JERUSALEM (JTA) -- A Knesset committee approved a bill to protect Israeli soldiers who have converted to Judaism through military conversion courts from having their conversions annulled.
The Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs on Sunday approved the bill, initiated by lawmaker David Rotem of the Yisrael Beiteinu Party. The bill, if passed, would force all state agencies, including rabbinic courts and the chief city rabbis and other Orthodox marriage registrars, to accept the converts as Jews.
The dramatic highlight of a debate held Saturday night in Toronto on “The Changing Role of Women in Judaism” – really, Modern Orthodox Judaism -- came when Rahel Berkovits, a Talmud scholar in Israel, tearfully recounted the utter failure of her efforts to engage several leading Israeli rabbinic authorities in discussing with her halachic issues of female participation in wedding ceremonies and other rituals.
(JTA) -- New York is about to lose its last two state kosher inspectors.
The state's Department of Agriculture and Markets will eliminate the jobs as part of a statewide effort to achieve $250 million in work force savings, according to the Times Union in Albany. The department once had 11 kosher inspectors.
Explaining its decision to lay off the final two inspectors, the department told reporters that the jobs have become obsolete since a 2004 change in the state’s kosher law prevented state inspectors from enforcing Orthodox standards of kashrut.
One of the enduring images of Hurricane Katrina for the Jewish community of New Orleans, and well beyond, was of a kipah-wearing rescue worker, in waist-high water, carrying one of seven Torahs out of the sanctuary of the century-old Orthodox congregation, Beth Israel.
The Torahs did not make it; water-logged beyond repair, they ultimately were buried in the synagogue’s cemetery, along with 3,000 prayer books.
The tectonic plates of power underneath the nation’s capital are radically shifting in the wake of the 2010 midterm elections. Everyone in Washington — from the White House to industry associations to public interest groups and more — is still assessing the fate of the issues they care about in light of the new lay of the land, and the Jewish community is no exception. The good news is, for many of the issues that we care about, the shift from one-party rule to divided government offers opportunities, albeit with challenges, too.
To be a Jewish musician is easy, says Matthew Lazar, but to be a Jew and a musician is sometimes difficult
Nevertheless he has overcome many hurdles over the years as he guided the world-renowned coeducational Zamir Chorale as its director and conductor — in an age when modern Orthodox Jewish sensibilities shifted fundamentally to the right.
Zamir Chorale was founded by Stanley Sperber in 1960. He made aliya in 1972 and passed the baton to Lazar.
Is the debate inside the Jewish world over Israeli and U.S. policy in the Middle East increasingly about religion and the bitter question of “who is a Jew?”
Talk about asking the obvious.
Yet this escapes the notice of most commentators, who continue to see only political and ideological differences. And it's something Jewish leaders don't like to face up to because it eats at the heart of one of their most cherished self-deceptions – that Israel is the issue that unites a disunited Jewish community.
(JTA) -- The Orthodox Union issued a statement saying women may not lead Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat services if men are present.
Last week’s decision by the group's board of directors is the latest setback for Orthodox Jews seeking greater roles for women in worship ritual.
“With regard to the matter of a woman leading Kabbalat Shabbat services before an audience of men and women, the position of the Orthodox Union is that such practice is improper and constitutes an unacceptable breach of Jewish tradition," the board said.