News

Lag b’Omer High In Israel

05/11/2007
Staff Writer
The mountaintop city of Meron, in northern Israel, is the country’s second-highest spot, but for one day each spring it is the highest in religious passion. On Lag b’Omer, the 33rd day of the period between Passover and Shavuot, an estimated quarter-million people, from secular to haredi, ascend to the open grounds of the city that becomes Israel’s answer to the Kentucky Derby or the Indianapolis 500 — an annual Woodstock that attracts families instead of hippies. Pilgrims and tourists come days in advance, arriving by car and bus and van.

Conservative, Reform To Train Together

05/04/2007
Staff Writer
For the first time, rabbinical students at the leading American Reform and Conservative seminaries soon will be studying together in a formal program stressing the interfaith aspects of Jewish life they will encounter in their pulpits.

Jewish Support For Va. Tech

05/04/2007
Staff Writer
In the days following the mass murder on the Virginia Tech campus last month, the school’s Hillel chapter joined Blacksburg Jewry and the wider university population in addressing students’ immediate physical and spiritual needs. Hillel sponsored a series of well-attended events, including nightly dinners and an end-of-semester picnic. Now, with many emotionally shaken students leaving the campus for the summer, the focus is on the long-term psychological health of students and Blacksburg residents.

Passover, Samaritan Style

05/04/2007
Staff Writer
Mount Gerizim, in the northern West Bank halfway between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, holds a special place in Jewish tradition. It was the site where half of the biblical tribes were commanded to pronounce the blessings upon the Children of Israel after Joshua led them into the Promised Land. In Samaritan tradition, Mount Gerizim holds the highest position of honor.

Mourning Online

04/27/2007
Staff Writer
A few dozen friends of an elderly Jewish woman who died in February were not able to come to her funeral service at the Plaza Jewish Community Chapel on the Upper West Side, but they joined the mourners, virtually, via the Internet. In cities across the United States and Europe, were the first people to take part in a new service: funerals carried live, or archived, on the Internet’s broadcasting, aka “streaming,” technology.

Remembering The Six Million

04/20/2007
Staff Writer
On Monday time stood still in Israel. For two minutes the sirens sounded, traffic stopped, and heads were bowed in memory of the Six Million martyrs of the Holocaust. Every year Yom HaShoah is marked by public displays of mourning and private recollections of loved ones who perished in occupied Europe. The theme of Yom HaShoah this year was “bearing witness,” a recognition of the diminishing numbers of Holocaust survivors. About 250,000 of them live in Israel, and 10 percent of that group dies each year.

At Home, Again, In Timisoara

04/13/2007
Staff Writer
Timisoara, Romania — Among the nearly 200 Jews who attended the pair of seders in the Jewish community building here last week were members of the local community, a visiting family of Israelis and one man with New York City roots. Rafael Schwartz lived in Brooklyn and New Jersey for nearly 20 years.
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