She writes: “When a species adapts, it gives up a small portion of its DNA, usually only about 5 percent. However, giving up the DNA that is hindering adaptation and survival not only gets rid of what is getting in the way, but also makes room for new DNA that can survive in the changing reality.”
As Jews, we don’t have many light-hearted holidays, but this week we’ll celebrate one of them, Tu B’Av. Casually known as the Jewish Valentine’s day, Tu B’Av is the counterbalance to the most difficult of all our holidays, Tisha B’Av. While we fast and remember all of our hardships and trials during Tisha B’Av, this week we will engage in mirth, and celebrate love and joy. Many will wed, and according to Jewish lore many will meet their matches on Tu B’Av.
When it comes to Jewish population studies, we are conditioned to expect reports of doom and gloom. Assimilation and intermarriage among non-Orthodox Jews have been unstoppable facts of life in the American melting pot. Given its secular bent, the Russian-American Jewish community seems like an unlikely place to look for good news on the Jewish continuity front. But as I read through the latest New York Jewish population study, sponsored by UJA-Federation of New York, the numbers seemed to just pop off the page.
One strong memory of new motherhood was heading down Broadway for a stroller nap or snapping one of the girls into a Snuggli carrier, and dropping in on a group in the chapel of Ansche Chesed. New moms and a couple of brave dads donned decent socks, took off our shoes and sat around the edge of a big mat. We plopped our babies down in front of us; rolled them around or fed them, and asked the questions new parents ask.
On Jan. 20, 2009 our 4-year-old daughter forced my husband and me to retrofit spectacles of prejudice.
What do I mean by that? That was the day on which Barack Obama was sworn into office, and as my husband and I watched the festivities unfold on television, Evie could not stop asking why so many people, especially those of color, were crying. She pushed, “Why are they sad, Mommy?” “Isn’t this a happy day? They get to see the president.”
My grandmother died in 1995 after a long battle with breast cancer. In all of the years of her illness, I cannot recall her using the word "cancer." She spoke of being "sick", "weak", "unwell", and she asked me, on her deathbed, to remember her.
It was a tough week on the news ticker for parents. First came the heinous attack on an Israeli tour bus in Bulgaria, followed only days later by the incomprehensible tragedy in Colorado. Questions of how to talk to our children about these headlines have weighed heavily ever since.
Perhaps spurred by the trial over Michael Jackson’s death, there has been increasing concern over what is being called a painkiller epidemic. A Los Angeles Times found that deaths from prescription pain medication far surpass those from heroin and cocaine combined. An estimated 50 million Americans live with chronic physical pain, and countless more are facing emotional distress. Many of them are people are doing all they can to deaden their torment, and their doctors are obliging.
How Jewish anti-Israel activists are gaining influence among Christian groups.
Yitzak Santis and Gerald M. Steinberg
Special To The Jewish Week
At the Pittsburgh General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) earlier this month, a motion to adopt a boycott of three companies for doing business with Israel was hotly debated and narrowly defeated. At this Christian gathering, a group of “young Jewish activists” provided important “testimony” supporting the motion to isolate and demonize Israel.
Quick, what’s the fastest growing part of the Jewish community, or at least the New York metro area’s Jewish community? Orthodox? They’re growing, but not the fastest. Conservative? Nah. Reform? Not anymore. Reconstructionist? Nope.
According to the recently released study of the NY Jewish community, the group that has doubled its share of the community, growing from just 15% to a whopping 37% is [drum roll, please]…OTHER. That’s right, “other”. [Source: Jewish Community Study of New York, page 121].