Religion

One Family, Two Faiths, A Multitude Of Questions

Interfaith marriages are hard enough, but a Jewish-Muslim family raising dual-identity children?

07/06/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Her father fled Nazi Germany before World War II, arriving in New York as a refugee; her grandparents and an aunt were murdered at Auschwitz; and another aunt, now 92, somehow survived two years of hiding in Berlin.

His grandfather built a life in India as a renowned Islamic and Persian scholar, a teacher and an imam at the local mosque, and his Muslim family continues to live in South Asia.

With two such markedly different backgrounds, the chances of Helene Lauffer and Muzaffar Chishti meeting, much less falling in love, could be seen as remote by many observers. 

Helene Lauffer and Muzaffar Chishti are hoping their daughter Maryam “examines both sides of her background and synthesizes them

Joy And Faith Amid Israel’s Fears

07/06/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

I’m a rationalist. I’m not into mysticism or spirituality or New Age stuff. An “intellectual,” I like to fancy myself. Yet there I was in Jerusalem one Saturday morning a few weeks ago, putting two kvitels, little notes, into the crevices of the Western Wall. One was a petition for a friend; the other a personal plea. I laughed to myself as I pressed them deep into the cracks, knowing that like untold others, I somehow ascribe special powers to that Wall and the missives it bears. I had done this before and will do it again. So much for rationalism.

The Virtual Simcha

The first time I heard about a "virtual simcha" was in the late 1990s. Detroit was hit with a massive snowstorm and the 8-day old baby boy's aunt who was to play the role of rabbi was stuck at the airport in New York. The rabbi improvised and she officiated at her nephew's bris via speaker phone.

Of course, if this happened in 2010 and not in the late 1990s the bris would have been officiated by the rabbi through Skype, and she would have seen the simcha and been seen by the attendees.

Using technology to add people to a simcha is becoming more common. An increasing number of grandparents and great-grandparents are attending their grandchildren's wedding in the virtual world.

Just last month I officiated at a wedding that was being streamed live to Israel so that the bride's elderly grandparents could "be there." Through Ustream.tv, the grandparents felt like they were at the wedding even if it meant staying up late into the night in Israel.

 

Live Streaming Wedding Allows Relatives in Israel to "Attend"

Summer Interns in Chicago: Building a Community and Jewish Identity

07/02/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

The 2010-2011 school year is likely to be a busy one for pro-Israel advocates on college campuses across North America. Jessica Ost, a rising junior at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, is spending her summer vacation preparing for the battles ahead.

Jessica is working with the Chicago Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), where she is learning Israel advocacy as well as other issues related to the Jewish community as part of the Harriet and Maurice Lewis Family Summer Intern Program, a project of Hillels of Illinois.

2010 participants in the Lewis Family Summer Intern Program

Joan Arnow, Philanthropist, Dies At 80

06/30/2010

Joan Arnow, 80, who died Tuesday at her home in Scarsdale after a long bout with melanoma, was recalled lovingly by family members at funeral services Wednesday as a remarkably warm and generous woman, both emotionally and philanthropically.

In Letter, Farrakhan Accuses Jews of Hurting Blacks

06/30/2010

(JTA) -- Minister Louis Farrakhan, in a letter addressed to U.S. Jewish organizations, accused Jews of hurting blacks and called for dialogue to "repair" the damage.

The Nation of Islam leader sent the letter, as well as a two-volume copy of "The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews" by the Nation of Islam Historical Research Team, which he said proves "an undeniable record of Jewish Anti-Black behavior," the Associated Press reported Tuesday afternoon.

Misleading Headline

06/30/2010

 I was puzzled as to why you chose the headline, “Jewish Leaders Back Islamic Center” (June 4). I read the article from start to finish and there was no indication that a majority of Jewish leaders are for this building. It was inaccurate and didn’t reflect at all what the article said. The writer quoted two parents who lost children in 9/11, neither of whom are Jewish leaders.

Countering Oil Dependency

06/30/2010

 Regarding, “A Way Out Of Our Oil Dependency” (Editor’s column, June 25), reducing fossil fuels globally will not only help improve energy security throughout the world but also decrease greenhouse gas emissions. If every nation had its own supply of renewable energy, fossil fuel tyranny and energy scarcity would decrease. As oil is a primary source of income for Iran, it’s hard to see how reducing our need for oil detracts from our security interests.

J Street Unrepresentative

06/30/2010

 Why does the marginal and radical organization J Street continue to monopolize James Besser’s reports from Washington (“Fresh Debate Emerging on Strategic Alliance,” June 11)?

It doesn’t represent the mainstream Jewish community and it calls for imposing a solution that Israel feels strongly will deny it the ability to defend itself. Engaging in nonstop criticism of Israeli policies while giving a pass to Palestinian terrorism and the Hamas butchers, J Street is as pro-Israel as Jews For Jesus is Jewish. 

Manhattan

 

Young Leaders Pushing For Seat At Table

Twenty- and 30-somethings want a presence
in nonprofit boardrooms. Will they get it?

06/30/2010
Staff Writer

Twenty- and 30-something Jews have launched websites and magazines that have challenged the Jewish establishment, harnessed the power of social networking in their social justice work and raised the community’s eco-consciousness. But when it comes to getting a seat at the table — the boardroom table, that is — the gulf between generations has never been more gaping.

Young leaders in recent board training session.
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