Judaism

U.S. seizes Jewish funeral scrolls, manuscripts thought 'lost for all time' in Holocaust

July 22, 2021

The Justice Department on Thursday announced the seizure of 17 funeral scrolls, manuscripts and community records that were looted from Eastern European Jewish communities annihilated in the Holocaust more than three-quarters of a century ago.

The artifacts were found through a New York City auction house that offered them for sale, the Justice Department said in a statement.

According to an affidavit in the case, "until they were recently discovered as being offered for sale at the Auction, the Manuscripts and Scrolls were believed to have been lost for all time...

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The Changing Faces of American Rabbis

July 22, 2021

When famous artists like Chagall depict rabbis, they are painted as bearded men, often hunched over ancient texts or wrapped in their prayer shawls. When depicted in film, a rabbi is almost always shown as a saintly older man, most often with a European accent, with Hollywood representations almost exclusively always showing rabbis as men. This stereotype is so common that American Sign Language’s word for “Jew” borrows from this imagery, showing the mimicking of running one’s fingers through beard hair.

In contrast to these traditional rabbinic images, Rabba Sara Hurwitz—who...

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Jewish group condemns United Church of Christ resolution on Israel, Palestinians

July 19, 2021

(RNS) — A Jewish advocacy group has condemned a resolution adopted at a meeting of the United Church of Christ on Sunday (July 18) that calls the continued oppression of the Palestinian people a “sin.”

The American Jewish Committee denounced the UCC resolution, a “Declaration for a Just Peace Between Palestine and Israel,” saying the measure “demonizes Israel, fails to offer a credible path to Israeli-Palestinian peace, and undermines advances in Christian-Jewish relations.”

The condemnation is the latest skirmish between Jewish advocacy groups and liberal...

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Denominations have begun creating special prayers for fatal mass shootings

July 16, 2021

When there are mass shootings, like this week in Chicago, or the previous week in Toledo — or, really, any week in this country — Episcopal Bishop Scott Hayashi thinks of that split second in a Tacoma record store decades ago. The beat when he turned toward a man with a gun to ask, “What did you say?” and saw his own 19-year-old face in the man’s mirrored shades before his body hit the floor.

Hayashi spent two months in the ICU and almost died after being shot in the stomach during the robbery. He now advocates with a group of other U.S. Episcopal bishops on the issue of gun...

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Game changer: How mahjong helped Jewish and Asian Americans overcome racism

July 13, 2021

(RNS) — A century ago, marginalized Americans seeking to be assimilated into the country’s “melting pot” gravitated to an Asian game of chance that one Chinese critic considered to be as morally dangerous as footbinding and opium.

Today, a new book on mahjong and its cultural journey in the U.S. suggests that there is much to learn from the game’s history, particularly how to put the rising anti-Asian and anti-Jewish hatred of our time in context. 

Mahjong was born in mid- to late-19th-century Chinese gambling houses, where men clacked its game tiles, bearing...

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New York Pitcher Becomes First Known Practicing Orthodox Jew Drafted Into MLB

July 12, 2021

Jacob Steinmetz's blazing fastball helped make him a baseball draft trailblazer.

The New York native is believed to be the first known practicing Orthodox Jewish player to be selected by a major league team, going in the third round — 77th overall — to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Steinmetz, from the Long Island hamlet of Woodmere, is a 17-year-old right-hander whose repertoire features a fastball that sits in the mid- to upper-90s and a knee-buckling curveball. His draft stock rose considerably while playing for the Elev8 Baseball...

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School start date on Rosh Hashanah riles Jewish community in Bristol and Warren, Rhode Island

July 12, 2021

PROVIDENCE — To Jewish people like Adam Greenman, Rosh Hashanah is a time to reflect, to think about the past year and the year to come.

In some Rhode Island towns, though, the new year holiday in the Jewish faith has become the source of controversy, consternation and, potentially, litigation. That’s because some school districts in Rhode Island are planning to start school during Rosh Hashanah, and in the case of the Bristol Warren Regional School District, refusing to budge despite outcry in the local Jewish community.

Source: ...

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Boston Jews rally together after streak of attacks in the area

July 6, 2021

BOSTON (JTA) – Days after a series of violent acts stunned Greater Boston and threatened its Jewish community, residents are jolted but resolute, vowing to continue taking pride in their Jewish identity.  

The latest incident occurred on Thursday, when Chabad Rabbi Shlomo Noginski was stabbed eight times outside of Shaloh House, a Jewish school and synagogue in Brighton, where he teaches. 

Less than a week prior, on June 26, in Winthrop, a seaside town just north of Boston, a white supremacist who harbored virulent racist and antisemitic views murdered Air...

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Rabbi stabbed near school; suspect in custody

July 2, 2021

BOSTON (AP) — A rabbi stabbed near a Jewish day school in Boston is recovering in the hospital and a suspect has been charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, authorities said.

Rabbi Shlomo Noginski is in “stable condition and in good spirits” after being stabbed several times in the arm, Rabbi Dan Rodkin, executive director of Shaloh House, posted on Facebook. The injuries are not considered life-threatening, according to police.

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‘No Jew,left behind’: Rabbi Sholom Lipskar of Surfside, Florida, on his synagogue’s response

June 30, 2021

(RNS) — The Shul of Bal Harbour is less than a mile from the Champlain Towers condo building that partially collapsed last week in Surfside, Florida. And the residents of the building — not only the Jewish ones — almost certainly had come in contact with the bustling Chabad-Lubavitch congregation on Collins Avenue.

The synagogue, which takes up nearly an entire city block, is led by entrepreneurial Rabbi Sholom Lipskar, now 74. He founded it 40 years ago and is largely credited with its outsize stature in the beachside community.  

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