Paris - France’s newly elected chief rabbi has vowed to pursue a path of inclusiveness and restore the confidence of the country’s half a million Jewish community, badly shaken by anti-Semitic attacks and a recent scandal over religious divorce.
Editor's Note: Alexis Kasher, the current president of the Jewish Deaf Resource Center, recently shared her personal experiences and perspectives on inclusion for people who are deaf in the Jewish community at the Foundation for Jewish Camping conference. New Normal editor Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer interviewed Kashar about the conference.
NN: What is your experience of inclusion for people who are deaf in the Jewish community?
AK: I spent many years practicing civil rights and special education law. My practice focused on the civil and education rights of people who are deaf and hard of hearing or with disabilities. Laws are in place to protect their rights; however, enforcement is still an issue. It has been many years since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and various federal special education laws was passed but we still have a ways to go before we are at 100 percent compliance. The truth is, once we are at 100 percent compliance, we will have achieved universal design that will benefit everyone. For instance, imagine how strollers would get around without curb cuts and how we could watch the Super Bowl in a noisy public place without closed captioning. However, for the most part religious organizations are exempt from compliance with the ADA.
Editor’s Note: A shorter version of this essay was published in the Dec. 13 issue of The Jewish Week.
Nelson Mandela’s death evoked a worldwide outpouring of respect and love. Jewish leaders, from Netanyahu (Israel), to Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein (South Africa) to America, praised his greatness. Netanyahu called him “a freedom fighter who rejected any violence” and “a moral leader of the highest order.”
Only about 2 percent of the respondents to the New York Jewish Population Study are “Jewish by conversion.” Twice as many people — 5 percent of the study — describe themselves as “Jewish by personal choice.”
Not all of the time, perhaps not even most of the time, certainly not in the biblical era, and not in the pre-Holocaust European era either. Nevertheless, “unity” was the Eleventh Commandment, if ever there was one.
Orthodox births fuel population jump as numbers of poor rise; Reform, Conservative decrease. Where is the center?
Older, poorer, more Orthodox and more balkanized.
The findings of the first population survey of New York Jewry in a decade, confirming trends revealed years ago, show dramatic changes in a community that has grown larger, but significantly more polarized.
UJA-Federation faces steep challenge in light of new data.
Editor and Publisher
The new 10-year study of the Jewish population of New York presents a major challenge to UJA-Federation, which commissioned the survey, because the research indicates that our community is moving sharply in two opposite directions: very engaged Jewishly (but not necessarily communally) and decreasingly interested in Jewish life.
Rebecca Missel grew up mostly in Mesa, Ariz., a predominantly Mormon city with few Jews. But when she moved to Morristown, N.J., she was surprised to find she felt a more acute lack of connection with her community.
Young Families, Singles Flocking to Upper East Side; ‘The Memory Is In Their Taste Buds’: The Lure of Sephardic Food; Safra Synagogue Rabbi’s Growing Empire; Sephardic And Egalitarian at B’nai Jeshurun; Giving Voice to Sephardic Music.