Warwick, N.Y. — The sun was setting at the Reform movement’s teen leadership camp in this picturesque upstate town, and in the dying light of a sweet summer day it was time for the evening prayer service. In the lakeside pavilion that serves as Kutz Camp’s synagogue, the visiting musician who led the evening service on the Fourth of July, a Wednesday, set the prayers to an easy-listening jazz sound. It was a musical style, played on an electric keyboard, that almost none of the campers connected with, many said later.
Rabbi Peter Knobel is on a mission: to propel his colleagues in the Reform rabbinate to exercise moral leadership and speak out with conviction on public issues. According to Rabbi Knobel, president of the 1,800-member Central Conference of American Rabbis, which met for its annual convention this week in Cincinnati, fear of controversy and an over-emphasis on internal spirituality has caused his colleagues to draw back from the prophetic tradition that they once proudly wore as their mantle.
In many ways, Karen Bacon is the ultimate “Stern girl.”
On her first night at Yeshiva University’s college for women, she met a guy from the men’s school uptown, and married him right after graduation. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in microbiology — defending her dissertation just before giving birth to their first child — and to do two years of post-graduate work in the then-new field of electron microscopy.
When a six-car train pulls out of Penn Station at 5:30 on Sunday morning, it won’t be full of the sleepy commuters who usually occupy Amtrak’s seats. Instead it will bear the banner “Pro-Faith, Pro-Family, Pro-Choice Express,” and be filled with Jews, Protestants and even a few Catholics traveling together to Washington for the March for Women’s Lives.
When the Jerusalem Open House was being developed, Danny Savitch didn’t expect it to be very big. Even Savitch, one of its founders, wondered how a gay community center would be accepted in one of the world’s most religiously conservative cities.
Seven years later, with as many as 200 people attending support and social groups each week, “we are much more successful than I thought. I didn’t know that so many people would use our services,” Savitch says.
In a sign of how sensitive the issue of homosexuality is within traditional Judaism, a young, traditional congregation in Park Slope, Brooklyn, is losing the backing of its supporting religious institution because it invited an openly gay Orthodox rabbi to give sermons during Rosh HaShanah, The Jewish Week has learned.
Days before Rosh HaShanah, the Union for Traditional Judaism, a breakaway group from the Conservative movement, delivered an ultimatum to The Montauk Minyan: either rescind its invitation to the rabbi or lose their support.
Some Northeasterners flying to Florida in late October and early November won’t be the usual snowbirds. In fact, these Jewish men and women are far from retirement age.
They are twentysomethings on a mission: Operation Bubbe.
Their aim is to get Jewish seniors populating condo colonies and senior centers in Palm Springs, Boca Raton, Delray Beach and North Miami to the polls in the Nov. 2 presidential election.
It was close to 70 years ago that Evelyn Chasan bought a sharp royal-blue suit with a boxy jacket at Klein’s, the fabled department store on Union Square, and wore it to a May Day rally in support of unions and workers’ rights in the adjacent park.
The memory came back to her on Sunday as she joined hundreds of thousands of others to march in sweltering heat and demonstrate deep opposition to the re-election of President George W. Bush.
Leading demographers are raising serious doubts about the credibility of the long-awaited $6 million National Jewish Population Study 2000, now that its sponsor has shelved the findings pending an investigation into the loss of some research data.
Even before Cantor Howard Nevison’s trial begins, the defense and the prosecution are clashing over the case’s timing.
Nevison, who is employed by Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan, was arrested last month on charges that he sexually abused his young nephew, the son of the clergyman’s brother.
Another Nevison brother was found guilty of abusing the same boy and is serving time in a Pennsylvania state prison. That man’s son, a cousin of the victim, pleaded guilty on similar charges and is now out on parole.