Judaism

A New Act For The Old Bar Mitzvah

Storahtelling’s Amichai Lau-Lavie is out to revolutionize the
ceremony in emerging partnership with families, synagogues.

06/02/2010
Associate Editor

Arguably one of the most memorable scenes in last year’s Oscar-nominated “A Serious Man” is the bar mitzvah, when Danny Gopnik does his Torah and Haftorah portions while visibly stoned, having smoked prodigious amounts of pot in the Hebrew school bathroom. 

So accustomed are they to tuning out the foreign chanting from the bima that his parents and the other congregants in the soulless 1960s Midwestern temple don’t even seem to notice anything amiss.

Storahtelling ceremonies aim to be creative and engaging, with humor, music, drama and costumes. Photo by Lisa Kimmell

The Ethics Of Invitations

06/01/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

Responding to invitations causes both excitement and anxiety. What if I do not show up? Will it be held against me? Do I have to invite them because they invited me? Will they believe my excuse?

The French writer Jean Cocteau solved the problem with a telegram: “Regret cannot come. Lie to follow.”

Helping Ethiopian Women

06/01/2010

It is gratifying to read about Yifat Ovadia’s initiative, Olim B’Yachad(“Finding Jobs, And Hope, For Ethiopian Gen-Xers,” Feb. 26).

 The marginalization of any member of Israel’s society is anathema to Jewish core values, and although there exist any number of interventional programs that serve the Ethiopian Israeli community, almost none address the huge cultural chasm that prevents these young people from achieving the same success as other Israelis.

Halachic Process Dynamic

06/01/2010

Kudos to Rabbi Shai Held on his insightful Opinion piece, “Halacha and Innovation Not Mutually Exclusive,” (May 28).

Parade Observations

06/01/2010

Having watched the Israel Day Parade on May 23, I concur with your observation that it was primarily an Orthodox event (“Israel Parade: Missing In Action,” Editorial, May 28).

Making Judaism Joyful

06/01/2010
Editorial

Peter Beinart, the New Bad Boy of the American Jewish establishment for his essay on how the younger generation is becoming disenfranchised from Israel, acknowledged in an interview with The Jewish Week the other day that he was, in fact, describing part of a larger concern — namely a decreasing attachment to Judaism in general.

“That’s a fair charge,” said the former editor of The New Republic, who describes himself as a liberal Zionist, and belongs with his family to an Orthodox synagogue in Washington, D.C.

Bergen County’s Thriving Yeshiva

While many New York-area day schools are in crisis, Yeshivat Noam —
blessed with a growing Modern Orthodox community and energetic faculty — is riding high.

06/01/2010
Editorial Intern

When Yeshivat Noam first opened its doors in 2001, it was the kindergarten students — the upperclassmen, so to speak — who ran through the building, checking that every door had a mezuzah.

“We like to refer to them as our pioneers,” said Rabbi Chaim Hagler, principal of the Modern Orthodox school located in Bergen County. “They’ve kind of been eighth graders now for nine years.”

Second graders listen to a unit on bugs and their habitats.

Thirteen And A Few Days

Shaare Tikvah honors the more than 40 women who have had adult bat mitzvah ceremonies this year.

06/01/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Surrounded by proud family members and supportive friends, the b’nei mitzvah who came to the bima at Scarsdale’s Shaarei Tikvah synagogue during three recent Shabbat services chanted Haftorah, read from the Torah, led Shacharit services and delivered commentary on the week’s Torah portion.

Unlike the young women who usually celebrate this rite of passage milestone at this Conservative congregation, the 40-plus women who participated in these ceremonies did so under the doting gaze of husbands, children and even grandchildren.

Members of the Shaarei Tikvah Women’s study group. The synagogue will honor them on Sunday.

New Zealand Bans Shechita

05/28/2010
JTA

SYDNEY (JTA) – New Zealand has banned shechita, the kosher slaughter of animals.

The country’s new animal welfare code, which took effect Friday, mandates that all animals for commercial consumption be stunned prior to slaughter to ensure they are treated “humanely and in accordance with good practice and scientific knowledge.”

The regulation has shocked the Jewish community.

Of Learning and Teaching

05/28/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

I spent the past week at the annual convention of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international organization of Conservative rabbis. This year, it was held at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, the academy from which the overwhelming percentage of RA members were graduated and ordained.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik
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