Judaism

How a coffee company and a marketing maven brewed up a Passover tradition: A brief history of the Maxwell House Haggadah

April 13, 2022

For more than a millennium, the haggadah has been the centerpiece of the Jewish holiday of Passover. The book sets out the ceremony for the Seder meal, when families tell the biblical Exodus story of God delivering the ancient Israelites from slavery in Egypt.

Today, thousands of different haggadahs exist, with prayers, rituals and readings tailored to every type of Seder – from ...

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Episcopal Church mulls changes to Holy Week readings seen as antisemitic

April 14, 2022

When the Cathedral Church of St. Mark in Salt Lake City hosted dialogues last year on the Episcopal Church’s Sacred Ground curriculum, wrestling with issues of race and white privilege in the United States, it didn’t entirely resonate for Daniela Lee.

Lee, a student at Bexley Seabury Seminary at the University of Chicago, had been born and raised in Romania. What she needed to reckon...

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'Blackness Deserves a Seat at the Seder'

April 5, 2022

At a table in Fredericksburg, Va., surrounded by loved ones, Michael W. Twitty will celebrate Passover this year with a Seder plate that speaks directly to his identity.

Mr. Twitty, an African American food historian and author, will make his haroseth, a dish that symbolizes the mortar Israelites used while they were enslaved by Egyptians, with pecans and molasses. The molasses represents the sugar cane that was central to the American slave trade, and the pecans represent African...

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As Jewish movements struggle, independent rabbinical schools gain a toehold

April 4, 2022

Rachel Posner grew up a Conservative movement Jew, but when she decided to go back to school to become a rabbi she chose the independent Academy for Jewish Religion in Yonkers, New York.

Her reasons were varied. A licensed psychologist in private practice, she needed to continue working while going to school. The AJR gave her the flexibility of taking online classes on a part-time basis. It also offered the opportunity to study with teachers from different Jewish...

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Across US, faith groups mobilize to aid Ukrainian refugees

April 4, 2022

As U.S. refugee resettlement agencies and nonprofits nationwide gear up to help Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion and war that has raged for nearly six weeks, members of faith communities have been leading the charge to welcome the displaced.

In Southern California, pastors and lay individuals are stationing themselves at the Mexico border waving Ukrainian flags and offering food, water and prayer. Around the country, other religious groups are getting ready to provide longer-term support for refugees who will have to find housing, work, health care and schooling....

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South Asian Americans face a complicated relationship with the swastika

March 25, 2022

During Nikhil Mandalaparthy's senior year of high school in 2015, the local Hindu temple in his hometown was vandalized. Spray-painted in red on the outside of the Bothell, Washington, worship and cultural center were the words “Get Out” — alongside a symbol that was almost familiar to the temple’s patrons: a swastika. 

But the mark used to terrorize Mandalaparthy’s community was different than the swastikas he had grown up seeing in religious contexts. It was sharp and at a 45-degree angle, what he recognized immediately as a mark of Nazism and white supremacy. ...

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Jews say making daylight saving time permanent threatens morning prayer

March 24, 2022

American Jews say they were blindsided by the U.S. Senate’s lightning-fast passage of a bill to make daylight saving time year-round and intend to fight it.

The Sunshine Protection Act, which passed the Senate on March 15, will make it nearly impossible for Jews to pray communally in the morning, Jewish advocates say, and still get to work or school on time during the winter months.

According to Jewish law, morning prayers must take place after the sun rises. Daylight saving time, which currently begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in...

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How members of three religions experience workplace discrimination differently

March 11, 2022

Members of three major world religions face discrimination in the workplace, but each experience it in different ways, according to new research.  

Researchers from Rice University’s Religion and Public Life Program (RPLP) drew their conclusions from an analysis of 194 in-depth interviews with Muslim, Jewish, Christian, and non-religious employees to determine how members of each group perceived their experiences with workplace discrimination.  

“...

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Ahead of Purim, Jewish students take up fasting to show solidarity with Ukraine

March 16, 2022

Ben Lefkowitz, a senior at Emory University, had never fasted the day before Purim, the holiday that celebrates how the biblical Queen Esther saved the Jewish people from destruction.

But on Wednesday (March 16), he planned to forgo food from sunup to sundown as part of a Hillel International appeal for Jewish unity in support of Ukraine refugees.

The Jewish college student organization is urging students to donate what they would have spent on meals Wednesday to the organization’s ...

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US Jews furiously raise money, send delegations to help Ukraine

March 12, 2022

On Saturday (March 12), 19 rabbis from the New York region boarded a flight to Warsaw and from there planned to travel to the Ukrainian border to deliver medical supplies and offer comfort to Ukrainians fleeing their country.

Their 48-hour mission to Poland, organized by the UJA-Federation of New York, is just one of many quickly organized to help Jewish and other Ukrainian refugees.

Some 2 million Ukrainians, mainly women and children, have fled the country as Russian forces widen their ground offensive. Jews, who have lived in Ukraine for more than a millennia,...

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People of all faiths flock to U.S. Ukrainian churches in acts of solidarity

March 8, 2022

The diverse group showed up, one after another, so that when the pews were full, people spilled into the aisles at St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Parma, Ohio.

“It was a standing-room crowd that came to pray and show unwavering solidarity,” said Lee C. Shapiro, regional director of the American Jewish Committee’s Cleveland chapter.

Since the...

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The Fight Over 'Maus' Is Part of a Bigger Cultural Battle in Tennessee

March 4, 2022

After the McMinn County School Board voted in January to remove “Maus,” a graphic novel about the Holocaust, from its eighth-grade curriculum, the community quickly found itself at the center of a national frenzy over book censorship.

The book soared to the top of the Amazon best-seller list. Its author, Art Spiegelman, compared the board to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and suggested that McMinn officials would rather “teach a nicer Holocaust.” At a recent...

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Jewish New Yorkers Unite to Raise Millions for Ukraine

March 4, 2022

Rabbi Labish Becker, the executive director of Agudath Israel of America, an umbrella organization of ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups, has raised more than $2 million for Ukraine since the Russian invasion. He said the emergence of President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is Jewish, as “a Ukrainian national hero,” has been “a source of pride for people” amid the grim news of war.

“Everyone is sort of pinching themselves,” he said...

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