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  • Reform Jews on a spiritual quest

    Reform Jews are grappling with the pull between traditional Judaism, whose foundation is a system of commandments, and the individual autonomy that is a Reform movement hallmark. Deeply rooted in general American culture, while at the same time yearning f

  • FOCUS ON ISSUES Reconstructionist movement `buoyed’ by survey findings

    NEW YORK, Nov. 26 (JTA) – In this age of free-market religious choice and surging assimilation, the organized Jewish community has had legitimate cause for concern: The number of people who identify and marry as Jews and are raising their children as engaged Jews is shrinking. A new survey of Reconstructionist Jews, however, finds that…

  • FOCUS ON ISSUES Court case raises questions about rabbinic confidentiality

    NEW YORK, Nov. 25 (JTA) – When is a rabbi supposed to keep as confidential information someone tells him during counseling, and when should it be divulged? It is a complicated ethical question, Jewishly speaking, according to several experts on Judaism, legal issues and rabbinic practices. A new, precedent-setting ruling by a New York state…

  • Orthodox youth group keeps kids more Jewish, study finds

    NEW YORK, Nov. 23 (JTA) – As a debate rages on about the most effective type of Jewish education – formal or informal – a new study provides evidence that participation in an Orthodox teen youth group spurs people to lead more Jewishly committed lives, even if they don’t come from observant homes. The study…

  • FOCUS ON ISSUES Orthodox groups attack 2 rabbis who set up court to end marriages

    NEW YORK, Nov. 17 (JTA) – The fireworks aren”t ending for a 2-year-old religious court that annuls marriages to free Orthodox women whose husbands refuse to grant them a Jewish divorce. Denunciation of the court, which to date has dissolved the marriages of 216 couples, has come from almost every major Orthodox organization, making it…

  • Survey of U.S. lay leaders shows preference for funding local needs

    NEW YORK, Nov. 17 (JTA) – It’s not just the average American Jew who is feeling less connected to Israel these days – the leadership of American Jewish organizations is as well. A growing sense of estrangement from Israel, which has been well documented in recent surveys of randomly selected American Jews, is also true…

  • Reform movement to develop ethics curriculum for children

    NEW YORK, Nov. 9 (JTA) – A year ago Rabbi Eric Yoffie, addressing some 4,000 Reform movement leaders gathered at their biennial conference, called for a new code of ethics to be developed and taught to children. He said in his first address as president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations that the Reform…

  • CLAL sells Sh’ma magazine to Jewish activist for a dollar

    NEW YORK, Sept. 14 (JTA) – How many significant business deals conclude with the buyer handing over a $1 bill and both sides reciting unusual Hebrew blessings? Not many. But when it came to Yossi Abramowitz purchasing the publication Sh’ma from CLAL: The National Center for Learning and Leadership, that’s how the deal was done….

  • New Conservative prayer book includes Judaism’s foremothers

    NEW YORK, Sept. 14 (JTA) – Eight years after the Conservative movement sanctioned the inclusion of Judaism’s foremothers alongside the recitation of their husbands’ names in worship, the change has now been incorporated into a prayer book. But while the matriarchs – Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah – are included along with Abraham, Isaac and…

  • N.Y. Board of Rabbis issues survey of rabbinic cooperation

    NEW YORK, Sept. 14 (JTA) – The New York Board of Rabbis has released a collection of hundreds of recent examples of rabbinic interdenominational cooperation from across the country. But a conflict within the board itself over an interfaith prayer service last week in New York illustrates the continuing tensions in relations among Judaism’s streams….