Religious Leaders Demand Educational Reform in Pennsylvania

June 28, 2001

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

On June 28, 2001, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that "Protestant pastors and a Jewish rabbi gathered at the state Capitol...to demand change in a school funding system they view as unjust, immoral and outrageous. They promised to organize their congregations and communities into a grass-roots campaign to 'target' lawmakers in the next election...They lamented the disparity between rich and poor school districts."

School Board Considers Changes to Religion Policy

June 27, 2001

Source: The Seattle Times

On June 27, 2001, The Seattle Times reported that "students would be permitted to say nondisruptive prayers in the classroom, and Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny could be part of holiday displays in school hallways, under proposed policy changes that will be presented tonight to the Kent School Board. The changes would replace strict guidelines the district put into effect last fall," that drew objections from students, parents and others.

Reform Jews Planning to Return to Traditional Conversion Rituals

June 27, 2001

Source: Star Tribune

On June 27, 2001, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that "rabbis in Judaism's Reform movement are expected to approve new guidelines...for conversion to Judaism that formally recommend a return to traditional rituals such as circumcision and ritual baths...The recommendations...reflect a renewed interest in traditional Jewish practice among what has long been considered the most theologically progressive branch."

Selectmen Vote to Allow Display of Menorah

June 27, 2001

Source: Worcester Telegram & Gazette

On June 27, 2001, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reported that "the [Westboro, Massachusetts] Board of Selectmen...approved a menorah display for the downtown rotary in December, reversing its earlier position on the issue...Selectmen worried that allowing a menorah display would open it to any number of unwanted displays...Westboro Town Counsel Alan F. Dodd said in a report to selectmen last night that the town cannot forbid the free exchange of ideas at the rotary."

Reform Rabbis Change Conversion Rules

June 27, 2001

Source: The San Francisco Chronicle

On June 27, 2001, The San Francisco Chronicle reported that "the nation's Reform rabbis are expected to make major changes in conversion guidelines today by embracing, for the first time in 100 years, traditional rituals such as circumcision long required by the other two branches of Judaism."

Newspaper that Once Helped Jewish Refugees Is Making a Comeback

June 23, 2001

Source: The New York Times

On June 23, 2001, The New York Times reported on The Aufbau, a newspaper founded in New York by Jewish refugees from Hitler 67 years ago. It once contained articles by Thomas Mann, Albert Einstein and Hannah Arendt, and was read by "the tide of German and Austrian Jews that washed over New York in the 1930's and 1940's." Threatened with bankruptcy, it now "has restructured itself as a charitable foundation" and is making a comeback. It continues to cover stories related to the Holocaust.

Leader of Anti-Discrimination Group Calls on Churches and Synagogues

June 21, 2001

Source: The Kansas City Star

On June 21, 2001, The Kansas City Star reported that "the leader of the National Conference for Community and Justice called on churches and synagogues to quash racism, bigotry and bias" at the organization's regional conference in Kansas City...He said faith-based groups in America have gotten away from fighting social ills such as racism because they have gotten too caught up with other issues."

Muslim and Jewish Interfaith Group Plans to Resume Dialogue

June 19, 2001

Source: Los Angeles Times

On June 19, 2001, the Los Angeles Times reported that "southland Muslim and Jewish leaders decided...to restart a troubled interfaith dialogue group after Mideast tensions moved the Islamic side to freeze the effort last month...The group...has lost members in the last several months as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict stoked emotions and suspicions on both sides." Many, however, believe that the issues need to be squarely addressed in interfaith dialogue.

Iowa Town Not Ready for Influx of Diverse Newcomers

June 18, 2001

Source: The Boston Globe

On June 18, 2001, The Boston Globe reported on the arrival of Brooklyn-born Hasidic Jews and immigrants from Russia, Bosnia, Ukraine, Nigeria and Mexico to Postville, Iowa. "At first, the Iowans smiled stretched out their hands. But over time, they resented what they saw as the newcomers' unfriendly ways...[Some] say Postville, which has become a real-life model of diversity, immigration, and demographic shifts, proves Iowa is not [psychologically and socially] ready for a mass immigration...Of all the newcomers...the Hasidic Jews...

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Hasidic Jews At Odds with Neighbors over Plans to Build Complex

June 17, 2001

Source: The New York Times

On June 17, 2001, The New York Times reported on Rabbi Geisinsky, who "directs Chabad of Great Neck, the local branch of a Hasidic Jewish group that focuses on outreach and education." To meet the huge turnout of worshippers, Chabad of Great Neck bought a waterfront property in Kings Point, New York, to build a synagogue on. "But then a group of neighbors who opposed the plan got organized, and...became the Peninsula Environmental Conservancy. They hired a legal team, a traffic analyst, an environmental consultant and a public...

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Jewish Humanist Congregations Are a Growing Trend

June 17, 2001

Source: The Washington Post

On June 17, 2001, The Washington Post reported on Beth Chai, which "is a Jewish humanist congregation, providing a home for Jews who want a quasi-religious setting to celebrate their cultural identity and heritage -- except for the part about God. It is one of two such congregations in the Washington area. The other is D.C.-based Machar... Both groups are part of a movement of Jewish humanist communities that is growing increasingly organized in a country where 60 percent of Jews are unaffiliated with a mainstream synagogue...

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Houses of Worship Offer Relief to Flood Victims

June 16, 2001

Source: The Houston Chronicle

On June 16, 2001, The Houston Chronicle reported that "as the water from Tropical Storm Allison began to recede...a flood of donations and volunteers rushed into the fellowship hall of St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church [in Houston] to help a trained troupe of parishioners activate a shelter for the American Red Cross...This 'miracle' was repeated throughout the Houston area last week as houses of worship became sanctuaries for residents fleeing the floods...Organizations such as churches, mosques and synagogues are...

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Panel Discusses Interfaith Marriages

June 16, 2001

Source: Newsday

On June 16, 2001, Newsday reported on an interfaith marriage panel, "which brought together four interfaith couples and four clergy members earlier this month at Huntington Congregational Church in Centerport [New York]." Among other things, the panelists discussed wedding ceremonies, raising children, cultural differences, and all that interfaith marriages can teach a couple.

Orthodox Jews Face Prejudice In New Jersey Town

June 15, 2001

Source: The Record

On June 15, 2001, The Record published an opinion piece about statements made by opponents of the construction of an eruv in Tenafly, New Jersey. Eruvin are symbolic walls that allow the Orthodox to carry things out of their homes on the Sabbath. "The comments are...us-versus-them comments...The comments are cloaked in code words: about how these 'other people' are so different, and about what their moving in might do to schools, property values, and the town's identity...Getting to know people makes all the difference. It does away...

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Holocaust Survivor Finds Faith in God and Becomes Rabbi

June 15, 2001

Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune

On June 15, 2001, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported on Helga Newmark, who played with Anne Frank as a girl and who, along with her family, was taken to a concentration camp. "She lost her father, her grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and...she lost her faith in God...[But] when she was in her 50s, [she began a] journey [that] led her to want to be a rabbi...In May 2000, she was ordained in the Reform movement, the first female Holocaust survivor to be a rabbi."