Judaism

Prom or Passover? Schools making progress on accommodating the diversity of Santa Cruz County

September 26, 2022

Debra Feldstein is a bit frustrated, and cautiously optimistic.

Since her older child started going to school 11 years ago, she’s been asking teachers, principals and administrators if they could consider not having picture day, school dances or crucial testing happen on important Jewish holidays, such as the Rosh Hashana New Year’s celebration happening this week.

“I have been fighting this battle every year for 11 years,” she told Lookout on Wednesday. Now, given new efforts to respond to such concerns by both the Santa Cruz County Office of Education and some...

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For the High Holidays in 2022, synagogues are getting back to normal--whatever that means

September 23, 2022

The kids are coming back inside for Rosh Hashanah services at Temple Shir Shalom, a Reform synagogue in suburban Detroit.

Last year, in a concession to COVID-19, the congregation held its family services on a football field. This year, the services will take place inside Shir Shalom’s West Bloomfield, Michigan building, where other changes are happening, too. Masks are recommended but no longer required, and a vaunted dessert reception is returning for the first time since 2019.

Two miles down Walnut Lake Road at Temple Israel, a slate of services has been tailored...

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Hasidic nonprofit brings shoes to greet asylum-seekers arriving in NYC from Texas

September 19, 2022

On any given day, the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan is crammed with commuters and tourists off to the office or to Broadway’s “The Lion King.” But since August, the world’s largest bus station has also welcomed thousands of asylum-seekers arriving on unscheduled buses from Texas.

“It’s like a little pop-up Ellis Island where people are meeting volunteers with clothes, shoes and socks and other items,” Alexander Rapaport, CEO of a Jewish nonprofit called Masbia (which in Hebrew means “to satiate”), told RNS in a...

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Poll: Jewish voters are highly motivated and concerned about American democracy

September 15, 2022

A national survey by the Jewish Electorate Institute finds that Jewish voters are highly motivated to go to the polls in November, with concerns over the future of democracy and abortion as the top issues driving their choices.

In keeping with decades-long patterns, the poll, based on online interviews with 800 Jewish...

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Blowing shofars, Jewish lawmakers, rabbis hold abortion rights 'sho-test'

September 14, 2022

Blowing shofars, traditional Jewish instruments made from a ram’s horn, a group of Jewish lawmakers, rabbis and activists proclaimed their support for abortion rights outside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday (Sept. 14), insisting that access to abortion is a Jewish value.

The event was one of many demonstrations dubbed “sho-tests” to convene across the country by the National Council of Jewish Women in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to overturn abortion rights and looking ahead to November’s midterm elections.

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Second gentleman meets with Jewish abortion rights activists at White House

September 13, 2022

Second gentleman Douglas Emhoff met with representatives from the National Council of Jewish Women at the White House on Monday (Sept. 12) to discuss abortion rights, with activists saying he agreed the topic is a matter of religious freedom for many American Jews.

Sheila Katz, head of the NCJW, called the roughly hourlong meeting she and members of her group convened with Emhoff “wonderfully inspiring.” She said the discussion focused primarily on various state-level battles over abortion access in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade earlier...

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New York set to force ultra-Orthodox schools to teach secular subjects

September 9, 2022

New York state officials on Friday proposed new rules that would require private schools to prove they are meeting state education standards, a long-awaited response to allegations that ultraconservative Jewish yeshivas are failing to deliver lessons in core subjects such as English, math and science.

Schools that refuse to comply could lose their designation for meeting the state’s compulsory...

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How faith groups helped pass the climate law

September 7, 2022

Hours into last month’s debate over one of the most significant pieces of climate legislation ever passed, Maryland’s senior senator turned his remarks to Jewish tradition.

Sen. Ben Cardin, who is Jewish, noted that discussion of the Inflation Reduction Act, with $369 billion in funding for climate and energy at stake, coincided with Tisha B’Av, a time of Jewish collective mourning over historic tragedies.

The Democrat’s comments stemmed from Dahlia Rockowitz, a leader for the group Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action, who had reached out to Cardin’s office over...

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Montana Jewish Project Succeeds in Buying Back Historic Helena Synagogue

September 1, 2022

The Jewish community of Helena, Montana, has officially reacquired Temple Emanu-El, 87 years after the original congregation closed its doors.

“We are thrilled to have succeeded in this monumental effort,” said Rebecca Stanfel of the Montana Jewish Project, which bought the property from the Helena Catholic Diocese.

Stanfel and Catholic Bishop Austin Vetter signed documents formalizing the acquisition in a ceremony outside the synagogue on August 19. A crowd of about 100 looked on. 

Source...

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