Even as Modern Orthodox Jews see themselves as embattled and on the decline within Orthodoxy, eclipsed by the ascendancy of the haredim to the right, new demographic data offer quite a different picture.
For the last quarter-century, Jewish Renewal has been a grassroots, anti-establishment movement embraced by Jews searching for spirituality in their lives. Now, itís becoming mainstream.
One of the four pillars of the new United Jewish Communities is being called Jewish Renaissance and Renewal. Its 36-member committee is slated to meet in Washington next month to develop ways to make Jewish life more meaningful. Because it is to be the committee's first meeting, it is unclear which areas it plans to address.
When Danielle Zeiler began seriously dating her husband-to-be, Scott Greenwood, she made it clear that if they married, their children would be raised Jews.
"He said fine, but then when we became engaged, he said he wanted his religion represented in the marriage also," recalled the 26-year-old. "I said we had a problem."
Another problem surfaced over the question of who would officiate at the marriage.
Retelling the story of the exodus to freedom will have a special meaning this Passover for two elderly former Soviet Jews, both of whom became American citizens recently with the help of citizenship courses funded by UJA-Federation.
For the first time, a son of Safed is prime minister. All right, so Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is the Palestinian prime minister, but Israelís fate is in his hands as much as anyoneís. When he insists that peace depends on Israel recognizing the Arab right of return, heís talking about himself and heís talking about Safed.
The Jewish Communal Fund, which has consistently been the largest single contributor to UJA-Federation, broadened the scope of its support last year with gifts to UJA-Federation's fund that supports building projects.
Noting that JCF donations in the past have been used for UJA-Federation's general operating budget, JCF's endowment committee decided also to "help the network of services to the Jewish and general community by targeting specific projects," according to Lynn Kroll, JCF's endowment committee chair.
At-risk Orthodox Jewish teenagers in Brooklyn (involved in everything from credit card fraud to sexual promiscuity and drug abuse) have created their own informal support network that attracts similarly troubled youngsters from across the city and seeks to recruit "regular youngsters" to their ranks.
Austrian far-right leader Joerg Haider, here to run in Sunday's New York Marathon, said he met with Jewish leaders the following day to correct "prejudicial" reports spread about him by his political enemies.
"All of the meetings ... with ethnic minorities, with Jewish groups, with representatives of the Jewish community have been really successful," he told The Jewish Week. "It makes me happy that we could show them that there is no sign of danger, that there is a sign of hope for them because we are the power to enforce democracy in Austria."
Responding to outrage of ADL and others, editor claims booklet is protected under First Amendment.
A 28-page booklet published by Holocaust denier Bradley R. Smith has touched off a controversy on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, L.I., after the school newspaper became the first in the country to run it in last week's edition.
Birthright Israel, the unprecedented offer of a free 10-day trip to Israel for 6,000 Jewish college students worldwide, has met with such a huge response that three of the 14 organizations sponsoring trips have stopped taking applications.
Funding for the January trip is available for 5,000 students from North America but Moshe Margolin, vice president of educational services for Birthright Israel, North America, said that based on the response to date, "we will significantly exceed 15,000 applications."