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  • FOCUS ON ISSUES As Reform rabbis debate issue, female couple marries under chupah

    NEW YORK, June 16 (JTA) — When Sue Levi Elwell and Nurit Shein stood together under a chupah in their Philadelphia backyard on Sunday, they were sanctifying their six-year relationship as a marriage. Elwell, a Reform rabbi, and Shein, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Israeli army who serves as the executive director of the…

  • Israel lifts ban on rabbi, but he won’t go there now

    NEW YORK, April 9 (JTA) — An American rabbi who was banned from Israel more than two years ago says that even though the ban has been lifted, he has no desire to visit the Jewish state. “I would not go now, not for any reason,” said Rabbi Abraham Hecht, who was banned from the…

  • A new Orthodox dilemma: What to call a female ‘rabbi

    NEW YORK, Feb. 17 (JTA) — Rabbanit. Morateinu. Poseket. Congregational intern. Torahnot. There’s a whole new vocabulary evolving in the Orthodox world. It’s springing up around the increasing number of Orthodox women who are serving in positions — as teachers of men and women and as interpreters of Jewish law — that even a few…

  • Reform rabbis to re-examine controversial ‘patrilineal’ policy

    NEW YORK, June 16 (JTA) — Fifteen years after adopting one of its most controversial policies, the Reform movement is taking another look at “patrilineal descent.” But rescinding the policy is not on the agenda. Instead, a task force of Reform rabbis mandated to investigate the ramifications of the 1983 policy has recommended that the…

  • Reform rabbis table vote on blessing gay marriage

    NEW YORK, May 5 (JTA) — Leaders of the Reform rabbinate have shelved a scheduled vote on the validity of Jewish same-sex marriages after more than two years of effort to come up with an official position on the matter. An open discussion and vote were planned for the upcoming annual meeting of the Reform…

  • Israeli officials thwart effort of family seeking to immigrate

    NEW YORK, May 18 (JTA) — The attempt of a black, Jewish American family to immigrate to Israel was interrupted last week when they were detained at Ben- Gurion Airport and told they had to leave the country. The family members had converted to Judaism under the auspices of the Conservative movement. Though it is…

  • As performer and as Jew, Patinkin has strong views

    NEW YORK, April 20 (JTA) —One Jewish celebrity missing from last week’s star-studded Hollywood tribute to Israel’s 50th birthday was Mandy Patinkin. The quintessentially Jewish performer has a strong point of view when it comes to his Jewish life. In this case, it was politics that kept him away. He declined an invitation to participate…

  • Pluralism poll on Israeli views results in unintended findings

    NEW YORK, Feb. 2 (JTA) — The results of a new survey of Israeli attitudes about religious pluralism are not having the effects intended by the Orthodox group that commissioned it. In fact, the results are being welcomed by leaders of the Reform and Conservative movements, who are hailing the findings as a vindication of…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS Falwell’s effort to influence U.S. policy unlikely to succeed

    NEW YORK, Jan. 26 (JTA) — The Rev. Jerry Falwell is still trying to make his mark. But whether the once-powerful evangelical Christian leader will succeed in his latest effort to influence Middle East politics is far from certain. Falwell has announced that he intends to mobilize 200,000 evangelical Christian ministers to lobby Congress in…

  • AROUND THE JEWISH WORLD Planned end to Ethiopian aliyah complicated by new developments

    NEW YORK, June 23 (JTA) — This week was supposed to mark the end of a glorious era in modern Jewish history. Fourteen years after Israel launched its first dramatic rescue operation of Jews from Ethiopia, those involved in the effort had planned to close up shop, bringing the last planeload of Jews to Israel….