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.
What is the art of welcoming?
Israelis and Palestinians depict each other in schoolbooks as an enemy and largely deny their adversary's history and existence, according to a U.S. government-funded study published on Monday.
President Obama’s middle name, Hussein, can influence the way he is perceived by Israelis, a new study found.
A new genetic analysis has reconstructed the history of North Africa's Jews, showing that these populations date to biblical-era Israel and are not largely the descendants of natives who converted to Judaism, scientists reported on Monday.
Len Saxe, a leading Jewish demographer, said a widely cited survey on New York Jewry overestimated the number of Orthodox Jews in the city and its environs.
Observing my kids playing, I notice how the same toy, no matter how many times they play with it, can reveal the most remarkable things. My daughter, with the vocabulary befitting a 1 1/2-year-old, will bring her ball over to me and point to a mark on it with a delighted grunt.
The Advanced Talmudic Institute at MATAN, one of the few programs for women in Israel that focuses on high-level Talmud study, is closing.
The impact of a Taglit-Birthright experience is significant and lasts for years, according to a new study. Participants in the 10-day Israel trips are more confident advocates for Israel, are more likely to feel very connected to Israel, and are 51 percent more likely to marry a Jew than their peers who applied for but did not go on a Birthright trip.
Thousands of Israeli university students gathered in Jerusalem to protest a bill that would provide stipends to yeshiva students.
Cedars-Sinai is one of only 11 hospitals in the country and two in the state participating in the study
Several years ago, Rabbi Shlomo Levin hit on a new way to attract students from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to classes at his nearby Orthodox synagogue. Instead of spending money on eye-catching advertising, Levin reasoned it would be simpler just to give the money directly to the students in exchange for attendance
Tisha B'Av -- the ninth day of the month of Av -- is a day of fasting and mourning to commemorate some of the greatest tragedies to befall the Jewish people, among them the destruction of both Holy Temples in Jerusalem and the expulsion from Spain in 1492
Last week, the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts opened in the heavily Jewish neighborhood of Flatbush. The $4,500, six-week intensive course, run in cooperation with the continuing education department of Kingsborough Community College, is the only professional kosher cooking school in North America.
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City of Los Angeles has been ordered to conduct a new environmental impact report (EIR) before implementing the Pico-Olympic traffic plan.
A growing number of American Jews have chosen to retire to Mexico. Two of the largest expatriate communities, in San Miguel de Allende and Ajijic; have experienced contrasting experiences while attempting to establish spiritual leadership.
Our communities' leadership has to absorb the reality that the next generation of open-minded young people sees diversity as a plus, not as a burden to be overcome.
While studying this Torah portion several years ago, I enjoyed one of those peculiar delights vouchsafed to those who learn to study great Jewish texts in the Hebrew original -- the discovery a great mistranslation. The concept is "ein mukdam u'm'uchar ba'Torah" -- usually mistranslated as "the Torah [often] is not written in chronological order," or more literally, "there is no before and after in the Torah."
In the space of an hour -- plus an extra 10 to 15 minutes thrown in for good measure -- David Solomon outlines the 4,000 years of Jewish history, from 2000 B.C.E. to the present. Each white paper wall represents 1,000 years, and as Solomon moves from Abraham to the 12 tribes, Moses, the prophets, the First and Second Temples, the Babylonian exile and the "PR stunt" of Chanukah, he works the room, swiveling the audience in its seats as he races from one side of the room to another.
New and better information is coming to light every day about ways to prevent this common disease. Since doctors are getting better at catching it early, fewer men are dying of prostate cancer. But one in six men will still develop the disease in their lifetime.
My advice to teens and adults alike is to take advantage of every moment you can learn, whether through speaking to someone knowledgeable, reading a book, or even taking a quick peek at the explanation of the week's Torah portion online. You will be surprised how quickly these fragments influence your daily life and improve the foundation of your faith and Jewish identity.
A new study gives fairly concrete evidence that the American Jewish population could be more than 1 million people larger than believed -- but if so, it means efforts to engage them may have been less successful than the community realized.
After her USY trip last summer, Daniela Bernstein, 16, of Los Angeles is already thinking about returning. "The trip cultivated my love of Israel and the complete realization of how crucial Israel is to Judaism and the Jewish people," said Bernstein. "I am already planning my next visit."
The only reason for including Lebanon in the conversation at all is to signal to Iran and Syria that it will be offered up for grabs to them on a silver platter as well
Etshalom's book cannot replace a study partner; no single book can do that. I'm sure that Etshalom would agree with me on this point, but his book is not meant to do that. Etshalom's book is meant as a sort of introductory field guide to Torah.
To meet him, you might think Steven Rubin is a normal person. Tall, handsome, happily married with young children, he is personable, affable -- in short, one of the gentlest and nicest guys you could meet. But he is a man obsessed with war -- World War II to be precise.
Bibliographical guide for the perplexed compiled by Amy Klein.
Many college-bound high school graduates are packing up their inflatable sofas and plan to stay abreast Middle East news using wireless laptops. But some of their peers will get a real-time glimpse of current events as they prepare for a year of study in Israel.
Many Reform Jews express their connection with the divine through social action and tikkun olam, fixing God's world. While all of these are also part of my own life as a Jew, it is study that nourishes my rationalist-traditionalist soul and links me to another realm.
Twenty parents from the Emek Hebrew Academy in Valley Village have come on a chilly winter evening to hear Dr. Francine Kaufman, a national expert on diabetes and childhood obesity, talk about promoting children's health. Although the school has 455 families, Rabbi Sholom Strajcher, the school's dean, is not discouraged by the modest turnout.
"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."
When we think of bar and bat mitzvah gifts, many things come to mind: fountain pens, cuff links, picture frames, checks. But the true gifts of this religious rite of passage extend far beyond the envelopes and boxes piled up at the party door.
"There's a challenge for Reform Jews around the observance of Tisha B'Av, and communities make all kinds of choices," said Rabbi Sue Ann Wasserman, the Union for Reform Judaism's director of worship, music and religious living.
According to the Pew study, illegal immigrants add 700,000 new consumers to the economy every year, while legal immigrants account for 600,000. As these illegal immigrants move up economically -- 84 percent of them are ages 18 to 44, as compared to 60 percent of legal residents -- their spending on credit cards, loans and mortgages will help boost the economy.
Jonathan Safran Foer, author of the best-selling novel, "Everything Is Illuminated" (Houghton Mifflin, 2002) and last year's "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" (Houghton Mifflin) released a video earlier this month in which he argues that the slaughtering practices employed by modern factory farms are out of step with the spirit of the kosher laws. The film ultimately calls upon viewers to consider vegetarianism.
When sexy authors like Erica Jong and Jerry Stahl get together onstage, you expect fireworks. But when I drag my friend Kay up to Skirball for the Writers Bloc conversation, the room is too bright, and Kay tells me Jong's blue-framed eyeglasses and gold necklace make her come off more Carol Channing than "sex goddess."
The last few months have seen a flood of studies of Gen-Y Jews -- all trying to map their sense of Jewish identity, affiliation patterns, needs, hopes, beliefs and behaviors.
The first time the word "rebbetzin" appeared in The New York Times was in 1931, in a review of a book about Yiddish theater. The term stood untranslated; the reviewer and his editors assumed that readers would understand the meaning.
"Looking at what's happening locally and nationally, we've found that fewer teen boys enroll in informal Jewish activities than they did in previous years," said Lori Harrison Port, senior associate director for planning and allocations at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.
"We talk a lot about the symptoms for this phenomenon but not enough about the causes of violence," said Gideon Fishman, head of Haifa University's Minerva Center for the Study of Youth. "If we do not explore the causes, nothing will help -- neither more policemen nor more punitive measures."
In the five years since Priddy's father passed away, portable defibrillators (also called automated external defibrillators) have become increasingly common in public venues.
While there are no statistics to prove it, the anecdotal evidence is overwhelming. Typing "Jewish romance novel" into Google calls up dozens of bodice rippers featuring Jewish themes or characters, and not all published by small presses.
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While on a summer vacation on the East Coast, my family and I visited some spectacular sights in northwestern North Carolina, especially near Ashville, N.C. On our way to Ashville, we stopped and asked directions from a fine gentleman who turned out to be a Methodist minister.
The mere mention of eugenics, which refers to a movement to improve humankind by controlling genetic factors through mating, is enough to ring bells that many Jews would rather not hear 60 years after the Allied defeat of the Nazis.
A quiet crisis is unfolding here. It's grabbing few headlines and it's rarely the stuff of public debate.
There's more to Jewish Los Angeles than Hollywood, outsider perceptions notwithstanding, and a wide-ranging UCLA project aims to paint a fuller and more accurate picture of the metropolis' 650,000 Jews.
"Los Angeles is one of the greatest Jewish cities in the Diaspora, the second largest in the United States, and it is time to subject it to serious inquiry," said historian David N. Myers, director of the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies (CJS).
The inquiry by the center, joined by the Autry National Center and the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, will focus on two critical questions:
The Disney Concert Hall was the site of one of the largest Torah celebration in modern history in Los Angeles. On Tuesday, March 2, 3,000 Jews celebrated the Daf Hayomi Siyum, the culmination of the study of the entire Talmud.
American Jewish leaders who created the United Jewish Communities (UJC) umbrella organization out of three separate ones in 1999 are largely frustrated and disappointed by the outcome of their labor, with some scoring the missed chance to form a truly representative and forward-looking voice for American Jewry.
"There are three female historical figures that I have wanted to play: Golda Meir, Indira Ghandi and Margaret Thatcher. And the last two haven't been offered to me."
Andrea Hodos cuts a sprightly figure directing 14-year-old Sophie Porter-Zasada, dancing the biblical story of Sarah laughing as she hears of her pregnancy with Isaac.
So is it possible to squeeze 5,765 years of history, culture, law and food into a 380-page book? Yes! While academics might snub their noses, the books actually can teach both the idiot and the dummy quite a bit about Judaism.
Even in relatively tolerant and officially secular America, Jews long have had to do a dance around the holidays of the majority population. There's a national party going on and, let's face it, we are not invited.
Quietly studying a page of the Talmud on a crowded plane, the great Orthodox teacher and thinker Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik was interrupted by a passenger in the next seat.