Blogs

From Nachlaot To New York

Rav Raz Hartman is usually found in a crowded shul in Jerusalem’s Nachlaot neighborhood, reached by a steep staircase. His shul fuses music and mysticism, attracting Jews across the denominational and sartorial spectrum. A Jerusalem hipster may be swaying next to someone dressed in a flowing white robe.

Rav Raz Hartman at Mechon Hadar. Courtesy of Mechon Hadar

Movements Join Together At Yachad Shabbaton

Young adults with disabilities do not often get to enjoy Shabbat on a college campus with peers, but that's exactly what happened in early February when five Ramah campers, and four staff members, reunited at Brandeis for a Shabbaton.

What made the get-together even more special was that they were joining a large gorup of Yachad members and advisors for the annual New England Yachad Shabbaton. Yachad is a program of the Orthodox Union, members of all Jewish denominations are embraced and have the opportunity to engage with Judaism in their own ways.

Brandeis Shabbaton

Purim Resources

Editors Note: Gateways in Boston offers programs and services to children with special needs and educational challenges in Greater Boston's Jewish day schools, congregational and community supplemental schools and Jewish preschools, as well as Gateways’ own Sunday school, B'nei Mitzvah preparation program and teen youth group. They also share free, downloadable resources. Here we are highlighting their Purim resources for children with special learning needs.

Cakes and Miracles: a beautiful story about a boy who is blind, and an amazingly talented baker. Via matankids.org

Winds Of War Or Just Hot Air?

The Russian seizure of the Crimea may be one of the most serious international crises in years and should stimulate serious foreign policy debate in Washington.

Instead, there's just more of same old political posturing and partisan bickering as both the President and his critics are fumbling around looking clueless.

Vayikra: Parenting And 'Perfection'

After Moses anoints the Tent of Appointed Meeting and the Priests who will officiate there, God speaks to him:

Explain to the sons of Israel the ways of bringing offerings to God. There will be offerings of animals and grains and fruit. Animals for sacrifice shall be male and without blemish. These animals shall be killed and washed and burned so each shall smoke on the altar in the Tent of Appointed Meeting. This will be for an ascent offering, an offering made by fire in expression of compliance to God and to make atonement before God.

When A Paranormal Romance Meets Holocaust Literature

Just when you think every possible angle of the Holocaust has been explored in literature, ad infinitum, along comes “The Color of Light” (Stony Creek Press) by Helen Maryles Shankman, a tale of art school, the Holocaust, and yes—vampires.

Via helenmarylesshankman.com

The Death Of The Synagogue Newsletter; Long Live The Synagogue Newsletter

As anyone who has ever donated to a nonprofit organization or synagogue knows, every donated dollar counts and some count more than others. While every organization needs support for overhead costs, donors want to know the organizations they support are as efficient as possible and put as much money as possible toward the direct pursuit of their mission. So we wonder how much of that $18 donation to your favorite local organization or congregation goes into a card thanking you, or whoever you have honored with your gift.

A screenshot of the weekly newsletter from Adat Shalom Synagogue in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Courtesy of Rabbi Jason Miller

AIPAC: Where Are The Sign Language And Captions?

Today, when Prime Minister Netanyahu gave a vital speech in front of 14,000 people at AIPAC on the threat of Iran and the need for a successful lasting and secure peace, there was no sign language interpreter or live captioning offered. There were more than 40 massive screens around the room showing the speech – yet not one of them enabled someone with a hearing impairment to follow the program.

At AIPAC, speakers showed up on huge screens but none offered captions for the hearing impaired. Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi

Jews: Canaries In Russia's Coalmine

"Treatment of Jews and the status of Jews in Russia has often been a barometer for judging Russian rulers," Princeton politics professor Stephen Cohen said Sunday, and " [Vladimir] Putin has been better for Jews in Israel than any Russian leader in history. If you want evidence of that, just ask Israel."

Speaking on Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN, Cohen said "of all the autocrats who have ruled Russia over the last 400 years, Putin is the least authoritarian," with the possible exception of Boris Yeltsin and Mikhail Gorbachev.

AIPAC's Dog And Pony Show

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual policy conference going on at the Washington Convention Center is the best dog and pony show in town, replete with a variety of interesting breakout groups, intelligent speakers, training sessions for activists, hasbarah, hands-on lobbying for the rank and file and the star power of meeting a glad-handing herd of pandering politicians.

Syndicate content