E-books became the dominant format for adult fiction in 2011 surpassing hardcover books and paperbacks according to the BookStats annual survey. We are increasingly choosing to read our novels, magazine, newspapers and even children’s books on e-readers and tablets. But is it permissible to do this on the one day of the week that Judaism commands us to unplug?
It seems that every significant study of the Jewish people is released while we read from the Book of Numbers, the book that derives its English name from the first official census of the Jewish people. It’s as if counting the Jewish people is imbedded in our DNA. That census, conducted 3,000-plus years ago, however, was much more limited in scope: Only men age 20 and older who are able to go to war (Numbers 1:3) were to be counted. From the Torah’s census of 603,550 Israelites of age for war, scholars estimate that the total population was in the 2.5 million range.
If you’ve spent any serious time in Israel and have traveled to its major cities, you will undoubtedly have noticed that virtually all of them have streets named after famous, deceased Zionist leaders and thinkers. There are countless boulevards, highways and avenues named after Herzl, Ahad-Ha’am, Ben-Gurion, Rothschild, Begin, Rabin, Ussishkin, Arlozorov… you get the picture.
In one week, decisions both liberal and traditional on 21st-century issues.
Ari L. Goldman
Special To The Jewish Week
Conservative rabbis reminded their constituents this week that, at least when it comes to texting on Shabbat, they can still be counted on to be conservative, with a small c.
It was a week that Conservative rabbis were welcomed by the Obama White House, which apparently still sees their votes in play (as opposed to the Reform and Orthodox who are firmly pro-Democratic or pro-Republican). And it was a week in which the rabbis issued guidelines on performing same-sex marriages (two rings and a modified marriage contract).
With Israel funding 16 liberal rabbis in ‘outlying’ areas, urban ones now petition for their share.
Jerusalem — If anyone were rooting for Miri Gold, one of the 16 non-Orthodox rabbis the Israeli government recognized last week as a community rabbi of an outlying area, it was Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman.
Like Rabbi Gold, who was the plaintiff in the Israel Religious Action Center’s (IRAC’s) High Court petition demanding salaries for rabbis in outlying communities, Rabbi Kelman is petitioning the court for recognition of non-Orthodox neighborhood rabbis in towns and cities.
A Conservative synagogue in Hackensack, N.J. was defaced by anti-Semitic vandals.
Swastikas and white supremacist symbols were painted on Temple Beth El late Tuesday night, the first night of Chanukah. An accusation that Jews caused the 9-11 attacks was also painted on the building, according to reports. The graffiti was discovered by a synagogue secretary on Wednesday morning.
Police reportedly believe that the vandals were the same as those that painted swastikas on a Reconstructionist temple in neighboring Maywood, N.J. last week.
(JTA) – The Conservative movement ordained its first openly gay rabbi during ceremonies at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.
Rachel Isaacs, 28, was ordained at JTS on May 19. She told the Forward that she began her rabbinical training at the Reform movement’s Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, but switched to the Conservative seminary after it began admitting openly gay and lesbian students in 2007.
Too many Conservative Jewish synagogues and institutions – the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism included – have forgotten the passion, the joy, and even the accessibility of Shavuot.
Rabbi Steven Wernick
Special to the Jewish Week
One of Judaism’s most profound ideas is the notion that each year at Shavuot each of us stands at Mount Sinai, poised to receive the Torah as if for the first time. The holiday, in other words, is an annual renewal of the relationship we Jews as a people experience with God through Torah.