Jewish life

Why is Patrilineal Descent Not Catching On in Reform Worldwide?

02/13/2011
JTA

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

02/11/2011
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

Gay Orthodox Shabbaton Was Like ‘Heaven’

For those on the margins, a new sense of belonging at first-ever event.

02/08/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

Usually, when Adam goes to shul, he feels like part of him is just not there. In the black-hat synagogue he attends with his children, he feels that he’s always guarding the secret that he’s gay.

Although he grew up in the haredi community and attended its institutions, he no longer feels comfortable in that world, even as his children are very much integrated into the community. While he has come out to his ex-wife, his children still don’t know.

Ely Winkler and Sheldon Bruck mark Havdalah at the Eshel Shabbaton.

Embrace Brotherhood, But Beware Of The Brotherhood

02/08/2011
Editor and Publisher

Show a Jew a silver lining, the old saying goes, and he looks for the cloud.

Or, more immediately, show Israelis scenes of Cairo, where tens of thousands are protesting each day for their freedom and human rights, and rather than exalt, Jerusalem worries that the result will be not be a new age of democracy next door but a takeover by radical Islamists determined to end Egypt’s peace treaty with the Jewish state, and worse.

Gary Rosenblatt

Hebrew Immersion At Bergen County Charter School

Kids will spend just a quarter of day speaking English, with no translation during math, science and history classes, organizers say.

02/08/2011
Staff Writer

The educational philosophy behind the new Shalom Academy Charter School, which is set to open this fall in the Englewood-Teaneck, N.J., area, came into sharper view for the first time this week.

At the school’s first informational session, held Monday night at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, founder Raphael Bachrach shared Shalom Academy’s mission: “to graduate students that are proficient in the Hebrew language.”

A So-Called ‘Lost’ Jewish Family

02/08/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

Almost eight years ago I traveled to Israel for the first time on a Birthright Israel trip through Hillel. Recently I returned with my husband, brother and uncle to visit my sister, who is spending the year there on a Young Judaea Year Course. At first glance this hardly sounds different from the experiences of any other Jewish professional.

But my siblings and I are the products of a typical American Jewish narrative: attractive Italian Catholic pianist from Brooklyn meets disengaged Jewish rocker from Yonkers. They fall in love, get married, and have a family.

Superbowl XLV: Which team is Good for the Jews?

Being in the business of writing about what's good for the Jews – which, more often than not, means actually writing about what people think is bad for the Jews – it's only natural for me to take a look at Sunday’s Super Bowl in Dallas, a critical national event rich with meaning for every American.

I mean, if an event featuring a bunch of giants pounding the stuffing out of each other to the accompaniment of million-dollar TV ads that are treated as major cultural events doesn't define our national character, what does?

Head, Heart, Gut: Your Internal Advisory Committee

02/03/2011
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

02/03/2011
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?

02/03/2011
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
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