Jewish, Beyond Belief: Why Behavior Matters

Jewish Week Online Columnist
As a native New Yorker, I know that my hometown is famous for many things, ranging from bagels to Broadway. But earlier this summer, our city made national news for a novel, awesome phenomenon:
Deborah Grayson Riegel

When Work And Religion Collide

Staff Writer

Two religious accommodation cases last week that involved Orthodox Jews — a prospective Sabbath-observant employee of a New York-based consulting firm, and a chasidic Jew whose beard threatens to keep him out of the New York Police Department — are part of an ongoing tug of war between employers and religious workers, says the veteran lawyer who has advocated on behalf of Shabbat-observant Jews for more than four decades.

NYPD recruit Fishel Litzman, left, and attorney Nathan Lewin.

What’s The ‘Jewish’ In Jewish State?

The impossibly thorny issues of religion, state and identity, and the role American Jews can play.
Special To The Jewish Week

I could begin by saying the image in our own ad says it all. Some of you saw it — a New Israel Fund ad that ran last month featuring a photo of a poster in Jerusalem, defaced by ultra-Orthodox extremists because it featured a woman’s face.

Daniel Sokatch

Separation Anxiety

Secularites grouse about how ‘black’ the country is becoming, but issues of religion and state in Israel may not be as divisive as they seem.
Special To The Jewish Week

Jerusalem — The separation of religion and state, be it ever so beleaguered, remains a fundamental tenet of American democracy. In Israel, it’s quite the opposite. A Reform or Conservative rabbi, for example, cannot not perform a legally binding wedding in the State of Israel, whose Chief Rabbinate, dominated by ultra-Orthodox leaders, has hegemony over Jewish marriage, divorce and conversion.

Tensions between Jews of different stripes hit a high point in Beit Shemesh. Ynet News

Religion Seen Less A Factor In 2012 Vote

Panel of analysts say observance level more of an indicator than denomination.
Editor and Publisher

Religion will play less of a role in the 2012 presidential vote than it has in recent elections, three leading political analysts agreed this week, with the economy far outweighing other voter concerns.

Discussing “Religion and the 2012 Election” at a well-attended forum sponsored and hosted by Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women on Monday evening, the panelists spent little time discussing the heavy religious infusion from Republican candidates in the primaries and focused on the next six months of the campaign.

Are You There God? It’s Us, The Jews

Can religion, especially Judaism, work if you don’t believe in the Big Guy upstairs?
Staff Writer

The latest turn in the New Atheist debates can be summed up like this: even if you don’t believe in God, religion still has a lot to offer. Public intellectuals like Alain de Botton and James Gray in Britain, and scientists like E.O. Wilson and Jonathan Haidt in America, all of them atheists, have made a similar case in their recent books and essays.

Photo Credit: Daniel Addison

Religion and Social Media

With about a billion users between Facebook and Twitter alone, more topics than just Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga are being discussed on social media networks today. Religion is certainly one of them.

More users report using social media for religious purposes

Is Judaism A Religion Or A Culture?

Conference on Moses Mendelssohn, new book fuel debate on thorny issues of faith, identity.
Special To The Jewish Week

The case for a new, fuller understanding of what defines Judaism.

As any Jew knows, trying to define what it means to be Jewish is difficult, if not impossible. Yet still we try: over the past two decades, the number of American Jews who define themselves as secular has nearly doubled; in Israel, a country founded on secular and nationalistic notions of Judaism, the religious population has risen dramatically. Fifty-eight percent of Israeli Jews now consider themselves either traditional or religious, while just 42 percent say they’re secular.

Leora Batnitzky

Thank you, Glenn Beck, for Clarifying my Job Description

Special to the Jewish Week

It's not often that I want to give thanks to Glenn Beck. But, recently, he really made my life a lot easier. Truly, I'm so glad that Glenn Beck has helped me figure out who I am as a Reform Rabbi.

Rabbi Marci N. Bellows
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