Social Issues

Bergen County’s Thriving Yeshiva

While many New York-area day schools are in crisis, Yeshivat Noam —
blessed with a growing Modern Orthodox community and energetic faculty — is riding high.

06/01/2010
Editorial Intern

When Yeshivat Noam first opened its doors in 2001, it was the kindergarten students — the upperclassmen, so to speak — who ran through the building, checking that every door had a mezuzah.

“We like to refer to them as our pioneers,” said Rabbi Chaim Hagler, principal of the Modern Orthodox school located in Bergen County. “They’ve kind of been eighth graders now for nine years.”

Second graders listen to a unit on bugs and their habitats.

Israel’s ‘Minority In A Minority’

Dor Guez’s video triptych examines the complicated identities of his Arab Christian family members.

06/01/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

If you don’t think that human identity is evanescent, multilayered, poly-vocal and downright confused, you probably won’t get “The Monayer Family,” a triptych of short videos by Dor Guez currently on display at the Jewish Museum.

Guez is a provocative, gifted artist who works in a variety of disciplines and media, focusing his attention on issues of multiculturalism, ethnicity and personal identity; appropriately, his own identity is as contested and complex as it is possible to imagine. The work, unsurprisingly, is the same.

The filmmaker’s grandfather, Jacob, in scenes from “The Monayer Family.”

No Handshake: Don't Take it Personally

06/01/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

Q: Hey Rabbi-- I have a quick question. I met the Rabbi at the Chabad at our school. Anyways, I had a long conversation with him and when I went to leave I put out my hand to shake his hand and he politely declined. Does my hand have a disease? What's going on here?
Thanks and hope everything is well

A: No you don't have a disease!

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

New Zealand Bans Shechita

05/28/2010
JTA

SYDNEY (JTA) – New Zealand has banned shechita, the kosher slaughter of animals.

The country’s new animal welfare code, which took effect Friday, mandates that all animals for commercial consumption be stunned prior to slaughter to ensure they are treated “humanely and in accordance with good practice and scientific knowledge.”

The regulation has shocked the Jewish community.

On-The-Job Jew Training

Two great new pieces out this week — both from West Coast Jewish publications — by women who grew up in interfaith families.

I especially related to the piece by Emily Savage, a staff writer at northern California’s The J, about how she’s basically acquired a Jewish education from working at a Jewish newspaper.

Beinart Pleasantly Surprised He Hasn’t Been Marginalized

Peter Beinart, the former New Republic editor whose strong critique of the American Jewish establishment in a New York Review of Books essay continues to reverberate in the community, says he has been pleasantly surprised by the responses he has received from pro-Israel critics

Jewish Leaders Meet with Senate Democrats

05/27/2010

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Jewish leaders met with more than a third of the Democratic caucus in the U.S. Senate.

Twenty-two senators, led by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), attended Wednesday's meeting. The caucus has 59 senators.

Pro-Israel, With Questions: Beinart Pins his Thesis to the Synagogue Door

05/26/2010
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Peter Beinart attends an Orthodox synagogue, once edited The New Republic (the closest thing to a smicha for Jewish policy wonks) and backed Sen. Joe Lieberman’s quixotic 2004 bid to become the first Jewish president.

Which is why he’s always been counted among the Washington pundits who defend Israel, Zionism and the right of American Jews to lobby for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.

Beinart also frets about how Jewish his kids will be.

Raising Children To Embrace Judaism: Authors Discuss Their Own Ambivalent Experiences

The struggle to raise an emotionally healthy child in a home where one parent is more religiously observant than the other was the subtext of a lively and revealing Jewish Week Forum last night with authors Judith Shulevitz (“The Sabbath World: Glimpses of a Different Order of Time”) and Dani Shapiro (“Devotion: A Memoir”) at Cong. B’nai Jeshurun on the Upper West Side.

More than 250 people attended the program.

Rand Paul Victory Poses Risks For Jewish Republicans as Tea Party Movement Surges

RJC, in unusual move, opposes Tea Party candidate.

05/26/2010
Washington Correspondent

 Rand Paul, the Tea Party insurgent who was the upset victor in last week’s Kentucky Republican Senate primary, could be the biggest headache yet for a Republican Party that hopes to capitalize on the populist surge without getting tainted by the angry movement’s extremists.

Some observers say Rand Paul’s strong pro-Israel views could draw Jewish campaign givers.
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