Say It Ain't So, Joe

Staff Writer
Jewish leaders and political officials from both major parties are warning Democratic vice presidential hopeful Joseph Lieberman not to pursue his idea of a conciliatory meeting with Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan, an accused anti-Semite. Lieberman described Farrakhan last week as a respectable leader during an interview with American Urban Radio, an African-American network.

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Staff Writer
Two landmark theological documents were issued last week, one by leading Jewish thinkers and one by the Roman Catholic theologian. Besides timing, they couldn't be more different. The Jewish statement calls for Jews to re-evaluate their historic negative feelings about Christianity and affirm the shared roots of the two faiths. The Vatican statement declares the Roman Catholic Church is the only way to salvation, rejecting alternate paths. It advocates missionizing of non-Catholics. For Jewish interfaith leaders, it's all very troubling.

New Evidence Of A Jewish Decline

Staff Writer
Nearly two decades ago Barry Kosmin looked at the figures of a declining Jewish population in the United States and predicted that the numbers would continue to decline. His latest demographic study, released this week, proved him right. The percentage of Americans who identify their religion as Jewish fell to 1.2 percent, compared to nearly two percent in a comparable 1990 study, according to the American Religious Identification Study conducted by the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.

Funeral Deal To Lower Costs

Staff Writer
In an effort to provide New York Jews with access to more affordable traditional Jewish funerals, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (OU) has signed an agreement with Parkside Memorial Chapels to provide a package deal that could save its members up to $1,000 on the cost of a funeral. The agreement comes 18 months after state and city officials warned of rising Jewish funeral costs in the city because of a monopoly on Jewish funeral homes they charged was being pursued by a Houston-based international funeral services conglomerate.

Jewish Presence Strong At UN Summit

Staff Writer
Suddenly, it seemed as if there might be a billion Jews on the planet. How else to explain the comparatively large number of rabbis (many in high profile positions) at the first-ever gathering of 1,000 world religious leaders at the UN's General Assembly hall this week. In truth, Jews comprise two-tenths of 1 percent of the world population; there are 13.1 million Jews out of the 6 billion people on earth.

Judge Strikes Down State's Kosher Laws

Staff Writer
Declaring that New York State's kosher laws excessively entangle government with religion, a Brooklyn federal judge has struck down the 118-year-old statutes as unconstitutional. Orthodox kosher law advocates immediately said they would appeal the July 28 decision by U.S. Eastern District Court Judge Nina Gershon, who ruled in favor of a Commack, L.I., butcher whose 1996 lawsuit claimed that the state's kosher laws violated church-state separation.

Sound And Fury Over Jews For Jesus Ads

Staff Writer
WABC TalkRadio is giving Jews an earache. Despite numerous complaints, the popular AM radio station has refused to stop running an ad from the Jews for Jesus group that many Jewish leaders term offensive. As a result, hundreds of New York pulpit rabbis have been asked to encourage congregants to protest to WABC management.

Search For Missing Teens Expanding

Staff Writer
State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is checking into the 1973 disappearance of two missing Brooklyn teens following an appeal by friends and relatives who charge that New York City and Sullivan County police botched the case and misled them. In addition, the head of a state missing children's agency is expected to meet with family members to discuss what steps could be taken to help solve the 27-year-old mystery.

Missing Teens' Classmates Issue Plea

Staff Writer
It was 27 years ago when teen friends Larry Marion and Mitchel Weiser, classmates at Brooklyn's John Dewey High School, bought tickets to attend a major rock concert in upstate New York. But at the last minute, 16-year-old Larry's mother forbid him to travel to Watkins Glen to hear the Grateful Dead and others at 1973's Summer Jam festival. "She completely flipped out," recalls Larry, now a 43-year-old music memorabilia dealer.

YU's Challenge From Right

Staff Writer
Yeshiva University is facing an aggressive challenge to its standing as the primary facility where Orthodox high school boys can attend college while continuing intensive Jewish studies. In recent weeks, two rabbis and two professors have defected from YU's Washington Heights campus in Upper Manhattan to join the soon-to-be opened Lander College for Men, being built on seven acres in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens.
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