Judaism

Catholic, Jewish orgs work to find homes for arriving Afghan refugees

December 10, 2021

Three months after the Taliban took over Afghanistan, prompting hundreds of thousands to evacuate the country, Catholic Charities and its Jewish community partners have helped dozens of Afghan immigrants to find homes and begin new lives in the Greater Boston Area.

In a webinar held on Nov. 22, titled "Together We Respond," representatives of Catholic Charities of Boston (CCAB), Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP), and the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) shared updates about how they have served people arriving from Afghanistan over the past few months. They expressed...

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Yeshivas are mostly places where Orthodox men study the Torah. A D.C. Rabbi wants to change that.

December 9, 2021

Jewish mystical texts say God “looked into the Torah and created the world” and studying the Torah is a way of studying God’s mind. So why is it that Jewish study centers are filled almost exclusively with Orthodox men?

That is the question lately driving Shmuel Herzfeld, a trailblazing Orthodox rabbi who tools around D.C. in a menorah-decorated car trying to find ways for Jews in the nation’s capital to merge the commitment and intentionality of orthodoxy with the openness and inclusiveness of a more liberal faith....

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Can two young Orthodox Jewish players juggle pro baseball and religion?

December 3, 2021

In the 14 June 1939 edition of the New York Post, Hy Turkin wrote a story on Morris Arnovich, the Philadelphia Phillies left fielder leading the National League with a .398 batting average. Morris was “chock full of hustle,” Turkin wrote, and a “sure bet” to make that season’s All-Star team. Then, in the fifth paragraph, Turkin made reference to Arnovich’s religion: “Jewish,” Turkin wrote, plainly. “Orthodox.”

Even if Arnovich, commonly referred to as the “Son of Israel” during...

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Report: Holocaust denial persists on Facebook one year after push to staunch it

December 1, 2021

A new report from the Anti-Defamation League shows that while Facebook has removed major Holocaust denial posts on its platform, gaps in enforcing its ban remain one year after it went into effect.

The report found nine troubling posts that overtly violated Facebook’s hate speech policy. As of Wednesday (Dec.1), the ADL said three of the nine...

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Reading faiths unite for menorah blessing, tree lighting

December 3, 2021

As many gathered around the Christmas tree and the menorah on downtown Reading's Penn Square for the city's holiday lighting celebrations Thursday evening, the sentiment was that this year's event was especially joyous.

"We are really excited that we are getting to somewhat of a little bit of normalcy this year," said Reading Mayor Eddie Morán. "We are inviting the community to come out and celebrate with us in a dual celebration."

As Hanukkah comes to a close in a few days, the Jewish Federation of Reading lit the latest candle on the...

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Second gentleman attends National Menorah lighting ceremony: 'Jewish history is American history'

November 28, 2021

Doug Emhoff, husband to Vice President Kamala Harris, spoke at the National Menorah lighting ceremony on Sunday for the first night of Hanukkah.

The first Jewish spouse of a president or a vice president, Emhoff has publicly highlighted various tenets of his faith while his wife is in office.

"On this first night of Hanukkah, Jews all around the world are going to light their menorahs in the windows of their homes -- just like the vice president and I are going to do later tonight at our home here in DC," Emhoff said during the ceremony. "As we light this menorah on...

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Some Jews see antisemitism and White nationalism becoming less fringe since the 2017 Unite the Right rally

November 26, 2021

For a moment, Rabbi Rachel Schmelkin imagined that after the first day of the 2017 Unite the Right rally, life would go back to normal.

The day before, hundreds of white nationalists had descended on Charlottesville, where she was an associate rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel. They carried torches, chanted racist slogans and tore through crowds with flags pointed like spears. A night’s sleep, she had hoped, would expel the trauma she had experienced.

“The Unite the Right...

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Swastika 'Hotspot' Found Near New Rochelle HS, District Confirms

November 22, 2021

School officials are condemning the behavior and taking steps to reach out after a hateful personal hotspot name containing the image of a swastika was found to be available near the high school campus.

The school district reaffirmed its no-tolerance policy to racism and promised to open a conversation with students to promote understanding in the wake of the troubling incident, Superintendent Jonathan Raymond wrote in a letter to families dated Nov. 22.

The hateful hotspot name that included a depiction of a swastika showed up on devices as an available WiFi...

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Harlem is home to an important part of Jewish history in New York

November 11, 2021

On a Tuesday morning in early November, 16 adults and a baby in a stroller huddled in a group near the statue of Adam Clayton Powell Jr. in Harlem. Despite the chill in the air, all eyes were intent on Barry Judelman as he delivered a brief history of the neighborhood’s Jewish community.

The group, gathered that day for the Jewish Harlem Walking Tour, was mostly older and Jewish. This is generally true of the participants in the various Jewish history tours he leads around New York City, Judelman said. “That’s...

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Feds prompt Michigan to revise religious practice restrictions on prisoners

November 4, 2021

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday it has reached a settlement with the Michigan Department of Corrections to change the state's policy limiting worship and religious activities for prisoners, as well as the kosher diet fed to Jewish inmates.

Under the agreement, Michigan corrections officials agreed to eliminate its policy that required a minimum of five people for religious services or activities. It will also remove a prohibition on group religious practices for Hindus, Yorubas, Hebrew Israelites and Thelema practitioners, unless there's...

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Police investigating desecration of Torah scroll at George Washington University fraternity

November 1, 2021

A fraternity house at George Washington University was vandalized over the weekend, including desecration of a Torah scroll, according to the university and Tau Kappa Epsilon.

"Our entire chapter is outraged and saddened by this blatant act of antisemitism and violence against our brothers," the fraternity said in a statement Sunday evening.

Chapter President Chris Osborne told CNN by phone the...

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Book explores how a diverse Jewish neighborhood responded to a horrific hate crime

October 27, 2021

The three-year anniversary of the Tree of Life shooting in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh on Wednesday (Oct. 27) will include an outdoor memorial service at Schenley Park, with 11 trees planted to remember those slain.

The 11 who died when an armed intruder entered a building housing three Jewish congregations and started firing indiscriminately have been eulogized and written about widely.

Journalist Mark Oppenheimer decided to explore how the Squirrel Hill community responded.

Source:...

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How some "Jewitches" are embracing both Judaism and witchcraft

October 25, 2021

In a scene from a recently released movie, three older women in a small room slowly walk clockwise around a table covered in candles, chanting curses softly.

A scene from the latest “Macbeth” remake? Not exactly: It’s a moment from indie film “A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff,” a musical exploration of spirituality, Jewish identity and the Bernie Madoff case.

Its creator, Alicia Jo Rabins, identifies...

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