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  • 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….

  • Extremist black leader’s rally fails to attract mass gathering

    NEW YORK, Sept. 8 (JTA) – Khalid Muhammad’s Million Youth March failed to attract, in the end, the legions of young people promised by its name. Black leaders threatened to sue New York City after the march, which drew just 6,000 people, ended in a melee that erupted when police officers attempted to halt the…