Supreme Court ruling sets off anxiety about lost funding, limits on free speech and labels of bigotry.
The Supreme Court decision affirming same-sex marriage as a constitutional right set off celebrations across the country, not least among Jews, many of whose Facebook photos – like the White House itself – were soon overlaid with the multi-hued stripes associated with gay rights. But while it was widely reported that Orthodox Jews continued to oppose the legal redefinition of marriage, what was less reported was how fearful the Orthodox are. Not so much from the redefinition of brides and grooms but from the redefinition of bigotry and traditional religion.
Washington – The name that keeps coming up when Orthodox Jewish groups consider the consequences of last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision extending same-sex marriage rights to all states has little to do with Jews or gays.
In Israel, federations walk a fine line to support religious freedom without opposing Chief Rabbinate.
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The Jewish Federations of North America, or JFNA, may soon launch an effort that would include supporting groups in Israel working to limit or end Orthodox control of personal-status issues such as marriage, divorce, conversion and burial, The Jewish Week has learned.
Godly people strive to understand each other; good people can differ out of pure motives.
Throughout the Middle Ages, Jews and Christians were consumed by hateful polemics about each other. They fought theological duels that sometimes led to deadly Christian violence against our ancestors. Christians no longer pose any existential threat to Jews, yet the penchant for hateful language has continued, particularly in my Orthodox community. Much of this venom is directed against ourselves in fraternal battles that are turning as lethal as the medieval Jewish-Christian warfare. Today the traditional fear and vilification of gentiles has been transferred to other Orthodox Jews with whom we disagree.
The movement tries both to preserve rabbinic authority and allow for intellectual freedom and the expression of diverse viewpoints.
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Thankfully, the recent controversy at Yeshiva University over a rabbinical student who had held a private “partnership minyan” in his home has been resolved satisfactorily, and hopefully without harm either to the student or to the critically important institution that he attends. Cooler heads, fortunately, have prevailed. Yet the fact of the controversy itself raises broader questions concerning the future directions of Modern Orthodoxy and its role within the American Jewish community.
The holidays are over. Through the fasting and food, the succession of pageant, discomfort, reconciliation and exultation, a single moment continues to stands out. Every year for more than 30 years I have found the Yom Kippur afternoon service Torah reading unnerving — and this year I did not.