religious freedom

House Passes Bill Protecting Circumcision, Ritual Slaughter As Religious Freedoms

05/20/2016 - 10:07

Washington — A bill unanimously approved by the U.S. House of Representatives would extend religious protections to advocates of circumcision and ritual slaughter as well as atheists, addressing what its sponsors describe as an increase in religious persecution in recent years.

An infant being carried before his circumcision at an Orthodox synagogue in Berlin in 2013. JTA

Faith Leaders Call For Religious Protections Ahead Of Gay Marriage Hearing

04/26/2015 - 20:00

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments on Tuesday (April 28) that could wind up legalizing gay marriage nationwide, dozens of Christian leaders have issued a call to civil authorities to preserve “the unique meaning of marriage in the law” — but also to “protect the rights of those with differing views of marriage.”

Obama Nominates Saperstein As Religious Freedom Ambassador

07/27/2014 - 20:00
Staff Writer

President Obama announced today that he will nominate Rabbi David Saperstein, longtime director and counsel of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, as the State Department’s Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom.

Six Women Detained For Wearing Prayer Shawls At Western Wall

11/14/2012 - 19:00


Six women were detained by Jerusalem police for wearing prayer shawls at the Western Wall as more than 100 women gathered there for the monthly Women of the Wall service.

The detainments Thursday, on the first day of the Hebrew month Kislev, follow the arrest at last month's service of Women of the Wall leader Anat Hoffman. Hoffman was not at Thursday’s service, as she was banned from the Wall for 30 days following her arrest on Oct. 17.

The detainments occurred before the service began as women were putting on their tallitot.

Religious Concerns: In Israel, Too

09/18/2012 - 20:00

Religious freedom is, naturally, of great concern to Jews everywhere. That is why there has been much consternation about a German regional court ruling in May that said circumcision of boys for religious reasons causes bodily harm and is unlawful. A rabbi in northern Bavaria was criminally charged for performing a brit milah as part of his duties.

Religious Freedom Has Limits, For Good Reason

08/20/2012 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

The recent Catholic manifesto for religious freedom, “Protecting Consciences” (, presents a view that seems hard to contest: “What we ask is nothing more than the right to follow our consciences as we live the life of our teachings.”  Yet, it cannot be that simple when one person’s conscience directs him to discriminate. Determining when our laws should tolerate religiously motivated discrimination is actually a nuanced question.

Michael J. Broyde

UPDATED: Maryland Teen Must Convince High School He Needs A Kippa

02/04/2012 - 19:00

 A Jewish student at a Maryland high school was asked to prove that he wore a head covering for religious reasons.

Caleb Tanenbaum, 17, was asked by the administration of Northwood High School in Silver Spring to provide a letter from a rabbi explaining that he was wearing his Rastafarian-style head covering for Jewish religious reasons. A school rule forbids all headwear, with the exception of students who verify that their headwear is religious in nature. Other students also have been asked for verification.

Battle Over Circumcision is Shaping Up in California

05/30/2011 - 20:00

SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) -- In November, San Franciscans will vote on a ballot measure that would outlaw circumcision on boys under the age of 18.

Although experts say it is highly unlikely the measure will pass -- very few state propositions pass, much less one this controversial -- the mere fact that it reached the ballot, and in such a major city, has caused much concern for Jews and their allies.

Rabbi Files Lawsuit Against D.C. Elections Board

05/30/2011 - 20:00

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- An Orthodox rabbi in Washington and two of his congregants have filed a class-action suit against the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics.

The complaint, filed May 27, claims that the board placed an unconstitutional burden on observant Jews by scheduling a special election on the last day of Passover this year.

S.F. Archbishop Raps Proposed Circumcision Ban

05/25/2011 - 20:00

(JTA) -- San Francisco’s Catholic archbishop expressed his opposition to a city ballot initiative that would ban circumcision for minors.

Archbishop George Niederauer condemned the initiative in a May 23 letter sent to the San Francisco Chronicle, his archdiocese’s newspaper reported.

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