Saturday, October 31, 2020


Sue Fishkoff


At Conservative rabbis’ confab, it’s not about the organization, but the future

Listening to Conservative rabbis talk about their movement is like witnessing an intervention. They talk of “saving” Conservative Judaism – and sometimes they blame the parents when things go wrong. “Reform rabbis speak positively about their movement and less positively about their synagogue, while Conservative rabbis speak positively about their synagogue and less positively about their movement,” said Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt of B’nai Tzedek in Potomac, Md., paraphrasing a refrain he says he has heard often from Reform and Conservative colleagues.

Secular Judaism keeps next generation in the fold

When Mark Neuman celebrated his bar mitzvah seven years ago at the Peretz Centre for Secular Jewish Culture in Vancouver, B.C., he didn’t read from Torah, wear a yarmulke or pronounce Hebrew blessings. He gave a talk on the psychology of Jewish humor.

Farming the Land, Torah in Hand

Naf Hanau lives in the Bronx, an odd choice for someone who calls himself a Jewish farmer.

The Rebbe’s army soldiers on

Chabad has become so ubiquitous that Jewish travelers around the world, no matter how far they stray, have come to expect a Shabbat meal, a holiday celebration and a warm welcome from one of these Chasidic couples, no questions asked. All that\'s required is a knock on the door.

SF cops probing death of Israel activist — body found in elevator shaft

Daniel Kliman\'s body was found Monday in a San Francisco building where he was taking Arabic classes. It had been at the bottom of the elevator shaft since Nov. 25, building manager Brad Bernheim told the San Francisco Chronicle. There were no classes held last week, and the elevator supposedly was closed for repairs.

Agriprocessors tries to clean up its act

Nearly three months after a federal raid and six weeks before the busy High Holidays season, a tour of Agriprocessors shows the company is attracting new workers and trying to clean up its act

New kosher cooking school steps up to the plate — and that’s not chopped liver!

Last week, the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts opened in the heavily Jewish neighborhood of Flatbush. The $4,500, six-week intensive course, run in cooperation with the continuing education department of Kingsborough Community College, is the only professional kosher cooking school in North America.

Under-40s reshape Jewish engagement, report finds

A new report lends muscle to certain aspects of the phenomenon, hinted at by Katznelson: Young Jews\' desire to be with other young Jews and their interest in creating their own Jewish experiences rather than signing up for long-standing programs.

After raid, kosher meat in short supply

This week, the production slow-down at the Agriprocessors plant in Postville, Iowa, finally hit the nation\'s kosher markets and, by extension, kosher consumers

S.F.’s new Contemporary Jewish Museum meshes art, ideas and architecture

\"We want people to ask questions -- what does \'contemporary\' mean?\" -- Connie Wolf, Executive Director, Contemporary Jewish Museum

Finding Judaism in the great outdoors

Two rabbis are helping Jews find a path to Judaism off the beaten track. Each has written a new guidebook to take along on that hike

Raid generates fears of shortages, boycott

Oy vey! A kosher meat shortage?

Student on track to become first black female rabbi

Alysa Stanton-Ogulnick isn\'t particularly interested in being a standard-bearer.

She\'s proud to be black, proud to be a woman and proud to be a 45-year-old single mother who raised her adopted child on her own.

Gender equity lags in Jewish organizations

It\'s been 45 years since the U.S. Congress passed the Equal Pay Act, making it illegal to pay men more than women for the same job.

A spiritual boost in Simi

Three-dozen rabbis and cantors are sitting in silent meditation in a sun-filled room at the Brandeis-Bardin Campus at American Jewish University in Simi Valley. They open their eyes and Rabbi Sheila Weinberg guides them in a mindfulness exercise.

Intermarriage reports urge understanding and openness

Three new scholarly reports on intermarriage argue for increasing Jewish educational opportunities, encouraging Jewish behaviors among both intermarried and inmarried Jews and opening the doors even further to intermarried couples and their children.

Jewish researchers dispute some Pew religion survey data

American Jews are adopting and discarding their Jewish identities with increasing rapidity in a country that is becoming less white and less Christian, according to a new study of religious affiliation in the United States.But just hours after the study\'s publication Monday, Jewish demographers already were disputing some of the findings on Jews, contending that the sample is too small to draw meaningful conclusions.

Ms. magazine’s ad rejection elicits strong response

The American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) is ramping up its protest against Ms. magazine\'s rejection of its pro-Israel advertisement. In a campaign launched Sunday, AJCongress urged people to write, call or e-mail the prominent feminist publication to \"register your complaint at their anti-Israel bias.\"

Program helps grandparents nurture interfaith grandkids

Bettina Kurowski is the chair of the 2008 fundraising campaign of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and active in her Conservative synagogue. She\'s also a grandmother of three young grandchildren. They give her great naches, or joy, she says, but she\'s also worried -- the children\'s father is not Jewish, the kids are being raised in an interfaith home and Kurowski, for all her Jewish involvement, is not sure what role she should play in passing on the Jewish heritage that is so dear to her.

Eco-kashrut supporters turn attention to kosher meat

On Thanksgiving, New Yorker Linda Lantos didn\'t have to compromise her Jewish or ecological values: She served free-range, organic, nongenetically engineered turkey that was also kosher. \"In the last few years, it\'s become important to me to find meat that\'s organic and kosher, and that\'s hard,\" said the 27-year-old chef and nutrition teacher, who has kept kosher since childhood.

Survey says Reform rabbis don’t know what members want

Leaders of Reform synagogues don\'t quite get their members, according to a new study by the movement. The study shows a marked disconnect between what the leaders think their members are looking for and what the members say they actually want.

Impact of Soviet Jewry drive still resonates in U.S. today

For many historians, the Soviet Jewry campaign represented the coming of age of the American Jewish community.

American Jewish youth alienated from Israel, study finds

Young American Jews are increasingly alienated from Israel, according to a report released last week.

‘Praying without paying’ becomes more common

As summer draws to a close, tens of thousands of unaffiliated American Jews begin the yearly hunt for affordable Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services, which fall this year on Sept. 12-14 and Sept. 21-22.

‘Half-Jews’ fight for acceptance

The Jewish world has a problem with the way Renee Kaplan defines herself: half-Jewish. Kaplan, a television producer in her mid-30s, is the daughter of a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother who was raised Jewish.

Conversion for those raised Jewish? Rabbis address unique obstacles for patrilineal converts

\"I was raised Jewish, was always told I was Jewish,\" said the 35-year-old, who did not want his real name printed. \"I went to Jewish camps, even had a bar mitzvah.\" But when Levine joined a Conservative congregation after his marriage, the rabbi told him that because his mother was not Jewish, he needed a legal conversion.

New congregations net results online

For dozens of new congregations and minyans, or prayer communities, like Ikar, the Internet is not just a faster, more convenient communication tool. It\'s a central organizing mechanism and community-building tool, filling the roles performed in more traditional synagogues by administrative staff, newsletters, membership committees, religious school, even rabbis.

Social justice moves to front of some congregational agendas

Beyond the tangible victories, those involved in this work say it has transformed their synagogues into communities where the people know and care about each other. In making the world a little better, they are making their congregations more warm, friendly and caring.

Renewal seeks consistency in its rabbinical training

Often derided or acclaimed as \"New Age Judaism,\" Renewal focuses on environmentalism and direct spiritual connection to the Divine. It\'s part of the burgeoning world of transdenominational Judaism -- the growing number of synagogues, rabbis and prayer groups that eschew affiliation with a Jewish stream.

Special-needs kids enjoy giant circle of friends

At least 300,000 American schoolchildren ages 4 to 17 have the developmental disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control. And the numbers are increasing every year. Loneliness is one of the worst problems facing children with developmental disabilities. Others avoid them, uncomfortable with the outbursts, unsure how to talk to them and unwilling to make the effort.Chabad\'s Friendship Circle is trying to break through that isolation by reaching out to children with developmental problems, as well as their families, and offering them a welcoming hand into the community.

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