Reform

Where Occupy Wall Street Meets Sukkot

10/12/2011
Jewish Week Online Columnist

“When a person eats and drinks in celebration of a festival, he is obligated to feed converts, orphans, widows, and others who are destitute and poor. In contrast, a person who locks the gates of his courtyard and eats and drinks with his children and his wife, without feeding the poor and the embittered, is not indulging in rejoicing associated with a mitzvah, but rather the rejoicing of his gut … This rejoicing is a disgrace…” 

Rabbi Marci N. Bellows

Ben Stiller's Bona Fides

I’ve been corrected by fellow blogger, Rabbi Jason Miller.

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.

Tears in Heaven

Reflecting on the Murder of Leiby Kletzky

07/18/2011
Jewish Week Online Columnist

How can we even begin to process this? A beautiful 8 year-old boy, Leiby Kletzky, was simply on his way home from his local yeshiva day camp in Borough Park. He was to meet his mother at their appointed location, but failed to show up. A search was begun by law enforcement and members of the community, and all remained hopeful that Leiby would be found, safe and sound.

Rabbi Marci Bellows

Bulgarian Jewry's Patrilineal Prez

JTA, my onetime employer (I used to joke that they were going to call it the Jewish Associated Press, but the acronym was too problematic), has a fascinating article today about Alex Oscar, Bulgaria’s Jewish community president.

Oscar, 32, can’t be called to the Torah at any synagogue in his country, because his mother isn’t Jewish. 

A Few Words About Debbie Friedman

Yes, I know there is nothing explicitly “in the mix”-y about Debbie Friedman, but amid all the obituaries and tributes flooding in for the singer-songwriter, I’m feeling sad.

Not only about her untimely death before her 60th birthday (on a horrible weekend that also featured the horrific Arizona shooting), but also because I (and my daughters, who I think would have loved her) did not fully appreciate Friedman while she was alive and never had a chance to hear her perform.

For The Sin Of Not Fasting

In going through my litany of shortcomings each Yom Kippur, it’s generally hard to avoid a biggie: my failure to fast.

Now, before you dash off a comment about how, after intermarriage, I’m the single greatest threat to Jewish continuity, let it be known that I do not completely neglect the rites of Judaism’s holiest day. I do go to synagogue all day and, while I am not a hard-core “not one morsel of food or even a drop of water for 25 hours” type, I’m also not one of those people who spends Yom Kippur gorging on bacon and lobster while I sneer condescendingly at the primitive folks who are so stupid and superstitious as to believe in God.

Ack, Rosh HaShanah Is Only A Week Away!

Oy va voy, the High Holidays are a week away and I still don’t have plans! (And, while I haven't lost my mezuzah, I still have to put it up.)

Well, I have tentative plans, but no tickets or reservations, as of yet. That may change tomorrow night, after I go to an open house at the Reform temple I’ve been pretty sure, but not 100 percent sure, I want to join.

Sneak Peek: My Page 1 Article/Column On Co-Officiation (And Chelsea, Of Course)

A ketubah behind them, the bride and groom stood under a chupah with a rabbi, listened to friends recite the Sheva Brachot — and at the end of the ceremony, the tallit-wearing groom stepped on a glass.

But Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky’s long-awaited wedding Saturday night was not your average Jewish ceremony.

That’s not just because the parents held aloft on chairs at the reception included a former U.S. president, the current U.S. secretary of state and two former members of Congress.

And it wasn’t only because the ceremony occurred before Shabbat’s end. It was also because Rabbi James Ponet (pronounced Po-NET), Hebrew Union College-ordained and the longtime director of Yale University’s Slifka Center for Jewish Life, co-officiated alongside Rev. William Shillady, a Methodist minister.

Even as the number of liberal rabbis willing to preside at weddings of Jews to gentiles appears to be growing, co-officiation with clergy of another faith, while hardly unheard of, remains taboo.

Giving Campers a Sporting Chance

Thanks for foundation grants, summer experience for future Jewish athletes is on deck for June debut.

10/13/2009
Editorial Intern

With an emphasis on intensive sports and Jewish values, a new camp is hoping to draw scores of budding athletes from across the country next summer.
June 2010 will mark the inaugural season of the 6 Points Sports Academy, held on the facilities of the American Hebrew Academy in Greensboro, N.C. The camp will be the 13th member of the network of camps run by the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ).

Athletes have the use of the American Hebrew Academy's breathtaking facilities.
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