The Tzohar rabbinical organization, which helps to involve non-religious couples and their families in religious wedding ceremonies, is introducing a brit milah program.
For the second year in row, local Yiddish learning organization Arbeter Ring (Workmen’s Circle) will offer Secular Yeshiva, a bimonthly course with Socratic-style seminars, focused on “history and basic ideas of secular Jewishness,” “critical examination of Tanakh and post-biblical literature,” “Jewish calendar and holidays” and more.
Yoav was my kibbutz brother, secular and an ardent Zionist. He had an encyclopedic mind that could recite in detail kibbutz history, lore and socialist ideology. Today, Yoav is an equally intense, knowledgeable and ideological Charedi guy living in the Midwest. He recently offered to pay me money for introducing him to the woman he married more than 25 years ago.
It sounds like the beginning of a joke: A rabbi, a Russian oligarch and a high-tech millionaire are running for mayor of Jerusalem. Except there's no punch line, just each of them offering up himself as salvation for the hallowed capital's many troubles.
Adat Chaverim is a small congregation of secular, Humanistic Jews, whose brochure proposes that "reason rather than faith is the source of truth, and human intelligence and experience are capable of guiding our lives."
"Religion is not primarily about faith in God; it is about community, identity, heritage and being of service to others," he said. "We Humanists must also do more to meet these needs, rather than complain about what others believe.
While every Jew in the world (along with every other person) certainly has the right to express an opinion about how the Jerusalem issue should be resolved, the State of Israel alone should make that important decision, since it involves the security of the state and its people.
It was a given that Benjy Rabin, 9, would spend part of his summers at Camp Ramah as soon as he was old enough. His father is a Ramah alum, and so are his older brother and sister.
In Israel, the "non-Jewish Jews," as some Israelis call them, are everywhere. They drive buses, teach university classes, patrol in army jeeps and follow the latest Israeli reality TV shows as avidly as their Jewish counterparts. For these people -- mostly immigrants from the former Soviet Union who are not Jews according to Israeli law -- the question of where they fit into the Jewish state remains unanswered nearly two decades after they began coming to Israel.
A friend sent me an e-mail telling me I "can't miss" this Jerusalem rabbi's one-man show Sunday night at Beth Jacob Congregation. I opened the e-mail a few minutes before show time, so, on a whim, I ran over to catch "The Four Faces of Israel," starring Rabbi Benji Levene. After two hours of Benji, my head was spinning.
It's a sight you wouldn't expect on the Paramount Studios lot. Women gathered with their daughters on a recent Saturday night outside of the Sherry Lansing Theater to see a film. And there were no men in sight.
Living a life of dual identity is no simple task. On one hand, my peers and I are told to live up to the expectations of being Modern Orthodox teens, but on the other side of the spectrum we are tempted by the culture of the secular world on an everyday basis.
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.
It is easy to read the headlines and conclude that if religion would just go away, all would be well. But humans are hard-wired for belief.
"Jesus Camp," a documentary about a summer program at which evangelical children are taught to "take back America for Christ."
Los Angeles photographer Naomi Solomon capped off her informal summer presentation series "Settlers: A Photographic Journey of the Life and Disengagement of the Jews Living in Gaza" at Nessah Synagogue in Beverly Hills last week, drawing more than 150 people.
"Our images of Jewish camping are formed by people who are heavy Jewish campers, but there are lots of people who are light Jewish campers and campers at non-Jewish camps, and this study accessed their views on Jewish camping," Steven M. Cohen, the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion sociologist who authored the study, told The Jewish Journal. "I think we learned that there are diverse incentives and obstacles to participation in Jewish camping."
A longtime Jewish organizational professional and fundraiser, Hyman last year launched the Center for Entrepreneurial Jewish Philanthropy (CEJP) to support and advise philanthropists who are considering major gifts to Jewish and Israel-related causes.
Imagine that you live in Latin America and you're Jewish. Typically, you and your family would belong to a full-service Jewish club with cultural, recreational, educational and athletic activities for all ages. The club is reasonably priced, promotes Jewish identity in a secular manner and is the backbone of your social life.
Hard-to-marry-off children have been worrying parents since Genesis, when Leah, her eyes tender from the sadness of being unwanted, took part in a hoax to trick Jacob -- her younger, prettier sister's suitor -- into marrying her.
Chaim is -- or was -- a Skver Chasid, born and raised in the ultra-Orthodox enclave of New Square, N.Y. His world until recently was Torah, family and a close-knit community.
But now he's entering the secular world.
I met Oren after watching "Kol Nidrei," a new play by Israeli playwright Yehoshua Sobol. The play is about Charedi (ultra-Orthodox) Jews who lead double lives -- as Bnei Brak yeshiva bochers by day and Tel Aviv bar-hoppers by Friday night.
When Paul Reiser co-created and starred in the 1990s hit sitcom, "Mad About You," -- about a secular Jew married to a Christian -- he helped spur a new trend in TV comedy: the cute but neurotic Jewish leading man.
The Gaza withdrawal in itself plays only a small part in the current face-off between settlers and the Israeli government.
Inherently, I knew I would end up marrying a woman with a similar worldview. But only recently, after becoming engaged to an idealistic high school English teacher named Dena Stein, do I realize how our similarities, the big ones as well as the seemingly minute ones, make all the difference.
At present, the tradition or writing hanhagot continues. At the back are two neo-Chasidic hanhagot, by Hillel Zeitlin, a writer and martyr of the Warsaw Ghetto, and Arthur Green, a contemporary scholar and theologian, who is the author's mentor.
I fell in love with a brilliant, attractive and witty Filipina woman last year. She was a fallen Catholic, didn't accept Jesus as her savior and was totally cool with raising kids Jewish.
No, you didn't have to leave New York to discover Jewish observance, but something had to plant the desire. In my case, it was my bar mitzvah.
Robb Zelonky is scheduled to appear in Irvine after a two-month tour of California, bringing a special show with songs tailored to Jewish culture. He has also produced four secular CDs.
Joan Nestle is one of many Jewish lesbian writers with work catalogued at ONE, an archive similar to New York's Lesbian Herstory Archive, which Nestle co-founded in 1973.
The Jewish presence in Turkey usually is dated to 1492, when the Ottoman emperor Beyazit II welcomed Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquisition to his territory. In fact, though, Jewish life in the area has been traced back to at least the fourth century B.C.E.
Since the start of Israel's election campaign last October, the flamboyant leader of the secular-rights Shinui Party had been promising a secular revolution in Israel.
This week Yosef "Tommy" Lapid seemed to have a golden opportunity to fulfill his promises when Shinui -- which became Israel's third largest party after the Jan. 28 elections -- agreed to join Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's new Likud-led government.
After Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the biggest winner in Israel's election would appear to be Yosef "Tommy" Lapid, head of the staunchly secular
Tommy Lapid, who has made a second career hammering the ultra-Orthodox, says he didn't go into Israeli politics in order to become a government minister. But the outspoken, 71-year-old veteran journalist is suddenly warming to the prospect.
Can religious leaders be devout but not fanatic? Can fervent belief and tolerance coexist? Such questions are hardly academic these days: the results of religious fanaticism now consume headlines, and lives. One set of reassuring answers can be found in the life of Rabbi Benzion Uziel. Uziel served as the Sephardic chief rabbi of Palestine and then the State of Israel from 1939 until his death in 1953.
In "Loving Truth and Peace: The Grand Religious Worldview of Rabbi Benzion Uziel" (Jason Aronson, Inc., $30) author and rabbi Marc Angel tells the story of this remarkable man.
When one person helps another person, it's a mitzvah. When 1,500 people from 30 different organizations join together to help out in over 50 volunteering projects, it's Temple Israel of Hollywood's (TIOH) Mitzvah Day.
As a centrist observant Jew working in the secular professions, I am particularly struck by Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore's selection of Senator Joseph I. Lieberman as his vice-presidential running mate for the November 2000 elections.
Most of the mainstream secular Jewish organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Congress would like us to think so. But a recent gathering in Washington proved that a grass-roots movement is taking hold among Jews -- not only the Orthodox -- whose views are economically,politically and socially more in line with members of the Christian Coalition than with either the ADL or the AJC.