When 15-year-old Ryan Green wore his new Star of David necklace to the first day of class at Harrison Central High School in Gulfport, Miss., it drew the attention of wary school officials.
The school superintendent, backed by the entire local school board barred the carrot-topped, freckle-faced boy from wearing the silver pendant, citing a school policy that prohibits students from wearing gang symbols.
The case swiftly gained national attention, spurring a federal lawsuit, charges of anti-Semitism and raising new questions about religious freedom in public schools.
Baltimore — What do an expert on Buddhism, a Christian theologian and a former Reagan administration bureaucrat have to say about Jewish spirituality to a room full of Conservative rabbis? That was the question here this week when all three addressed several hundred rabbis and guests at the 99th annual convention of the Rabbinical Assembly, the organization representing the world’s 1,500 Conservative rabbis.
Striding across the opulent lobby of Manhattan’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel last Sunday morning, Michael Sonnenfeldt, chair of the pro-peace Israel Policy Forum, spotted Malcolm Hoenlein, the top executive of the nation’s leading Jewish umbrella group — the 50-year-old Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
“It seems like I’m always following you around,” joked Sonnenfeldt, a private investor with a linebacker’s build, extending his hand.
Since returning to Poland last June to serve as chief rabbi of Warsaw, Rabbi Michael Shudrich has been busy trying to resolve the country’s Jewish past, and also secure its future.
One moment he’s ensuring that the community has kosher food. The next, he’s trying to save abandoned Jewish cemeteries and mass grave sites left in ruins after World War II.
Perhaps most importantly, the short, bearded 45-year-old Bronx-born and Patchogue, L.I.-raised rabbi is trying to help Poles with Jewish roots return to Judaism.
‘Now Mount Sinai was altogether in smoke, for the Lord had come down upon it in fire.’ Exodus 19:18
It’s not every millennium that God descends onto a mountain for a chat with one of his creations.
In fact, according to Jewish tradition, it’s only happened once, about 3,250 years ago, on a modest mountain sometimes called Sinai.
The other day, the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant group in America, declared that wives should “submit themselves graciously to their husband’s leadership.”
Try selling that to Jewish women.
“My husband tells me that all the time — ‘can’t you be a little more submissive’ ” — chuckled political consultant Suri Kasirer when asked about the newest development in American gender politics.
Anne Lown, a Jewish woman from Boston, had worked nearly 25 years for the Salvation Army's children's services arm in New York when she was thrust into the world of faith-based initiatives.
Lown, associate director of the local Salvation Army's government-funded Social Services for Children, was one of 18 employees to leave or be dismissed in 2003-04 for allegedly refusing to sign forms swearing loyalty to the group's Christian principles.
One finds great pride among older leaders in the community for the young activists and entrepreneurs and a great eagerness to embrace them and bring them into the federation world. But while the young Turks are enthusiastic about approaching the federa
Editor and Publisher
One of the fascinating dynamics in American Jewish life today involves the complex and evolving relationship among three key groups: the Establishment organizations, symbolized by the federations, the primary engine that drives the organized Jewish community; the family foundations, which have generated great sums of philanthropic money in recent years; and the hundreds of emerging start-ups, or small, independent and youth-driven nonprofit ventures that have become increasingly popular in the last decade, especially among Generations X and Y.
A strong but subtle combination of admiration, support and resistance among those groups was just under the surface of a number of discussions — public and private — last week in Washington at the GA (the annual General Assembly of The Jewish Federations of North America).
The world’s largest kosher slaughterhouse and several other major kosher meat suppliers have been served with federal subpoenas in connection with a criminal antitrust investigation, The Jewish Week has learned.
AgriProcessors of Postville, Iowa, received its subpoena from a federal grand jury several weeks ago. At least two other kosher meat suppliers have also received subpoenas in connection with the probe, according to Washington, D.C., attorney Nathan Lewin, who represents the Iowa slaughterhouse.
As of this writing, the race for Nassau County executive is too close to call.
But seriously, who really cares? All the action is in New York City, where I spent an even four decades of my life, and where, for the first time since 1985, I was not able to cast a vote for mayor yesterday.