Judaism

Boise High grad brings community together to counter local Baptist pastor

June 28, 2022

Lizzy Duke-Moe, a Boise High School graduate who is attending Brown University in the fall, was spurred into action last week to counter a local Baptist pastor who called for the death of all gay people.

Duke-Moe said in an email that her mom, Keely Duke, and stepmom, Sarah Seidl are married — “they got married in Idaho,” Duke-Moe said, and her mother had shown her an article about the pastor’s sermons. “And...

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LGBTQ youth of faith retell their stories to inspire others

June 27, 2022

Sabrina Hodak grew up in a Modern Jewish Orthodox family but only truly embraced Judaism at age 16, around the same time she understood she was bisexual.

It was an upsetting and confusing time, because the same religious mentors who helped her strengthen her beliefs kept saying her sexuality would conflict with her faith.

“That was very frustrating, because I also knew that a lot of other religious people believed that,” said Hodak, now a 19-year-old psychology major at Florida International University. In her journal, she kept asking, “Can I please just find...

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Is Intermarriage Good for the Jews?

June 23, 2022

In 1990, American Jews decided they had no future.

That was the year the National Jewish Population Survey—then the most comprehensive study of American Jewry ever undertaken—revealed that more than half of America’s Jews, 52%, were intermarried. Though the report itself was even-keeled in its analysis, the reaction among many Jews veered toward panic.

Intermarried couples weren’t raising their...

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Judge Orders Yeshiva University to Recognize LGBTQ Student Group

June 15, 2022

Yeshiva University (YU) will now be required to formally recognize an LGBTQ student group following a Tuesday ruling by a New York state judge.

Judge Lynn Kotler of the New York County Supreme Court determined that despite the private university’s “proud and rich Jewish heritage,” it is not a religious organization. Therefore,  the institution is subject to the New York Human Rights Law, which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Kotler ordered the school to provide the club, known as the YU Pride Alliance, with “full and equal accommodations,...

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Synagogue challenges Florida abortion law over religion

June 14, 2022

A new Florida law prohibiting abortion after 15 weeks with some exceptions violates religious freedom rights of Jews in addition to the state constitution’s privacy protections, a synagogue claims in a lawsuit.

The lawsuit filed by the Congregation L’Dor Va-Dor of Boynton Beach contends the law that takes effect July 1 violates Jewish teachings, which state abortion “is required if necessary to protect the health, mental or physical well-being of the woman” and for other reasons.

“As such, the act prohibits Jewish women from practicing their faith free of government...

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Conservative rabbis approve new language for nonbinary Jews

June 8, 2022

Each Saturday, several members of a Jewish congregation are called up to the podium to bless the Torah before a portion of it is read aloud. This calling forward, called an aliyah, is considered an honor.

But the pronouns used to summon people in Hebrew are gendered. What’s a congregational leader to do when summoning a nonbinary person who identifies as neither exclusively male nor exclusively female?

Now the Conservative movement has formalized a series of Hebrew terms service leaders can use to call nonbinary people to Torah honors. The opinion by the...

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Religious leaders, community members come together after Chabad House fire

May 23, 2022

Religious leaders, elected officials among others attended a ceremony at the Jewish Community Center on Sunday to show unity after a fire destroyed the Chabad of Kentucky back in April.

On April 23, firefighters were called around 4 a.m. to respond to the headquarters for Chabad of Kentucky in Almara Circle after a grease fire broke out, spokesperson for the Saint Matthews Fire Department Rick Tonini said.

Firefighters were able...

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A Jewish leader is not 'just a man with a beard' women rabbis tell NYC Mayor Adams

May 19, 2022

New York City Mayor Eric Adams met with 55 women rabbis and cantors Thursday in what one of the rabbis called a “productive and respectful” discussion on issues that included combating antisemitism, climate change, homelessness, closing Rikers Island, healthcare, affordable housing and more.

The clergy sought the meeting earlier this week out of concern that the Orthodox Jews Adams regularly consults don’t represent the...

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How Black people and Jews are bound together in 'great replacement' theory

May 16, 2022

The man authorities say opened fire in a Buffalo grocery store Saturday (May 14), killing 10 mostly Black shoppers, was an avowed white supremacist. But his agenda went far beyond Blacks.

In the 180-page manifesto posted online two days before he carried out his attack, the 18-year-old gunman wrote that he chose the Tops Friendly Market on Buffalo’s east side because it is in an area with many Black residents. Eleven of the 13 people shot there were Black, law enforcement officials said.

Blacks, wrote Payton Gendron, come from a culture that sought to “ethnically...

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Baltimore's oldest Reform temples celebrate merger with installations, festival of Jewish thought

May 10, 2022

It has been an agonizingly long time since the members of Baltimore’s two oldest Reform Jewish temples have been able to worship as well and as fully as they’d like.

Membership at Har Sinai Congregation and Temple Oheb Shalom dwindled for years, and with it their prospects for long-term survival. They considered merging five years ago, then talks moved forward in fits and starts. They united legally, then a pandemic hit.

Now the members of the nation’s “newest and oldest Reform congregation,” as its leadership team is calling it, are poised to celebrate their union...

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Jewish, Muslim groups voice concerns over Musk Twitter takeover

April 28, 2022

Muslim and Jewish organizations are expressing concern about billionaire Elon Musk’s impending ownership of Twitter, warning that the aerospace tycoon could roll back moderation policies and unleash a new wave of harassment against religious minorities often targeted on the platform.

“It strikes me as deeply troubling and potentially dangerous that two people — Musk and (Facebook co-founder) Mark Zuckerberg — essentially control the public square,” Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement. “That seems like a sad day for democracy.”

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Group reports record tally of antisemitic incidents in 2021

April 26, 2022

A Jewish civil rights organization’s annual tally of antisemitic incidents in the U.S. reached a record high last year, with a surge that coincided with an 11-day war between Israel and the Hamas militant group, according to a report released Tuesday.

The Anti-Defamation League counted 2,717 antisemitic incidents of assault, harassment and vandalism in 2021, a 34% increase over the previous year and the highest number since the New York...

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Bringing the Torah's 'Sabbath of the land' to Jewish American farmers

April 22, 2022

When Jodi Kushins founded Over the Fence Urban Farm, a cooperative agricultural project that takes up her backyard in Columbus, Ohio, she considered it a “relatively secular endeavor.”

It wasn’t until 2018 that she started thinking of herself as a Jewish farmer.

Even then, her agricultural conversion was more a matter of getting better results than a spiritual breakthrough. As her yields diminished over time, she said, “I thought back to Hebrew school, and remembered something about the fact that every seven years we were supposed to let the land rest, and I could...

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Inflation drives up Passover food prices for US Jews

April 21, 2022

Shopping for Passover on a recent day at a kosher supermarket in the Hasidic Jewish section of Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, Moshe Werzberger worried about how inflation is driving up prices during one of the most important holidays for Jews.

“It affects us very much,” said the 23-year-old, who recently canceled plans to vacation in Florida with his wife and 2-year-old son because of skyrocketing prices. Inflation has become a main topic of debate for worshippers at his synagogue and also in his extended family...

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