Next Labor Day weekend, Rabbis Jeff Roth and Joanna Katz will carefully remove the Torah scroll from its home at Elat Chayyim, the Jewish retreat center they founded 16 years ago, and carry it on the first leg of the journey to its new home. Then they'll hand it off to pairs of friends who will take turns walking the holy scroll 62 miles, to the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center.
Removing the Torah will be the final act by Elat Chayyim's leaders before they close the retreat center's doors, bringing to an end a grand experiment in the spiritual renewal of Judaism.
For the 31st year in a row several of the original "Seder Sisters" sat together on Sunday night, speaking of the world's present plagues and of the ways in which women worldwide are still in various types of bondage imposed on them because of their gender.
There are always a few crumbs an eagle-eyed shopper can find among the clothes, furniture and tchotchkes for sale on eBay. But this time, they were real crumbs. Crumbs of chametz, the leavened food like bread and cakes that observant Jews rid their homes of before the start of Passover. Chametz that they want to use after Passover ends can be technically sold to a non-Jew.
Opposition is building to a city Health Department campaign to warn new Jewish parents against a circumcision procedure it describes as life threatening: even before the plan is launched.
In a full-page ad in last week's Brooklyn Orthodox paper, The Jewish Press, a new group calling itself Friends of Bris Milah (ritual circumcision) urged parents to call a 24-hour hot line "to report any conversation initiated by doctors, hospitals and other professional caregivers" regarding the procedure known as metzitzah b'peh.
One of Brooklyn's most august Reform temples is hiring an innovative rabbi to be its next spiritual leader, in the hope that he will usher in a new era for the Park Slope synagogue.
The rabbinic search committee of Congregation Beth Elohim this month unanimously voted to hire Rabbi Andrew Bachman, late of the group Brooklyn Jews, to take over for Rabbi Gerald Weider, who is retiring after 28 years. At a Jan. 9 board meeting, the synagogue's trustees unanimously endorsed the committee's recommendation, though the final vote will come from the entire congregation in March.
Students preparing to become Conservative rabbis and cantors may soon be required to adhere to a new set of policies issued by the Jewish Theological Seminary detailing how to observe Shabbat and keep kosher, among other things.
It may also require that they not live with a partner before marriage and addresses the ongoing question of gay and lesbian ordination by restating that the rabbinical and cantorial schools at JTS "do not ordain candidates who are gay or lesbian."
Philanthropists partnering up to match new donations to Jewish day schools in the United States, and social service and educational causes in Israel, are producing millions of new dollars in contributions for both areas.
A group of 9-11 survivors (parents who lost children and people who lost their spouses in the terrorist attack four years ago) will travel to Israel next week to meet with Israelis and Palestinians who have suffered similar losses.
The 10 participants, plus three leaders from the New York Jewish Healing Center, will meet with bereaved parents and spouses under the auspices of the Koby Mandell Foundation, established in memory of the 13-year-old boy murdered by a terrorist while hiking with his friend in a wadi outside Tekoa in May 2001.
"Reaching for the Infinite: The Lubavitcher Rebbe: Life, Teachings and Impact" was more apt a title for the conference that took place this week at New York University than even its organizers may have realized.
When Aaron Dworkin walks into a room of potential funders "I really freak people out," he tells The Jewish Week. "They see my last name and say 'we were expecting someone old, white, balding and Jewish' and I show up, young, black and seemingly not Jewish."