Since its release just a few short weeks ago, the Pew Research Center’s survey and report on the state of American Judaism has stimulated an almost frantic conversation on where we are as a Jewish community, and where we might be headed.
After the drama of the High Holy Days, we have returned to the beginning of the Torah. Early on, in chapter 19, we meet a character who has much to teach us, although she is with us only a short time: Lot’s wife. She is almost anonymous; her reactions to being told to leave her home in Sodom are not shared. We know only that she turns around to look behind her at the city they are escaping, and turns into a pillar of salt for all eternity.
Unless you’ve been living overseas, or under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the rare coincidence this autumn of Thanksgiving and Chanukah, and of creative ideas to celebrate it — sweet potato latkes; donuts filled with cranberry jelly or pumpkin cream; and, of course, “Menurkeys,” ceramic turkeys whose feathers hold Chanukah candles (the brainchild of our friend’s 9-year-old son, Asher Weintraub).
When Roger Bennett offered 54 accomplished young writers and artists a chance to comment on a portion of the Torah, each of them “leaped at the opportunity, like Michelangelo painting the Sistine chapel.” It all began at a networking event for Reboot, a Jewish outreach organization Bennett co-founded in 2002.
Hillel Neuer, director of UN Watch, tries to hold the UN to its own charter and to fight anti-Israel bias.
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Hillel Neuer is the executive director of UN Watch, which last month celebrated its 20th anniversary as a human rights NGO (non-governmental organization) at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.
We’ve seen him around, that salt-and-pepper-haired, 40-something Paul Newman lookalike. At the center of a Jewish young professionals’ event, he’s surrounded by a bevy of dark-haired women. He’s charismatic. He’s successful. He takes the time to kibitz with everyone who approaches him.