Judaism

Rabbis’ perspectives vary when it comes to co-officiating at interfaith funerals

February 14, 2020

With the rise of interfaith marriage, it is no surprise that families are seeking ways to meld the traditions of various faiths. From weddings performed jointly by clergy representing different religions, to the December holiday mashup “Christmakkah,” cultures and customs are being blended in ways unimaginable a century ago.

Interfaith funerals, co-officiated by a rabbi and a non-Jewish clergy member, while not yet ubiquitous, now can also be added to that canon. 

Rabbi Chuck Diamond, spiritual leader of Pittsburgh’s Kehillah La La, recently co-officiated a...

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Rockland County’s Jews Have Complicated Relationships

February 10, 2020

 

Sometimes, when Katrina Hertzberg sees a visibly Jewish person in her neighborhood in Nyack, N.Y. — a woman wearing a wig, say, or a man in a black suit and hat — she thinks to herself, “Oh my God, are we next?”

She wonders whether her area of Rockland County, N.Y., is next to receive an influx of Hasidic neighbors, which she worries could mean lots of disruptive changes and new construction — housing, yeshivas, synagogues.

But then, Hertzberg, 74, who runs an after-school program, said, she remembers her own family’s Orthodox roots. “I transpose...

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Jerusalem of the South? The very Jewish history of this very Texan town

January 30, 2020

With its colorful Victorian houses, wide streets and palm trees, downtown Galveston, Texas is almost like Main Street at Disneyland.

Home to around 50,000 people, this barrier island off the Gulf Coast isn’t only a coveted vacation spot – and an occasional hurricane victim – but also a place where diversity thrives. The town once had a flourishing Jewish community too; almost every store was Jewish-owned, and the synagogues were full to capacity on the High Holy Days.

Today, after many of Galveston’s Jews moved to bigger metropolitan areas in Texas or as far afield...

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Judaism in Boston

One of the world’s oldest living traditions, Judaism traces its historical roots to the confederation of tribes living over 3,000 years ago in the land between Egypt and Mesopotamia. The five books of the Torah and the twenty-four books that compose the Hebrew Bible are central to the historical development of Judaism. The study and interpretation of the Torah continues to play a central role in Jewish life. Jewish immigration to the United States from Poland, Russia, and Germany during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries solidified Judaism’s place as one of the most prominent...

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West Ridge’s YMCA Debuts Women-Only Night To Help Religious Women Work Out

January 22, 2020

The West Ridge YMCA has started a new program that will allow the neighborhood’s community of religious women to more easily work out.

The High Ridge YMCA, 2424 W. Touhy Ave., has debuted “Women’s Night,” which restricts access to the fitness center to only women. The recurring event allows the Far North Side’s population of Muslim and Orthodox Jewish women to exercise without worrying about their dress.

Source: West Ridge’s YMCA...

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What ‘The Good Place’ says about Jewish ethics

January 8, 2020

Like many things in Judaism, notions of the afterlife can seem to be a jumble of competing interpretations.

There’s no consensus as to what the life-to-come may look like, but one suggestion of heaven is the yeshiva shel ma’ala — or the “yeshiva on high,” where the departed engage in endless Torah study. For some, this would truly be bliss: Time enough at last to review the questions and moral dilemmas that occupied their time on earth. Others, however, might find it a snooze or a moot point. After all, you’re in heaven — who needs to study the stuff that...

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‘Seeing our common humanity’: New Yorkers march against anti-Semitism

January 7, 2020

Aaron Steinberg is standing in the middle of Manhattan’s Foley Square, holding up a handmade sign that, for him, most clearly states the fundamental reason he and his family have come to stand shoulder to shoulder with around 25,000 others this Sunday morning.

“All humans were made in the image of God,” his sign’s taped-on words proclaim, a reference to the first chapter of Bereshit, or Genesis, in the first book of the Torah, which expresses both a bedrock theological principle in his faith as well as a basis for his civic ideals.

Source: ...

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As Jewish enclaves spring up around NYC, so does intolerance

January 3, 2020

For years, ultra-Orthodox Jewish families priced out of increasingly expensive Brooklyn neighborhoods have been turning to the suburbs, where they have taken advantage of open space and cheaper housing to establish modern-day versions of the European shtetls where their ancestors lived for centuries before the Holocaust.

The expansion of Hasidic communities in New York’s...

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The Monsey Attack Is a Turning Point for New York Jews

December 30, 2019
Saturday was the seventh night of Hanukkah, a holiday normally celebrated with singing and fried foods and the soft glow of lit menorahs. A gathering of Hasidic Jews at the home of a rabbi in Monsey, New York, instead turned into a nightmare when a man wielding a large knife rushed in and began attacking. Five people were reportedlystabbed and wounded. As of midday Sunday, according to law enforcement, two victims were still in the... Read more about The Monsey Attack Is a Turning Point for New York Jews

Is Judaism an ethnicity? A race? A nationality? Trump signs an order and provokes an identity crisis.

December 19, 2019

“People keep coming into my office asking to talk about it,” Jewish educator Jordyn Barry said as she stood in a Barnes & Noble at Tysons Corner Center wearing a menorah on her sweater and a light-up Hanukkah hat.

They want to discuss a question that’s both new and as old as Abraham: What is Judaism anyway?

...
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How ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ fights Jewish stereotypes

December 6, 2019

Today, the third season of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” begins. Over the past two seasons, the show has charmed viewers, bowled over by the plucky, rosy-cheeked and gorgeous Midge, who delivers both withering and naughty punchlines with panache, all while wearing elegant and delectable late-1950s haute couture.

The show may be a recent phenomenon, but the lead character attempts to navigate two caricatures of...

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In rural Pennsylvania, shrinking synagogues find strength in smaller numbers

November 18, 2019
A rusty black pickup truck with a whitetail deer sticker in the back window sat parked, illegally, on the sidewalk outside the Sons of Israel synagogue on a Friday night. No one was around to complain. The plain brick building is wedged between typical, four-squared Pennsylvania homes, still decorated for Halloween in this rural Clearfield County town that lost nearly half its population over the last century.
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In the sacred stillness of Arlington National Cemetery

November 11, 2019
While many Americans perceive Veterans Day as just another holiday that features special sales at countless shopping malls, that is not my view of November 11th. It has always been a solemn season of remembrance. Last week my wife, Marcia, and my nephew Andrew Rudin visited Arlington National Cemetery, where my father and mother are buried. We were there to visit my parents’ grave and to recite the traditional kaddish, the Jewish prayer that is said in memory of a deceased loved one. Source: ... Read more about In the sacred stillness of Arlington National Cemetery

Here’s The Best Of #Jewish TikTok

November 7, 2019
It took me just five minutes of TikTok streaming to come upon a video of a teenager dressed as “Harry Potter” spinoff character Newt Scamander doing American Sign Language over a recording of comedian John Mulaney riffing on Jewish women. Further down the page — an eye-rolling girl gave a tour of her parents’ mezuza collection, a boy in a hoodie reenacted the ancient conquests of Jerusalem with reality TV dialogue, and a girl and her mom... Read more about Here’s The Best Of #Jewish TikTok

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