While American Jews haven’t been looking — or have been looking in the wrong places — Jewish pluralism in Israel is booming.
I want to thank Rob Eshman for his review of the important Town Hall on Religious Pluralism that took place at Temple Emanuel last week and for his moderating a community conversation in which people have such passionate and diverse opinions.
For the past six years The Samuel Bronfman Foundation, which is named in honor of my father and that I now run with my son Adam, has held a conference called "Why Be Jewish?" It is an intimate gathering that seeks to explore an expansive question. This year, in conjunction with the Shalom Hartman Institute, we will focus on the idea of Jewish pluralism.
Jessica Youseffi and Sarah Shahawy, two undergraduate students at the University of Southern California (USC), discussed how the teachings of Judaism and Islam, their respective religions, obligate them to accept people of other faiths and to work toward tikkun olam.
For decades, a charge against the rabbis who perform marriages on behalf of Israel's Chief Rabbinate has gone unanswered: That the rabbi did nothing to add to the joy, meaning and beauty of a wedding celebration. On June 15, the Masorti/Conservative movement launched a media blitz that confronted the Rabbinate on this issue head on.
Ronit Heyd, joined by Ilana Litvak, who came to Israel from the former Soviet Union, and Nidal Abed El Gafer, a Palestinian lawyer, were in Los Angeles last week as three "connected" Israelis, working to empower their country's underprivileged and raise the level of civic involvement. Their presence at a roundtable was sponsored by the New Israel Fund (NIF), which has just raised its Los Angeles profile by reestablishing a local office, after a four-year hiatus.
The goal is to give young, secular Israelis an education that will show them that they too have a rich culture to tap into and explore.
Attending the North American Association of Jewish High Schools' (NAAJHS) leadership conference last year awakened me to the great possibilities of Jewish pluralism. NAAJHS was founded as a forum for Jewish community high schools to exchange ideas and work toward the betterment of Jewish education.
Oddly, or perhaps not for a product of the Orthodox yeshiva world, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., profoundly shaped my religious life. His life story, with all its achievements, failures, complexities and wonders, is, like the lives of all spiritual giants, its own text and source of teaching.
For once, it would appear that Jews, Judaism and Jewish interests are not the target of violence in Paris and in so many cities across France. After a surge in anti-Semitic hostility and incidents in recent years, that comes as something of a surprise. This time, it appears the rioters are burning their own cars and neighborhoods, rather then aiming their anger at the symbols of some outside enemy.
After 22 years of living as an Israeli, Justina Hilaria Chipana can finally consider herself a full-fledged member of the Jewish state.
The 50-year-old native of Peru was one of 17 petitioners who won High Court of Justice recognition of their non-Orthodox conversions to Judaism on Thursday, in what the Conservative and Reform movements hailed as a breakthrough for efforts to introduce more religious pluralism to Israel.
Why don't Jews accept Jesus as the Messiah or son of God?
Growing up in Philadelphia, I attended Akiba Hebrew Academy, a private Jewish school. In 11th grade, a Southern Baptist preacher came to speak to our class. He looked around the room, and with a kindly smile said, "You seem like nice boys and girls. But I must tell you that unless you change your ways, you are all going to hell." I admired his honesty, but not his theology. I spent the next hour trying to think of a question that would stump him. As the class was ending, I raised my hand.
In 1997, stimulated by the controversy over whether non-Orthodox converts would be registered as Jews by the Israeli government -- the latest battle in the "who is a Jew?" wars -- The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles began making funds available to what it calls "pluralism" projects. The projects are programs and activities aimed at stimulating religious pluralism and supporting "alternative" forms of Judaism in Israel, as well as increasing Jewish knowledge among Israel's secular population.
Briefs; Children of Freedom; Solidarity Through Pluralism.
There was no question: Of the three rabbis sitting up on the dais at UCLA Hillel,Rabbi Shlomo Riskin had the toughest sell. After all, audiences who come to hear panels on pluralism usually bristle at Orthodoxy's seeming exclusivity.