Judaism

Kagan’s Nomination And What It Means

Religion not seen as key dividing line in country.

05/12/2010
Washington Correspondent

 The argument that anti-Semitism still stifles Jewish achievement in modern America will be a little harder to make if President Barack Obama’s second Supreme Court nomination passes muster with the Senate.

If Kagan is confirmed, the Supreme Court will have six Catholics and three Jews. Getty Images

Shavuot’s Big Tent, From Ruth To Sandra Bernhard

05/11/2010
Editor and Publisher

While traditional Jews here and around the world will mark Shavuot (from the evening of May 18 to sundown May 20) by staying up the first night studying Torah, several thousand young men and women in San Francisco are expected to flock to Golden Gate Park where, for the admission price of $20, they can attend Dawn, an all-night culture and arts festival.

Gary Rosenblatt

Giving The Rebbe A Biography

‘The Life and Afterlife of Menachem Mendel Schneerson’
humanizes the Lubavitcher Rebbe, but is its premise flawed?

05/11/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

‘The Rebbe: The Life and Afterlife of Menachem Mendel Schneerson” by Samuel Heilman and Menachem Friedman (Princeton University Press) fills a considerable void in the biography of one of the towering religious figures of the 20th century. But on reading it, one wonders whether the object of the biography is the same Lubavitcher Rebbe the world came to know and admire for pioneering Jewish outreach in the modern age and for being arguably the figure most responsible for the global resurgence in Jewish affiliation.

The authors of a biography of late leader of the Lubavitch movement make no effort to explain his scholarly works.

Jewish Peoplehood: Getting The Message Out

How do you convince a young generation of Jews increasingly detached from their past that connecting to their heritage and community is important and beneficial – to their fellow Jews and to themselves?

“We can’t coerce or guilt them,” noted Jack Ukeles, a consultant on policy-oriented research studies for a number of Jewish communities around the country.

The dozen or so communal leaders and academics around the table on Monday night, at the last of a four-part series of conversations on Jewish Peoplehood, nodded, almost glumly, it seemed.

To Elie Wiesel, Please Read Me.

By now Elie Wiesel's newspaper advertisment, which attacked Obama's position on east Jerusalem settlements, is well known.  My editor, Gary Rosenblatt, even got an exclusive interivew with Wiesel about it, which is certainly worth a read.  In short, Wiesel's letter basically said that Obama did not understand the signficance Jerusalem has for Jews.  "Jerusalem is above politics," Wiesel noted, which I'm guessing will be remembered by many as an egregious snaf

More on Elie Wiesel, politics and Jerusalem

Reading Jewish Week editor and publisher Gary Rosenblatt's interview with Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, I can't help but wonder if this moral paragon is on his way to being perceived as just another political activist. Given Wiesel's eloquent and moving contributions to our understanding of the Holocaust and its aftermath and his stature as a moral teacher on the issue of genocide, that would be sad.

Lovers Lane

You would think the word “lovers” in the bed and breakfast’s name would have given it away, but no.

Which explains why I was nothing but surprised when my friend, G, and I pulled up into the lovely little zimmer in the vegetarian community nestled in the lush green splendor of the Galilee and discovered that we had stepped into lover’s lane.

Gag Rule For Gentiles

Interfaithfamily.com has published a very disturbing personal essay by a mom who wasn’t allowed to speak from the bima at her daughter’s bat mitzvah.

The essay by Debbie Burton doesn’t say how long ago the incident occurred, but the gag rule for gentiles remains in place at her Chicago congregation, which she describes as an independent lay-led minyan that relies on “Conservative legal opinions.” (To learn more about independent minyanim, which vary tremendously in their overall outlooks as well as their approaches toward interfaith families, read my colleague Rivka Oppenheim's excellent recent article or go to the Mechon Hadar Web site.)

MK, Non-Orthodox Clash On Conversions

Rotem determined to push bill, despite serious opposition from liberal Jews.

05/04/2010
Staff Writer

The author of a proposed Israeli conversion bill dismissed this week criticism of the legislation by non-Orthodox Jewish leaders here and said he is determined to see it enacted.

“I will have to think how to continue because the most important thing for me is how to solve the problem of the half-million new immigrants from Russia”  who wish to convert to  Judaism, Israeli Knesset member David Rotem told The Jewish Week Monday.

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