MIX

In Which We Devote Far Too Much Space To Analyzing A Really Strange Essay

I don’t know how Elizabeth Cohen’s bizarre and disturbing piece in Tablet about a group of intermarried Jewish women who “gather for Shabbat but pack away their identities” escaped my notice, but thanks to InterfaithFamily.com’s Ed Case for directing my attention to it.

There is something kind of odd and overwrought about the essay, which, to judge by the comments it’s attracting, some readers are interpreting as a cautionary tale about the perils of intermarriage.

One Family, Two Faiths, A Multitude Of Questions

Interfaith marriages are hard enough, but a Jewish-Muslim family raising dual-identity children?

07/06/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Her father fled Nazi Germany before World War II, arriving in New York as a refugee; her grandparents and an aunt were murdered at Auschwitz; and another aunt, now 92, somehow survived two years of hiding in Berlin.

His grandfather built a life in India as a renowned Islamic and Persian scholar, a teacher and an imam at the local mosque, and his Muslim family continues to live in South Asia.

With two such markedly different backgrounds, the chances of Helene Lauffer and Muzaffar Chishti meeting, much less falling in love, could be seen as remote by many observers. 

Helene Lauffer and Muzaffar Chishti are hoping their daughter Maryam “examines both sides of her background and synthesizes them

The "Half-Jewish" Glass: Half-Full Or Half-Empty?

 Jews in All Hues, a new-ish “peer-led program that provides a safe space for people from interfaith families to explore their identities as mixed heritage Jews,” is holding a conference in San Francisco on Sunday, May 30.

I attended their conference last year in Philadelphia and came away with mixed feelings, a no doubt appropriate emotion for an event focusing on the state of being mixed!

When Intermarriage Happens To 'Good' Parents

Undoubtedly the two most vexing theological questions are the issues of bad things happening to good people and free will versus destiny.
While most of us are all too aware of the randomness and injustice in the world, we nonetheless are quick to credit ourselves for our good fortune and blame ourselves (and others) for bad fortune.

Fundamentalists are especially good at this little exercise. 9/11? God’s punishment for permissiveness and homosexuality. The Holocaust? A punishment for assimilation and Reform Judaism. Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War? Divine intervention.

Gag Rule For Gentiles

Interfaithfamily.com has published a very disturbing personal essay by a mom who wasn’t allowed to speak from the bima at her daughter’s bat mitzvah.

The essay by Debbie Burton doesn’t say how long ago the incident occurred, but the gag rule for gentiles remains in place at her Chicago congregation, which she describes as an independent lay-led minyan that relies on “Conservative legal opinions.” (To learn more about independent minyanim, which vary tremendously in their overall outlooks as well as their approaches toward interfaith families, read my colleague Rivka Oppenheim's excellent recent article or go to the Mechon Hadar Web site.)

At Sixth Street, Jew vs. Jew

05/04/2010

In the fight for control at the Sixth Street Community Synagogue, Round One has gone to new members who say they’re trying to rejuvenate the Orthodox East Village shul.

State Supreme Court judge rules in favor of new members, for now, in their battle against old-timers at East Village shul.

Seeing Beyond the Immediate in the Synagogue

04/30/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

Of the many things that I admire my wife for, one (surely not the most significant) is her ability to walk into an empty room in a house and imagine how it might or ought to look with furniture and everything else that makes up a room. The couch can go there, the rocker there, that painting over there… it’s this remarkable ability to see beyond what presents right now and have an image of what it might be.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

In the Mix: Religion And A House Divided

04/28/2010
Associate Editor

My parents’ divorce, a month before I entered first grade, was undoubtedly the great trauma of my life.
 
I say this not to make them feel guilty or even to argue against divorce; had they stayed together, their unhappy marriage would likely have caused just as much, if not more, misery for all involved.

Minyans, Synagogues In New Dynamic

Once at odds, the two groups now seen reinforcing each other.

04/27/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

His students have left, and Steven Exler is taking a moment to reflect. He’s just finished his session, presented to representatives of independent prayer minyanim, on how to comfort mourners. It’s a pastoral role that Exler, associate rabbi at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, has performed countless times.

Now, he wonders what’s next.

“There’s sort of a moment of fear,” said Exler, 29. “Am I teaching people to make myself obsolete? I struggle with that question.”

Hadar’s Elie Kaunfer: Cross-fertilization with synagogues.

Brotherly Love, From NYU To Israel

Alpha Epsilon Pi, first launched here, opens Israel’s first-ever college fraternity in Herzliya.

07/03/2009
Staff Writer

In what has become perhaps the most Americanized region in all of Israel, the sunny seaside city of Herzliya just landed a classic American import that it probably never expected: the Jewish state’s first-ever college fraternity.
 

The ‘Aleph’ chapter: The new AEPi-ers at the Interdisciplinary Center of Herzliya.
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