California

Studying Hate

Indiana U. launches contemporary anti-Semitism center, the second major academic institution of its kind. Will politics compromise its mission?

02/11/2010
Staff Writer

In recent years, Jewish intellectuals have sometimes bemoaned the anti-Zionist views heard on college campuses, and among liberal intellectuals generally, but have failed to do much about it. But that may be changing.

Last month, the chair of the Jewish studies department at Indiana University in Bloomington, Alvin Rosenfeld, announced the foundation of the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism. His goal is to study, in a dispassionate, scholarly way, what he thinks is just a new version of a very old kind of hate: anti-Semitism.

Professor Alvin Rosenfeld, who teaches Jewish studies at Indiana University.

Finding A Comfort Zone

11/06/1998
Jewish Week Book Critic

When Rabbi Naomi Levy became the rabbi of Temple Mishkon Tephilo in Venice, Calif., in 1989, she was 26, recently graduated from the Jewish Theological Seminary. A member of the first seminary class to admit women to study for the rabbinate, she became the first female Conservative rabbi to lead a congregation on the West Coast. At first, she was treated like something of a curiosity, but after a short time, after several marriages, births, burials in the community, she went from being their “new young woman rabbi to being their rabbi.”

Long, Strange Trip

10/15/1999
Jewish Week Book Critic

Alan Lew was getting ready to sew his raksu, the garment worn by Buddhists for lay ordination, but he kept procrastinating. Instead, he wrote poetry and a monologue in the voice of his Bubbe Ida. With every stitch, he was supposed to say “I take refuge in the Buddha,” and he soon realized why he couldn’t sew at all: He felt he was betraying his Jewish soul.

Shirtwaist Fire Revisited

08/03/2006

Nobody shops for shirtwaists anymore. Even those who favor women’s tailored blouses are unlikely to know their traditional name. The word shirtwaist still recalls the worst factory fire in the history of New York City, on March 11, 1911, at the Triangle Waist Factory, also known as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. That day, at least 146 workers died, most of them immigrant Jewish women, many jumping through the blazing windows to their deaths. The building, at the corner of Washington and Greene Streets in Greenwich Village, still stands.

High-Wire Act

The eruv — that ethereal yet physical boundary enabling observant Jews to push strollers and use wheelchairs on Shabbat — fosters community even as it sparks tensions.

03/06/2009
Before the Internet Age rendered geography irrelevant to community there was the eruv, the rabbinic response to spatial separation. A strategically placed wire here, a natural hedge border there, the inclusion of a fence or a highway, turns a neighborhood into an imaginary walled community of halachic intent, as such a deliberate remembrance of pre-diasporic Jerusalem.  

Fresh Debate Over New National Charter School Movement

Steinhardt-backed group looks to seed 20 new schools, while other charter supporters call vision 'misguided.'

02/03/2010
Associate Editor

The race to establish a national Hebrew charter schools movement has officially begun, igniting a growing, and fierce, debate about the vision and purpose of schools that could potentially revolutionize the American Jewish education landscape.

Principal Maureen Campbell with students at Brooklyn's Hebrew Language Academy Charter School

Orthodox Seen Lured Into 'Affinity Fraud' Totaling $200 Million

12/25/2009
Special to The Jewish Week

 In an alleged financial fraud that has ensnared Orthodox Jewish investors from New York to Florida to London, a Lakewood, N.J., businessman is accused of bilking them out of more than $200 million through phony real estate deals, according to complaints made in multiple lawsuits across the country.

Showdown Over Bills On Sex-Abuse Statute

04/03/2009
Special to The Jewish Week

 The legislative effort to help victims of child sexual abuse in New York State got much more complicated this week as two competing bills have now been cleared to go to a vote on the Assembly floor. 

The bills are sponsored by Margaret Markey (D-Queens) and Vito Lopez (D-Brooklyn) respectively, and have already set up a showdown, pitting survivors of abuse and their advocates — who support the Markey bill — against major Catholic and Jewish institutions, which are backing the Lopez version.

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