Judaism

New Holy Land Park Stirs Controversy

February 2, 2001

Source: USA TODAY

On February 2, 2001, USA TODAY reported on the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, Florida, which claims to "transport" visitors to the ancient Middle East. Its 15 acres include a replica of the temple of King Herod, a cement copy of the Qumran Caves, where ancient Jews stashed the Dead Sea Scrolls, a palm-tree grove mimicking the Via Dolorosa, the path to Jesus' crucifixion, a Jerusalem City Gate, and "Calvary's Garden Tomb, where [people dressed as ancient Israelites] celebrate the resurrection of Christ." Costumed dramatists tell Old and...

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Use of Jesus' Name in Bush's Inauguration Discussed

January 29, 2001

Source: Star Tribune

On January 29, 2001, the Minneapolis Star Tribune published a commentary by Alan Dershowitz on Franklin Graham's dedication of Bush's inauguration to Jesus Christ. Graham's "particularistic and parochial language," claimed Dershowitz, "excluded tens of millions of American Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Shintoists, Unitarians, agnostics and atheists from his blessing...The plain message conveyed by the new administration is that Bush's America is a Christian nation, and that non-Christians are welcome into the tent so long as they agree to...

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Improvements Noted in Jewish-Catholic Relations

January 28, 2001

Source: The Denver Post

On January 28, 2001, The Denver Post published an article on the improvement in Jewish-Catholic relations in the past few decades. Rabbi James Rudin thinks that "more good was accomplished in Jewish-Catholic relations in the last 35 years than in the rest of the millennium." He said "most of the movement has come from changes in attitudes by the Roman Catholic Church." There has been "a long line of overtures and apologies made by the Catholic Church in the last three decades of the 20th century." Rudin said such apologies -- for...

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Plans Made to Build Eruv for Jewish Cambridge Residents

January 16, 2001

Source: The Boston Globe

On January 16, 2001, The Boston Globe reported on plans to build an eruv in Cambridge by the summer. "An eruv is a physical entity, an enclosure of walls and fences and plastic wire strung between utility poles." It is "a large, symbolic household. Orthodox Jews, or others who strictly observe the Sabbath, do not 'carry' outside the house between sunset Friday and sunset Saturday, unless they live within an eruv." With an eruv, families can all attend synagogue together and visit friends on their...

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Jewish Leaders Protest the Exclusion of Gays from the Boy Scouts

January 13, 2001

Source: The Houston Chronicle

On January 13, 2001, The Houston Chronicle reported that "Reform Jewish leaders have recommended that parents withdraw their children from Boy Scout chapters and that synagogues end their sponsorship of Scout troops because of the group's exclusion of gays." Such exclusion is "incompatible with our consistent belief that every individual--regardless of his or her sexual orientation--is created in the image of God and is deserving of equal treatment," said the Joint Commission on Social Action. The commission urged...

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Jewish Leaders Protest the Exclusion of Gays from the Boy Scouts

January 10, 2001

Source: The Columbus Dispatch

On January 10, 2001, The Columbus Dispatch reported that "Reform Jews nationwide are being urged to cut ties with the Boy Scouts because of the Scouts' refusal to admit homosexuals." A commission representing the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the Central Conference of American Rabbis issued a memo calling for the withdrawal. But even if they agree that the Scouts' position is a problem, not all Reform Jews agree with the suggested course of action. Temple Israel, which does not sponsor a boy scout troop,...

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Jewish Leaders Protest the Exclusion of Gays from the Boy Scouts

January 10, 2001

Source: The New York Times

On January 10, 2001, The New York Times reported that "Reform Jewish leaders are recommending that parents withdraw their children from membership in the Boy Scouts of America and that synagogues end their sponsorship of Scout troops, the strongest reaction yet by a religious group to the Supreme Court decision allowing the Boy Scouts to exclude gay members...In a memorandum to congregations dated Jan. 5, the Joint Commission on Social Action of the Reform movement asked congregations to sever ties to the Boy Scouts, or at least...

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Severe Shortage of Cantors in All Branches of Judaism

January 6, 2001

Source: Star Tribune

On January 6, 2001, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that the shortage of Jewish cantors "suddenly has become acute" in all branches of Judaism. "Last year, for example, 30 synagogues vied for the 14 cantors who graduated from Hebrew Union College." Cantors are also called "Shelichei tzibbur," the emissaries of prayers. One reason Jewish leaders cite for the shortage is that "the booming economy has enabled more synagogues to hire full-time cantors." Today cantors "are ordained clergy who perform all the...

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Settlement Reached in Workplace Discrimination Lawsuit

January 6, 2001

Source: The Buffalo News

On January 6, 2001, The Buffalo News reported that "a Williamsville company has settled a lawsuit with two Jewish women [from Buffalo], who claimed they were discriminated against because their religious beliefs prevented them from working on Saturdays." Attorneys from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said that Esther Smothers and Amanda Brooks, both in their 20s, "received a combined $ 50,000 in damages and back pay from National Action Financial Services/SITEL, one of the largest collection agencies in Western New York...

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Proposed School Calendar Changes Accommodate Jewish Holidays

January 6, 2001

Source: The Tampa Tribune

On January 6, 2001, The Tampa Tribune reported that Hillsborough County's proposed 2001-2002 school calendar "includes a day off in September coinciding with the Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. The calendar also shows a spring break from March 25 to April 1, 2002, which would span both Easter and Passover." Jewish parents call the proposed changes to the calendar "a step in the right direction." Phyllis Rogoff, a Jewish parent who served on the district's calendar committee, said the changes...

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Muslims Celebrate End of Ramadan

December 31, 2000

Source: Los Angeles Times

On December 31, 2000, the Los Angeles Times reported that while many were celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, hundreds of Muslims gathered in the San Fernando Valley this year for Eid-al-Fitr, the end of the holy month of Ramadan, which "commemorates what Muslims believe was God's revelation of their holy book, the Koran, to the prophet Muhammad nearly 1,400 years ago. It is a month of prayer, reflection, goodwill toward those less fortunate and fasting from dawn to dusk. Eid al-Fitr...is celebrated with family and feasts, and...

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Synagogue's Dwindling Congregation

December 27, 2000

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

On December 27, 2000, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on "a tiny, resilient Jewish community in Greene and Washington counties" serviced by the Beth Israel Synagogue. If the size of the congregation does not grow, said its vice president, "the decision has to be made as to whether it's viable to continue." Both counties have tiny Jewish populations, and, with southern Allegheny county, contribute "fewer than 150 members" to the congregation. The synagogue is able to survive on bequests from late members....

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Multifaith Families Recognize Hanukkah and Christmas

December 25, 2000

Source: Star Tribune

On December 25, 2000, the Star Tribune reported on the unique ways in which the holidays are celebrated in the home of a junior in high school, who lives in a home with a Jewish father and a Catholic mother. They celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas each year.

Jews Find Joy In Christmas Season

December 24, 2000

Source: St. Petersburg Times

On December 24, 2000, the St. Petersburg Times reported that many Jews enjoy some aspects of the Christmas season. Sheila Weinstock, a Jew who grew up in Boston, said she never felt left out of the Christian holiday. Although she does not celebrate Christmas, she does not resent it, either. She said she enjoys the sacred connotations that go along with Christmas. Clara Solomon, also a Jew, said she loves the season. "Solomon always has loved sparkly things. For a time, she sold gold and diamonds at the Wagon Wheel Flea Market....

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