Rabbi Ronald Sobel, who has led Manhattan’s majestic Temple Emanu-El — thought to be the largest synagogue in the world — for 28 years and became a leading figure in New York City religious life, will retire this summer.
“I wanted to take my departure at a time when my congregants would say they are so sad and that’s exactly what I’m hearing,” a laughing Rabbi Sobel told the Jewish Week Wednesday. “If they said they were not sad, I would be profoundly sad.
The “Charlie Ward controversy” is exposing a vein of Christian Evangelical thought that may be far more widespread — and far more harmful to Jews — than previously believed, say religion experts.
The remarks by the veteran Knicks guard made during a Bible study session with teammates — that the Jews are Christ killers and that they persecute Christians to this day — point to two troubling developments in Jewish-Christian relations, those experts say.
Eric J. Greenberg is a staff writer. James D. Besser is the Washington correspondent.
Washington — Since its opening in 1993, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum here has tried to position itself as a respected national institution, not an instrument of Jewish politics.
But this week it became ensnared in just what it hoped to avoid when its top lay and professional leaders spurned an administration request for an official welcome for Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat during his trip to Washington.
The Reform movement is embroiled in an emotional national debate on the future of its belief system.
At issue is a controversial draft document titled the “Ten Principles of Reform Judaism” that seeks to set guidelines for how North America’s 1.2 million Reform Jews should practice their faith in the 21st century.
Rather than fostering unity, the platform, authored by the leader of the movement’s rabbinic arm, has provoked a firestorm of criticism from Reform lay leaders, academics and rabbis nationwide.
As a prisoner swap for the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was said to be closer than ever this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was reportedly poised to declare a 10-month settlement freeze.
“Netanyahu is set to announce in the coming days that he will accept a construction freeze in the West Bank settlements for 10 months but will exclude [Palestinian east] Jerusalem,” Yossi Beilin, a former leader of the left-wing Meretz party, was quoted as saying.
A newspaper ad by a Yeshiva University-linked Orthodox rabbinical group is denouncing the Wye agreement as a violation of Jewish law that threatens the lives of all Jews in Israel.
But the rabbinic group called Ichud Harabonim, or Union of Rabbis, is itself being criticized for using language some say evokes the violent rhetoric used against the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin — who was assassinated three years ago this week.
In what is being hailed as a major development in interfaith affairs, John Cardinal O’Connor, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, is calling for the Vatican to quickly open its secret Nazi-era archives.
The comments by Cardinal O’Connor mark the first major initiative by a Christian leader in the long-running struggle to gain access to the Catholic Church’s sealed documents in Rome. Jewish leaders have been calling for access to try and determine the relationship between the Vatican and Nazi Germany during and after World War II.
Authorities are stepping up the pressure on the World Church of the Creator, an Illinois-based white supremacist group that law enforcement officials are linking to three synagogue fires in Sacramento, Calif., and a shooting rampage in the Midwest that targeted blacks, Jews and Asian Americans, leaving two dead.
In Illinois, state tax officials have launched a tax-evasion probe. Sacramento police have increased the monitoring of members and followers of the group.
Like the biblical prophets Samuel and Nathan, who admonished their kings for sinning, the spiritual head of the Conservative movement found himself a lone Jewish voice in the nation this week following his daring call for President Clinton to resign.
Ismar Schorsch, chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary, last week thus became the first national Jewish religious figure to urge Clinton to quit because of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. He said the president’s moral authority has been “destroyed” and in effect cannot be recovered.
A historic partnership between Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan and the largest African-American Muslim group in the United States is a “troubling and disturbing” development that threatens dialogue between Jews and black Muslims, American Jewish officials cautioned this week.