabbinate says yes, Israel says no

    November 5, 2014 | 10:31 am

    In 2012, Anna Varsanyi was married in an Orthodox Jewish ceremony conducted through Israel’s Chief Rabbinate.

    Two years later, the Hungarian immigrant has made a life in Israel, settling with her husband in the central city of Modiin and working a desk job in a hospital. She is...

  • For some Orthodox converts, biggest challenges come after mikvah

    November 4, 2014 | 10:31 am

    There was the convert who was barred from a synagogue on Yom Kippur, the Jamaican convert whose boyfriend’s rabbi offered him a coveted synagogue honor if only he’d dump her, the grandmother who told her granddaughter she’d be going to hell because she became a Jew.

    The road to...

  • Haredim’s refusal to sit next to opposite sex delays Delta flight

    October 22, 2014 | 9:40 am

    A Delta Airlines flight to Israel was delayed after haredi Orthodox men and women deplaned rather than sit next to members of the opposite sex.

    The flight Monday night from New York’s Kennedy Airport arrived more than an hour late on Tuesday afternoon due to the incident,...

  • A better Orthodox reaction to the mikveh, East Ramapo scandals

    October 20, 2014 | 3:58 pm

    Three groups of Orthodox Jews have made several prominent appearances in the media over the last few weeks: The East Ramapo Central School District was profiled on National Public Radio because Chasidic Jews living in the district have wrested control of a majority vote on the...

  • L.A. rabbi says mikveh at AJU is secure, calls Freundel scandal a ‘unique case’

    By Ryan Torok

    October 16, 2014 | 11:14 am

    In the wake of a scandal in which a Washington, D.C. Orthodox rabbi was arrested on Tuesday, Oct. 14, for allegedly spying on women undressing at a mikveh connected to his synagogue, Rabbi Richard A. Flom, a Los Angeles authority on the mikveh [ritual bathhouse] and a member of the...

  • D.C. rabbi Barry Freundel arrested, charged with voyeurism

    October 16, 2014 | 10:17 am

    Rabbi Barry Freundel, the longtime spiritual leader at Kesher Israel in Washington, D.C., was arrested and charged with voyeurism after the synagogue board alerted the authorities.

    Freundel, 62, was taken away Tuesday in handcuffs after uniformed officers and plainclothes...

  • The few. The proud.
    The Jewish Marines.

    By Jared Sichel

    October 14, 2014 | 2:45 pm

    Sitting at the front of a small room inside a nondescript building at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Navy Lt. Aaron Kleinman was dressed in a uniform rarely seen on these grounds: On top of his gray suit, dress shirt and tie, Kleinman’s head was covered by a kippah and his...

  • Survivor: Sally Zielinksi Roisman

    By Jane Ulman

    October 7, 2014 | 11:46 am

    Sally Roisman — at the time Sara Pola Zielinksi — was asleep in a bed she shared with her mother and two sisters in the Sosnowiec ghetto when she was suddenly awakened by loud pounding on the door. A Gestapo officer entered the room. “Get dressed,” he ordered, pointing at Sally....

  • Bnei Akiva seals $7.1 million deal on massive campground east of Los Angeles

    By Jared Sichel

    September 12, 2014 | 6:11 pm

    On Sept. 12, Bnei Akiva of Los Angeles, the local chapter of an international religious Zionist youth group, purchased a 78-acre campground in Running Springs for $7.1 million.

    The group has raised $8.5 million in a major capital campaign this year and plans to raise an...

  • Orthodox shul takes first step to hiring female clergy

    By Jared Sichel

    September 11, 2014 | 10:17 am

    In what would be an unprecedented move among Orthodox synagogues in Los Angeles, Congregation B’nai David-Judea plans to hire a woman clergy member by September 2015. The development in America’s second-largest Jewish community marks the success of a controversial move by some...

  • Rivlin greets Conservative Jews as ‘family’

    September 10, 2014 | 12:19 pm

    Reuven Rivlin, who drew criticism before becoming Israel’s president for his broadsides against non-Orthodox Jewish streams, told a group of Conservative Jews that Jews are “one big family.”

    “We cannot agree on everything, but we are brothers and we are one big family,” The...

  • Esther Macner: Agunah advocate promotes post-nuptials

    By Ryan Torok

    September 3, 2014 | 12:40 pm

    At 62, Esther Macner radiates feistiness and confidence. 

    During a recent interview at the Journal’s headquarters, she described herself as an “Orthodox Jewish feminist, which I’ve been all my life, before the word became a label.” 

    A former prosecutor and trial attorney in New...

  • Israeli rabbi attacked visiting mall in Australia

    August 25, 2014 | 4:12 pm

    A visiting rabbi from Jerusalem was threatened and verbally abused by a gang of youths in a shopping mall in Western Australia on Monday.

    Rabbi Avraham Shalom Halberstam, known as the Stropkover Rebbe, is visiting Australia on a lecture tour. On Monday he and his assistant were...

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