Religion

Extravagant Jewish Celebrations – Have We Gone Too Far?

07/09/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

$100,000 for a wedding? $20,000 for a bar mitzvah? When did extravagance and luxury become such primary Jewish values? I can’t remember the last simcha (Jewish celebration) I attended at which there were not tremendous amounts of wasted food, overly expensive napkins and bands large enough for a royal banquet.

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

Jewish Groups Oppose Holocaust Insurance Bill in Congress

07/09/2010

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Six Jewish organizations signed a letter calling on the U.S. Congress not to advance a bill that would reopen the Holocaust insurance assessment process.

The American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B'rith International, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, the World Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Restitution Organization condemned the Holocaust Insurance Accountability Act of 2010 in a recent letter to Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), chairman of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee.

Riverdale Synagogue Bomb Plot Case Carries High Stakes

Lawyers for Newburgh Four claim entrapment in incident cited as case in point for nonprofit security grants.

07/07/2010
Assistant Managing Editor

 When the trial of the so-called Newburgh Four, accused of a plotting to blow up two Riverdale synagogues, commences next month, it will be the first case of alleged anti-Jewish terrorism in a New York courtroom in more than 15 years.

NYPD officers patrol in front of Riverdale Temple, one of two Riverdale synagogues targeted in bomb plot. getty images

Elena Kagan, Eye Candy Mentality & Jewish Wisdom

07/07/2010
JInsider

The news surrounding Elena Kagan’s nomination has focused on more than her legal qualifications — her looks have caused a lot of buzz, too. Michael Savage, talk show commentator, said that Kagan “looks like she belongs in a kosher deli.” Another writer questioned, “Why do Janet Napolitano, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan all look like linebackers for the New York Jets?” JInsider wanted to get a Torah perspective on the relative importance of physical appearance from one of our favorite and most thoughtful rabbis, Rabbi Naomi Levy (www.nashuva.com).

Elena Kagan

Support Fellow Jews

07/06/2010

After reading The Jewish Week, I have come to the conclusion that this world has turned itself around. Liberal Jews criticize Israel and equate it with Nazi Germany while they support an enemy that is bent on Israel’s destruction. They criticize Israel for defending itself against an enemy that uses barbaric means to kill Jews, no matter how observant they are or what denomination they are from.

One Family, Two Faiths, A Multitude Of Questions

Interfaith marriages are hard enough, but a Jewish-Muslim family raising dual-identity children?

07/06/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Her father fled Nazi Germany before World War II, arriving in New York as a refugee; her grandparents and an aunt were murdered at Auschwitz; and another aunt, now 92, somehow survived two years of hiding in Berlin.

His grandfather built a life in India as a renowned Islamic and Persian scholar, a teacher and an imam at the local mosque, and his Muslim family continues to live in South Asia.

With two such markedly different backgrounds, the chances of Helene Lauffer and Muzaffar Chishti meeting, much less falling in love, could be seen as remote by many observers. 

Helene Lauffer and Muzaffar Chishti are hoping their daughter Maryam “examines both sides of her background and synthesizes them

Is Kagan’s Jewishness Being Used Against Her?

Her background surfaces even as Jewish groups mostly silent on wider nomination battle.

06/30/2010
Washington Correspondent

 A Jewish community divided over key constitutional questions is watching closely but mostly silently as a hyper-partisan Senate debates President Barack Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to succeed the retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens — and as hints that the nominee’s Jewishness is being used against her surface.

Elana Kagan

Young Israel Movement In Turmoil Over Upstate Shul

No-confidence vote in leadership sought after threat to expel Syracuse synagogue.

06/30/2010
Staff Writer

In the wake of an unprecedented move by the National Council of Young Israel to expel a member congregation in upstate Syracuse, a rebellion is brewing among some of the Orthodox congregations affiliated with the movement.

The challenge to the National Council surfaced during a conference call last Thursday with representatives of the organization’s nearly 150 member congregations.

The "Half-Jewish" Glass: Half-Full Or Half-Empty?

 Jews in All Hues, a new-ish “peer-led program that provides a safe space for people from interfaith families to explore their identities as mixed heritage Jews,” is holding a conference in San Francisco on Sunday, May 30.

I attended their conference last year in Philadelphia and came away with mixed feelings, a no doubt appropriate emotion for an event focusing on the state of being mixed!

What We Don’t Know About Jewish Views On Dating, And More

One of the most enlightening and disturbing articles on Jewish life that I’ve read in awhile appears in the Spring issue of Lilith, the Jewish feminist magazine, in which Rabbi Susan Schnur interviews her daughter and two other 20-something young women (rabbis’ daughters, each, and observant, to varying degrees).

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