Jazz music drifts from speakers down to the cherry wood tables of the West Cafe in Williamsburg as the Israeli artist Nurit Bar-Shai prepares to show examples of her latest work. With deft, freckled hands, she opens a manila envelope and slides three petri dishes across the table.
One floated a trial balloon earlier this year: that the Conservative movement consider accepting converts, then teaching them, turning the usual chronology on its head. A second said he’d like to bring “literature, music and the visual arts,” along with worship and study, into the life of his synagogue. And a third, by the very nature of her background — Korean and Jewish — is breaking boundaries.
For almost a month, Rabbi Phyllis Sommer of Am Shalom Synagogue near Chicago has known that her 8-year-old son Sammy will die. So right after Thanksgiving, she decided to join a group of her colleagues who have signed up to shave their heads in solidarity with “Superman Sam,” as he has been known since he was diagnosed with leukemia, and other children with...
There was good news this week for Israel from the United Nations of all places. Some of it was official, some not.
Israel received an invitation Monday to join the Western European and Others Group in Geneva effective Jan. 1. That paves the way for it to join the UN Human Rights Council it cut ties with in March 2012 to protest what it said was that group’s anti-Israel bias. The group had condemned Israel 46 times in its five-year history — far more than any other country in the world. (See Editorial on page 6.)