As growing numbers of non-Orthodox Jews flock to the mikveh — a trend that has spread over the last decade — an inevitable clash between the traditional and the modern is beginning to emerge, with progressive Jews seeking to recast an ancient ritual in their own image.
The current interest in mikveh was evidenced by the more than 200 people, men and women, from across the Jewish spectrum, who attended the conference “Reclaiming Mikveh: Pouring Ancient Waters into a Contemporary Vessel,” held last month in the Boston suburb of Newton, Mass.
If they’d met a generation ago, Shayna Peavey, a cantor, and Melissa De Lowe, a first-grade Judaic studies teacher, might very well have fallen in love. They might have waltzed across Israel together, setting off for little-known destinations in their leisure time — as they did when they first met as Hebrew Union College students abroad in Jerusalem. They might have regrouped in New York City, where Peavey, now 30, finished her cantorial studies, and De Lowe, 27, moved after dating Peavey for three months in Israel.
Do you know what time Shabbat ended in Williamsport, Pa., last week?
You did if you were watching ESPN.
The cable sports channel was broadcasting a semifinal game in the Little League World Series, and 12-year-old Micah Golshirazian was sitting in the dugout of the Jesse Burkett All-Stars (New England champions from Worcester, Mass.) and as a Sabbath-observant player, he wouldn't play until Shabbat was over.
At 8:43 p.m.
A clock on ESPN counted down the minutes.
In the dugout, Micah watched a scoreboard clock.
The next head of the New York Board of Rabbis will have a new headquarters, but the same headaches, as the outgoing executive vice president. Running an interdenominational organization, to which members of the four major denominations of Judaism belong, gets harder each year, said Rabbi Gilbert Rosenthal, who retired last week after a decade in the position.
"Unequivocally, yes," Rabbi Rosenthal said on his last day on the job, sitting in the board's temporary office, a plain conference room in the Bnai Zion building on East 39th Street.
Still reeling from the shocking deaths of their rabbi and his wife in a fierce house fire last Friday night, the congregants of Young Israel of Scarsdale this week were gathering photos and videos of the couple from their own family albums — taken at simchas and other gatherings — to share with the four Rubenstein children.
Following weeks of international Jewish-Catholic disputes over a controversial Good Friday prayer, Jewish and Catholic leaders in this country are looking for a good Friday, preceded by a good Thursday — days when Pope Benedict XVI has scheduled meetings with the Jewish community — to restore the improving tenor of interfaith dialogue.
Finally, a fund-raising idea that’s not half-baked.
Students from a small day school in western Massachusetts this week made a challah that will go on display at an agricultural festival, then enter the Guinness Book of World Records.
The “Challah of Fame” is 40 feet long and weighs 120 pounds.
A few Jews were hanging around Los Angeles’ City Hall, a can in their hands, asking for money the other day.
You’ll soon be able to see their appeal on TV.
Marlee Matlin, Jonathan Silverman and three other actors made their pitch as part of “Live Generously,” an advertising campaign coordinated by United Jewish Communities.
In Olympic years, some People of the Book become people of the backstroke, the clean-and-jerk, and the high hurdles.
The Games, Summer and Winter, serve as a showcase for the best athletes, Jewish and non-Jewish. From A (Ruth Abeles) to Z (Eli Zuckerman), names like Mark Spitz and Kerry Strug are in the record books as well as Jewish history texts.
Beginning with 10 medals won by Jewish athletes at the first modern Olympics in Athens in 1896, Jews have been a steady presence at the international competition.
Entering a Borough Park public school early Tuesday, David Tilis was emphatic about his pick for president.
“I’m Jewish, so it has to be [George W.] Bush,” said Tilis, 21, a mortgage broker en route to casting his vote for the Republican incumbent. “I don’t understand how any Jew could vote for [Sen. John] Kerry. Yasir Arafat is for him.”