by Debra Nussbaum Cohen |
In Richardson, Texas, they call it “Miriam’s seder.” “Hers Seder” is the term of art in Pennsylvania, at the American Jewish Congress gatherings. And in a diverse cross-section of neighborhoods, towns and cities, from the semi-suburbia of Hollis Hills, Queens, to the flatlands of Canton, Ohio, to the East Bay of San Francisco, to the deep South of Birmingham, Ala., the event is known simply as a women’s seder.
Sears Roebuck’s home product repair division will pay more than a half million dollars to settle religious accommodation complaints brought by Sabbath observant employees, state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer announced this week.
The settlement reached Monday requires the Illinois-based retail giant to provide back pay and legal fees to five plaintiffs; to pay $225,000 to the American Law Institute to create a training program on religious accommodation; and provide scholarships of about $12,000 for 10 Sabbath observers to attend New York technical schools.
Philadelphia — A project hailed as the “most exciting Jewish educational idea in a generation,” one that would mark a radical departure from the way young children are taught, was unveiled here this week by the chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary.
“If it works, it would effect a systemic change in the entire educational system,” said Rabbi Ismar Schorsch at the annual convention of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly.
Philadelphia — The government of Israel is on the verge of recognizing “the legitimate rights of Conservative Jews,” the movement’s president in Israel, Rabbi Ehud Bandel, revealed here this week.
The breakthrough would come over the right of Conservative Jews to hold religious services with mixed seating at the Western Wall, one of Judaism’s most sacred sites.
Most polls ranking campaign issues place aid to education near the top of voter concerns. And judging by a series of congressional votes, most Americans don’t seem to mind if Jewish schools get government funding, as well. Nevertheless, a Senate vote earlier this month, which would free up money for parents with children in day schools as well as public schools, has ignited a fierce debate in the Jewish community over whether this was a necessary gift or a Trojan horse.
Call it the showdown in Greensboro. When hundreds of Reform rabbis gather at the 111th annual meeting of the Central Conference of American Rabbis next week in North Carolina, they will continue an intense debate over whether to officially support performing gay marriages or similar commitment ceremonies.