Judaism

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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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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Houston imams and rabbis unite for a common goal – peace

June 10, 2021

As clashes continue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Middle East, Houston imams and rabbis unite for a common goal — peace.

Together, these faith leaders recently issued a statement, signed by 23 imams and 28 rabbis.

The statement began: “For the past decade, we Imams and Rabbis in the Greater Houston area have found common ground on several issues that have impacted our respective communities and the Houston community at large.

Source: ...

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She’s Running for New York City Council. But Newspapers Won’t Publish Her Photo.

June 9, 2021

In all but one way, Amber Adler is running a pretty normal campaign for New York city council. She knocks on doors and attends rallies; she campaigns outside of grocery stores and subway stations; she puts posters up across her district and places ads in local newspapers.

But look for a picture of her face in one of those local papers, and you’re not likely to find one. Why not? Because most of the magazines and newspapers in her neighborhood refuse to publish her photo.

Source: ...

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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.

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'Don't ban us for being Jewish': Jewish TikTok creators say they feel silenced by the platform

June 13, 2021

Since early May, every Friday evening, Julia Massey said, she gets the same notification from TikTok: She's been banned from posting for a week.

Massey, 19, of California, a Jewish creator on the app, said that she could be posting a video of herself baking a loaf of challah or a clip of her cat but tat the outcome is always the same.

"It just repeats and repeats until I'm basically entirely incapable of interacting whatsoever on the app," she said. Massey consistently uploads videos to her account, but she said it's been a fight to get those videos to stay up....

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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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‘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.  

Source:...

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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.

Source: ...

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A Black and Jewish Bible scholar will lead Reconstructionist rabbinical school, in a first for American Jewish movements

June 18, 2021

(JTA) — The Reconstructionist movement has chosen a Jew of color to lead its rabbinical college, a first for a major American Jewish movement.

Hebrew Bible scholar Amanda Beckenstein Mbuvi, who is Black, will lead the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College outside of Philadelphia, the movement’s umbrella organization Reconstructing Judaism announced this week. She will become vice president of academic affairs, the school’s highest post, and report to Reconstructing Judaism CEO Rabbi Deborah Waxman.

Source: ...

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Religious institutions step up to help after Surfside tragedy, special mass to be held Friday

June 25, 2021

SURFSIDE, Fla. – The South Florida community is eager to help the victims of Thursday’s condominium collapse in Surfside, including religious institutions.

Local 10 News has learned that many people who lived in the Chaplain Towers South building regularly attended temple at The Shul of Bal Harbour.

And just four blocks away from the collapse, donations are pouring in to The Shul Jewish Community cCCenter.

Source: ...

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EEOC Condemns Antisemitism in Unanimous Resolution

May 27, 2021

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has unanimously approved a resolution condemning the recent violence, harassment, and acts of bias against Jewish individuals in the United States, the agency announced today. The resolution reaffirms the Commission’s commitment to combat all forms of harassment and discrimination against members of the Jewish community, and to ensure equal opportunity, inclusion, and dignity for all in the workplace.

“Hatred, bigotry, and antisemitism violate our nation’s core principles and impact all of us,” said EEOC...

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Jewish groups condemn Arizona's potential use of gas executions

June 14, 2021

Janice Friebaum can trace family members who were murdered at the Nazi death camp of Treblinka — two grandparents, three great-grandparents, aunts, uncles and countless cousins — among the millions of Jews killed in gas chambers during the Holocaust.

The politicization of the Holocaust amid the coronavirus pandemic has only undermined the barbarity inflicted on the victims of genocide, she said, adding that Americans may become "desensitized by false analogies" like equating mass murder with mask-wearing mandates.

But when she learned her home state of Arizona...

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