Weather permitting, the Jews of New Orleans will participate in what has become a rare event on Rosh HaShanah this year — High Holy Day services in their own synagogues.
The last two years, the weather didn’t permit. Last year, it was Katrina. New Orleans evacuated on the eve of the High Holy Days. The year before, Ivan. Ditto.
This year, a Jewish community that has returned home in smaller numbers from points around the United States is preparing for the New Year with an eye on the weather forecast.
Still reeling from the shocking deaths of their rabbi and his wife in a fierce house fire last Friday night, the congregants of Young Israel of Scarsdale this week were gathering photos and videos of the couple from their own family albums — taken at simchas and other gatherings — to share with the four Rubenstein children.
In Florida she attended a Sunday morning church service, among more than 5,000 Christian worshippers, which featured rock music and strobe lights. In Texas she went to a Ten Commandments rally at the state house, where Evangelical Christians were urged to put God back into government. Back in Florida, in a soaring cathedral, with a Christian flag flying outside, she heard speakers laud the virtues of creationism.
Michelle Goldberg’s year of living Christianly was done for journalistic, not theological purposes.
A middle-aged school administrator in Los Angeles, Hershey Fellig has been battling kidney failure for five years. Feeling tired each day, he was following a strict diet, taking a regimen of pills, waiting for a kidney donor and praying that someone would call with good news. A year ago someone called. Lauren Finkelstein, a stranger from New York, told Fellig she’d help get him a donor.
For a forthcoming television documentary and DVD about contemporary anti-Semitism, New York producer Andrew Goldberg interviewed academicians, theologians and journalists on four continents. Many of the experts were Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East, because, as the documentary shows, that region is the source of most anti-Semitism today.
For another, less-intellectual, perspective, Goldberg also wanted a look at public opinion, the “Arab street.” So he went to an Arab street.
Arecord pledge by a Jewish multi-billionaire has raised the ante for other Jewish philanthropists in the United States, but the exact affect on Jewish communal life of Sheldon Adelson’s gift won’t be determined for several years, according to experts.
American Jews “do not support” pressure on Israel, says the ADL’s Abraham Foxman.
In what officials of the group were pitching as a statistical response to a recent survey of Jewish public opinion by the dovish J Street, the Anti-Defamation League this week released a poll showing significantly lower approval of President Barack Obama’s handling of Middle East issues and overwhelming support for Israel’s military operations in Gaza early this year.
Specter party switch leaves Senate with no Jewish Republicans
The Jewish Republican caucus in the U.S. Senate evaporated into thin air on Tuesday with Sen. Arlen Specter’s stunning announcement that he is switching parties because “the Republican Party has moved far to the right.”
That represents a huge boost for Senate Democrats, who were two votes short of a 60-vote “super majority” that would make it easier to end GOP filibusters, and for an Obama administration with an aggressive legislative agenda that has been slowed by Senate Republicans.
AIPAC’s relationship with the Obama administration hinges on the policies of Bibi Netanyahu
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which holds its annual policy conference in Washington next week, could face its toughest battle with an administration in more than a decade, depending on the proposals Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu brings to Washington later in May.
Troubled conservative moment beefs up its Washington presence
Even as leaders of a troubled Conservative movement try to fend off an incipient rebellion by some synagogues and deal with declining affiliation, they are accelerating their efforts to create an active, visible — but cautious — Washington presence.