More than 2,500 people signed up to participate in a global Shema flash mob as part of a campaign to promote religious pluralism in Israel. The gatherings early Monday afternoon came two days after Conservative Jewish congregations were asked to dedicate a recitation of the Shema to the topic as well.
The Board of Trustees of the Union for Reform Judaism unanimously elected Rabbi Richard Jacobs to serve as its next president. Jacob's election on Sunday makes him the fourth person to hold the office since its creation in 1943. Previous presidents were Rabbis Maurice Eisendrath, Alexander Schindler and Eric Yoffie.
In the current issue of The Jewish Journal, there is an advertisement taken out by “Reform Jews who want the Reform Movement to stand with Israel.” This advertisement asserts that Rabbi Richard Jacobs, the President-designate of the Union for Reform Judaism, “does not represent the pro-Israel policies cherished by Reform Jews.” We vehemently disagree with this distorted caricature of Rabbi Jacobs and his attitudes toward Israel.
Purim is a time to dull our senses with drink and cloak our identity by dressing in costume. We do so in order to confront a troubling part of our history and the threats to Jewish life and continuity in the Diaspora.
Communal leaders outside of the synagogue love to talk the language of corporate strategy. They engage in endless debates on the latest demographic study. They plan elaborate conferences and demand new ideas. But sometimes we don't need new ideas; we need old ideas. We need less corporate planning and more text and tradition, less strategic thinking and more mitzvot, less demographic data and more Shabbat. Because we know in our hearts that in the absence of Shabbat, Judaism withers.
Recently, I spoke to Reform rabbinical students in their class on "Jewish Political Tradition." Which is, exactly, what? My expertise, I told them, is politics, not theology. Here was my dilemma: to talk reality or defer to the orthodoxy of Reform Jews, which is to say, political liberalism. (Forget the Reconstructionists, i.e., Jewish Unitarians, who are oxymoronic "religious" secular humanists.) How confusing all this, especially for non-Jews, who are further told that Conservative Jews are somewhere between Reform Jews and Orthodox Jews -- sort of like the words "liberal" and "conservative."
The holidays are over, and I'm full.I spent a week with family in Manhattan, eating.And when I wasn't eating, I was reading a landmark book -- about food.
The idea that a significant number of American Jewish children would come to attend Jewish day schools would have seemed unimaginable no more than 40 years ago, and the notion that thousands from Reform Jewish homes would attend such schools would have seemed even more fantastic. After all, the public school was the major institution that facilitated the entry of upwardly mobile immigrant Jews and their children into American life throughout the major part of the 20th century.
Reform Jews cannot go it alone.
That was the message at the Reform movement's 67th biennial in Minneapolis last week.
Despite numerically dominating the North American Jewish landscape, Reform Jews must reach out to other Reform Jews in Israel and Eastern Europe and fight anti-Semitism by forging closer ties to Christians, said the movement's president, Rabbi Eric Yoffie.
People are always asking Dvora Weisberg's parents, "Where did you go wrong?"