From My Book Shelf To Yours

One of the perks of my job is receiving new books from publishers all over the world. Some of these books are wonderful; some (often self-published) are so bad they make me sad for the trees that gave their limbs to gratify the authors.

Here is a sampling of three very different books of note I’ve received lately and recommend (in no particular order):

Reconstructionist Bodies Set to Merge

02/21/2011 - 19:00

SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) -- The two organizational arms of the Reconstructionist movement are set to merge.

Following a year-and-a-half of negotiations, the boards of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation have voted to form one body that will be responsible for Reconstructionist Judaism in North America.

Reconstructionist leaders say the merger will permit better use of limited resources and allow the movement to focus more effectively on its main concerns: education, movement services and social justice.

Reform Leaders Push New Image of Strong, Growing Israel Movement

02/17/2011 - 19:00

SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) -- Rabbi Reuven Bar Ephraim of Switzerland says it’s sometimes a challenge for him to defend Israel when his own Reform movement is not recognized by Israel’s Orthodox-dominated Chief Rabbinate.

Is Jeter a Cheater?

02/17/2011 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Q - With baseball’s spring training underway, I’m reminded of an incident from last season. Derek Jeter, one of the few superstars from the past decade not implicated in baseball’s steroid sample, was caught on video pretending to be hit by a pitch.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Don’t Dismiss the Jewish Character of Cupid

02/13/2011 - 19:00

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. (JTA) -- What’s Jewish about Valentine’s Day?

The day was first released from the purview of the Catholic Church in 1969, when Pope Paul VI declared that Valentine’s Day was no longer a saint’s day for universal liturgical veneration on the Catholic calendar. This restored Valentine’s Day to its original state, a traditional mating day of birds -- and humans -- in the English folk calendar.

But Cupid isn’t exclusively a pagan symbol.

Why is Patrilineal Descent Not Catching On in Reform Worldwide?

02/12/2011 - 19:00

SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) -- For three decades now, the American Jewish Reform movement has considered as Jewish the child of a Jewish father and non-Jewish mother who is raised as a Jew.

But most Reform Jews in the rest of the world still do not accept “patrilineal descent.”

That makes the debate about “Who is a Jew” not just between the Orthodox-dominated Israeli Rabbinate and American Jewish liberal movements, but also between American Reform Judaism and most of the Diaspora.

The Evolving Religious World and Conservative Judaism's Challenge

02/10/2011 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

There is a great deal of talk swirling around about my movement- the Conservative movement- and its state of being. The lead article in this week’s print edition of The Jewish Week reports on a new strategic plan for the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, and the changes that it is intending to make in both its organizational structure and sphere of operations. The article implies- not too subtly- that the proposed changes reflect an organization, and a movement, in crisis.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Head, Heart, Gut: Your Internal Advisory Committee

02/02/2011 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

When it comes to country music, I am parve. You won't catch me downloading any Willie Nelson, Carrie Underwood or "Country" Hootie songs on iTunes, but I also didn't roll my eyes when my husband Michael happily happened upon our new minivan's XM radio station playing all C&W, all the time. Yes, when it comes to country music, y'all could say I'm parve.

Deborah Grayson Riegel

Snow Days, Facebook and Cheating

02/02/2011 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Q - I am a high school student. My math final was postponed because of a mid-day snow storm, but a friend of mine had taken the test earlier that day. That night while I was studying, I paused to take a peek at my Facebook news feed and saw that my friend had posted a page from the test. I didn't realize what it was at first so I looked at it. But when I realized what it was, I deleted it. I took the test the next day and did not say anything. I had studied hard and would have gotten those answers right anyway. Was I right to say nothing?

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Report from Davos: Where Are the Women?

02/02/2011 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

It has been hard not to notice that speaker after speaker here in Davos are men. Where are the women in these conversations?

This year, for the first time, the World Economic Forum introduced a gender quota that one in five delegates sent by strategic partners must be female. Women have never made up more than 17 percent of total attendees at the Forum. This is not surprising given that women hold less than 3 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions.

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz
Syndicate content