Judaism

School Board Directs FCPS to Draft New Calendar Ahead of Vote

March 9, 2021

Inundated with messages from staff and community members on proposed changes to the 2021-22 calendar, Fairfax County School Board members directed Superintendent Scott Brabrand to redraft it.

During a work session on Tuesday (Mar. 2), the board told staff to consider ways to add flexibility through floating holidays. They said the calendar...

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Bar and bat mitzvah dates have been locked in for years. When the pandemic changed everything, families got creative.

March 2, 2021

Most mortals have lost track of time as the pandemic spills into year two. But God — assume for the purposes of this article there is one, all-knowing, all-seeing, all-everything — loses track of nothing and nobody, including the generation of Jewish children who, during the time of covid, turned 13.

On that occasion, these children become adults in the eyes of their religious community. Their bar or bat mitzvah day (b’nai mitzvah is the plural) is the culmination of significant preparation; children are typically assigned b’nai mitzvah dates...

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Religious Groups Keep Faith During Pandemic, Remote Academic Year

February 23, 2021

D. Anthony Alvarez ’21, a member of the Harvard Latter-day Saints Student Association, has attended religious services at the same congregation off campus since he arrived at Harvard as a freshman.

This semester, Alvarez said he still attends services at that same congregation. Amid Covid-19, though, he must sign up to attend ahead of time, don a mask, and eschew singing, which can spread infectious particles.

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Religion Amidst the Pandemic: How Framingham Has Continued to Practice Their Faith

February 9, 2021

FRAMINGHAM – Over the past year, countless organizations have had to take a step back and think of new and innovative ways to operate during the coronavirus pandemic. Religious institutions have been no exception.

Despite the roadblocks and restrictions brought on by COVID, many religious institutions have actually found great success in navigating the technological world and allowing people to continue to practice their faith in new, COVID-friendly ways.

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Evangelical Christian and Orthodox Jewish leaders offer spaces for vaccine distribution

January 28, 2021

Two national religious groups, one evangelical Christian, the other Orthodox Jewish, have teamed up to offer their sacred spaces for vaccine distribution, hoping to assist government officials and private companies in the effort to combat the ongoing pandemic.

In a recent editorial, Walter Kim, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, and Rabbi Moshe Hauer, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union, made their pitch to help “anyone in need of vaccination, whether or not they are members of our congregations or of our neighborhoods.”

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The Complex Reality of Black–Jewish Coalitions in Georgia

January 26, 2021

At a Jeiwsh Democratic Council of America virtual election celebration on January 17th, newly elected Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock reminded the audience about “the longstanding relationship between the African American community and the Jewish community, our shared values, our sense of justice and struggle for peace in the world,” citing the connection between Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who had once been a pastor at the Atlanta church where Warnock now presides, and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. His fellow Georgia senator-elect, Jon Ossoff, offered a similar...

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Georgia’s Black-Jewish campaign is the latest chapter in an old story

January 4, 2021

Not since Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder teamed up to save Rock Ridge from the bad guys in Mel Brooks’ “Blazing Saddles" half a century ago has there been a Black-Jewish buddy story like Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff’s joint runoff campaign in Georgia.

It’s about a Black Baptist preacher and the young Jewish go-getter the preacher calls “my brother from another mother” who, in a scenario that rivals any in American political history, have the eyes of the nation on them as they seek to oust two Republican incumbent senators and give control of Capitol Hill to the Democrats....

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Anti-Semitic flyers warning of Jewish ‘war’ on white people found around Staten Island

January 5, 2021

A white supremacist group from New Jersey posted more than a dozen anti-Semitic flyers on Staten Island.

The flyers, found over the weekend in the New York City borough, are emblazoned with a Jewish star and falsely claim that Antifa, the loose anti-fascist network, is a Jewish organization that is anti-white.

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How alliances between Black and Jewish voters are reshaping one New York district

December 22, 2020

“There’s a perception out there — and for good reason — that the Orthodox community is monolithic,” said Sasha Kesler, who identifies herself as a Modern Orthodox Jew. “And becoming increasingly conservative. But it’s not.”

“I know what I know about my community,” continued Kesler, who lives in Riverdale, New York, and attends the Hebrew Institute, one of the major synagogues in the Bronx neighborhood. “My friends, the rabbis, the leaders: We are progressives. We look to the Torah and the texts we have to teach us the lessons of our obligation to care for others.”

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This year, American Jews are taking Hanukkah outside

December 9, 2020

Jewish tradition teaches that the story of the Hanukkah miracle of light over darkness should be publicized.

It’s the reason some Jews put a menorah (sometimes called a “hanukkiah”) in the window or by the door. Lighting the nine-branched candelabrum is the central ritual of the eight-day holiday, which begins Thursday (Dec. 10).

But for the most part, American Jews have kept the December holiday an indoor celebration among family and friends. Unlike the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur when Jews crowd synagogues en masse, Hanukkah has always been a...

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Column: Naperville family’s Hanukkah light display as much about religion as celebrating diversity

December 4, 2020

Is it my imagination or are the holiday lights burning a little brighter this year? Are the trees in downtown Naperville sparkling a little more? When you spot your neighbors’ Christmas tree in the window, does it look a little more bedazzled?

Is there finally an actual light at the end of the dark tunnel that is 2020?

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FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS: Local resident finds outpouring of support for new holiday installation

December 4, 2020

Sometimes, seeing the world thorugh the eyes of a child brings about the most profound insights. This is what happened to local resident Allison Bloodworth last December when her son, then age 6, started asking some important questions.

"He asked me while we were driving around town, 'Why aren't there any Hanukkah lights?'" said Bloodworth.

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In Chicago, an LGBTQ Talmud study center gets a pandemic boost

November 30, 2020

Before becoming a rabbi, Benay Lappe wanted to be a Buddhist monk.

While Jews have often been drawn to Eastern traditions, few dedicate nearly a decade to becoming a devout Buddhist in Japan. Lappe is hardcore. But before making her final commitment, she consulted with a rabbi in Tokyo who gave her a copy of “Pirkei Avot.”

This little Jewish book of wisdom “messed me up,” she said, and she had the realization that Jews were indeed as wise as Buddhists.

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Muslim, Sikh and Jewish groups seek inclusion in California’s new ethnic studies curriculum

November 19, 2020

LOS ANGELES (RNS) — Religious groups are urging California education officials to include their histories and cultures in a model ethnic studies curriculum being developed for high schools in the state.

The proposed curriculum, which the Department of Education has been planning since 2018, centers on Chicanos and Latino Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans and Native Americans. It is intended to serve as a guide as schools design the ethnic studies courses that could be mandated for graduation beginning later this decade.

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