One of the fun things about writing a blog is balancing the dueling pressure between Must Post Often and Must Say Something Compelling.
Generally I try to err on the Say Something Compelling, or At Least Moderately Interesting side. However, sometimes that, particularly when combined with competing demands on my time and brain, means being a completely delinquent blogger. For which, I apologize. I’m going to try to be a bit better in the coming weeks.
Turns out Ben Stiller was falsely playing the patrilineal card on “Saturday Night Live”: according to Wikipedia at least (sorry, I don’t have any connections with the Stiller family, so I can’t confirm at this moment) his mother, Anne Meara, converted to Judaism before he was born.
One of the great things about our high-tech world is that — by e-mailing files back and forth, scheduling everything on Google Calendar and relying almost solely on my cell phone — I can, fairly seamlessly, work from home three days a week.
Alas however, one thing Google cannot yet remedy for me is my tendency to leave reporter’s notebooks in the wrong places, to lose them altogether and to forget which bag and which notebook I was using when.
Which is why today, as I am at the Jewish Week’s Times Square headquarters (doesn’t that make us sound all impressive?) and am supposed to be blogging about last week’s Jewish Outreach Institute "Judaism 2030" conference, my notebook from said conference is at this moment lying on the floor of my home office. (A rather grandiose description of the tiny third bedroom in our apartment, where my IKEA desk, laptop and cheap all-in-one printer/scanner/copier compete for space with an exercise bike and stacks of yet-to-be sorted laundry.)
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.
I apologize for being such a delinquent blogger this past week. Part of it was being distracted by my reporting responsibilities (see my recent article on new Hebrew charter schools if you don’t believe me!)
But also I’ve been struck with something of a blogger’s block trying to decide whether and how to respond to my colleague Jonathan Mark’s “No, Not Everyone is Jewish Enough” post.
As we all know by now, this weekend’s tragic shooting rampage in Arizona has not only stirred up much partisan finger-pointing about inflammatory rhetoric but highlighted yet again the utter wackiness of our gun-crazy culture (hold your angry comments NRA supporters: I’m unabashedly liberal on gun control and see no reason any civilian, much less a schizophrenic, should have access to a semiautomatic rifle).
But the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who identifies as Jewish but is not Jewish according to the traditional “matrilineal descent” definition, is also shining a spotlight on the “who is a Jew” debate. Giffords, 40, is the daughter of a Jewish father and Christian Scientist mother who raised her in both traditions; according to JTA, for the past decade (following her first visit to Israel) she has identified exclusively as Jewish, and she belongs to a Reform congregation.
My younger daughter is named Sophie, and my husband never ceases to give me a hard time whenever we, as we frequently do, encounter another little Sophia/Sophie/Sofia.
“I warned you that you were condemning her to a lifetime of being known as Sophie M!” he says. His preference was “Sage,” but hey, I won the coin toss. (Yes, the hotly contested name was really determined by a coin toss — Ellie, then 2, did the honors!)