I would like to offer a view on Jewish neighborhoods that is so contrary to accepted wisdom that I can only ask that people read this column with as open a mind as possible.
A federal judge ordered the Florida prisons service to provide kosher meals to all prisoners with a “sincere religious basis.”
The preeminent sacred cow to many Jews is compassion for agunot (“chained” women whose husbands withhold a Jewish bill of divorce, or “Get”). But enough already: the Internet crowd attacking Avrohom Meir Weiss in his divorce from Gital Dodelson is becoming as heartless and halachically problematic as Weiss himself.
Why is this book club different from all other book clubs? I know this phrase is out of season, but the strange confluence of holidays this year permits some flexibility.
Sounds like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a lovely meeting with Pope Francis.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Pope Francis in their first face-to-face meeting talked about the Middle East and plans for a papal trip to Israel, among other issues.
“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?
Former President George W. Bush spoke for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute (MJBI) this past week, and this has led to a good deal of writing on Jews for Jesus and the ex-president’s address.
Naftali Bennett doesn’t like to waste time. In the eight months since he took over three Israeli ministries — religious services, economy, and Diaspora and Jerusalem affairs — Bennett has pushed through legislation to give Israeli couples more freedom in choosing which rabbi officiates at their wedding, worked with coalition partner Yair Lapid to lop $11 billion off Israel’s budget and fast-tracked a resolution to the showdown over women’s prayer at the Western Wall.
A global conference of Jewish learning, including music and art performances, will take place online over a 24-hour period on Nov. 17. The Global Day of Jewish Learning will broadcast “24x24” — 24 classes from 24 speakers around the globe — free of charge and live using Google Hangouts On Air and YouTube. Scholar Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz will speak at 10 a.m.
A media firestorm kicked up last week after Mother Jones broke the story that President George W. Bush was to be the keynote speaker at the annual fundraiser of the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute on Nov. 14.
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.
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!
“Who is a Jew?” is a uniquely Jewish question. It is a question that epitomizes the Jewish people and culture. It is a philosophical question that embodies the history of Jewish debate. It is a question of belonging that symbolizes Jews as a minority.
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.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not meet with Pope Francis during a visit to Rome, as the Israeli leader’s office had announced.
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.
The Muslim world finds itself amidst a battle of two narratives—one of oppression and one of justice. The oppressive narrative enforces death for blasphemy and/or apostasy and wants government that rejects the democratic ideal of separation of mosque and state.
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.
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.
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?
The Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project issued its “Portrait of Jewish Americans” on Oct. 1, setting off alarms throughout the Jewish community about the future of Jewish life. Among the greatest concerns is this statement: “Among Jews in the youngest generation of U.S. adults — the Millennials — 68% identify as Jews by religion, while 32% describe themselves as having no religion and identify as Jewish on the basis of ancestry, ethnicity or culture.”
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.
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.
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?
The Pew survey, reported last week in major news outlets, inadvertently mischaracterizes Orthodox demographic trends quite dramatically and necessarily undercounts us significantly, for the same reason that other random-digit-dialing and surveying techniques do. I previously have analyzed these statistical phenomena at such places as
Filmmakers in Hollywood and abroad long have been fascinated by characters representing different races, religions, nationalities or ideologies who transgress social taboos and barriers by falling in love.
Rabbi Philip Berg, who brought the teachings of Kabbalah to a celebrity following that included Madonna and Britney Spears, has died.
A somber-looking Pope Francis made an impassioned appeal before 100,000 people on Saturday to avert a widening of Syria's conflict, urging world leaders to pull humanity out of a "spiral of sorrow and death."
The conversation is supposed to begin like this: “Will you forgive me for anything I might have said or done this year that has hurt you?”
Every day in my office, I see parents, embittered by divorce and so grateful to finally be physically and legally apart from a partner they once loved and now hate, struggling to co-parent and jointly make decisions about their children.
Outside of Baltimore, smooth country roads swept like rivers between banks of undulating forest. As my wife and I coasted past rolling hills of green, we had the impression of driving over waves. Red barns and silver silos stood watch atop billowing crests while small ponds and brooks swashed cheerily in the troughs below.
About a dozen women sit underneath a large Israeli flag at Judaism’s holiest site, the Western Wall. They’ve been here close to 24 hours, and are getting tired. They are members of Women of the Wall (WOW), a 25-year-old group of women from all denominations that wants equality for women at the Western Wall.
“When you enter the land that YHVH, your God, is giving you as a heritage …” (Deuteronomy 26:1).
One of the most prominent Orthodox rabbis of our time, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, chief rabbi of Efrat, related the following story in the July 12-18 issue of the International Jerusalem Post:
“Why all these values, rabbi?” preteen Josh asked. “Can’t you just say we should be good people?” Often it is the most basic questions that set me thinking, and Josh’s query sure did.
Reza Aslan, an author and scholar of religion, has established himself as a familiar face and voice on American television, the go-to guy for commentary on the Islamic world, and he embodies all the right stuff: youthful good looks, depth of knowledge and the kind of media savvy that enables him to answer even the most nuanced questions in measured sound bites.
When the nation’s largest Jewish federation convened its first-ever conference recently on engaging interfaith families, perhaps the most notable thing about it was the utter lack of controversy that greeted the event.
The Torah says that the laws of kashrut separate us from the nations and make us a holy people by precluding us from eating detestable things (Deuteronomy 14:2-3, 21).
What started off as a group full of professional yet skeptical Jews and Muslims ended with a bond as strong as blood.
Most Jews and Muslims rarely talk — really talk — to one another. This is as true in the United States as elsewhere, a stark reality despite our nation’s vast diversity and the ability of so many different peoples to coexist. It is true also in Los Angeles, a city of strong ethnic identities, long drives and even longer cultural memories.
The following are some of the basic postulates about America, religion, society, morality, the arts and Israel that are taught at almost every American university.
The Middle East may be a raging wildfire, but the eyes of the world are on the revival of the Israeli-Palestinian peace dance — that all-too-familiar game where the Jewish state makes concessions (such as releasing terrorists) for the privilege of talking to an enemy who demonizes Jews, glorifies terrorists and has already rejected three peace offers.
On the morning of July 8, at the beginning of the Hebrew month of Av, the Western Wall plaza was a cacophonous mess.
I was in college when I first heard the Beatles sing “When I’m Sixty-four.” The idea of getting older, losing my hair or wondering whether my partner would still need me was not my concern. But now, with Paul McCartney over 70, and me just one year away from 64, it’s a different story.
There is a well-known children’s book depicting a nut-brown hare and its child playing a game called “Guess How Much I Love You.” In it, the child stretches tall and wide, jumps high and reaches toward the horizon to show his affection for the parent. In response, the parent always seems to extend the love just a little further. “I love you to the moon!” the child ultimately says, expressing the largest quantifiable measure of love within his grasp. And with patient simplicity, the parent responds, “I love you to the moon ... and back.” The book’s message isn’t about love without limits. It’s better than that. It is a genuine expression of love met with even more love.
On Yom Kippur, we ask “Who by fire?” Sadly, this year at Tisha b’Av, we already know the answer — the 19 firefighters who perished in Arizona.
First, an apology. To the good men and women of the LGBT community at Sinai Temple and everywhere else in the world, on the subject of said temple’s recent announcement that it would henceforth perform same-sex marriage ceremonies, in reference to the mindless, intolerant and hurtful remarks of a few individuals as expressed in letters and e-mails and (it must have been a slow news day at The New York Times) the national press, about the issues of homosexuality, gay marriage and the proper role of rabbis in helping their congregation maintain the standards of decency to which we should all aspire: I’m sorry.
Egypt's leading Muslim and Christian clerics backed an army-sponsored roadmap on Wednesday which suspended the constitution and called for early presidential and parliamentary elections.