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  • Study: Jews drink less, more likely to get drunk

    NEW YORK, Jan. 12 (JTA) — Jews don’t drink, the old myth goes. And now there’s scientific evidence to prove it. Two new studies are bolstering the view that Jews don’t drink as much as other Caucasians — and researchers attribute the difference largely to a genetic mutation that is found in a much higher…

  • Reform, Conservative leaders step up religious pluralism drive

    NEW YORK, Jan. 5 (JTA) — Leaders of the Reform and Conservative movements of Judaism are once again mobilizing their 3 million American followers to fight legislative moves to solidify the Orthodox monopoly over Jewish religious affairs in Israel. Using rhetoric as sharp as a well-honed knife, leaders of the two movements exhorted their constituents…

  • From jazz to ska, musicians assert Jewishness in new CDs

    NEW YORK, Dec. 23 (JTA) — Artfully sculpted sideburns emanating from a head of closely cropped hair and several small hoops running up each earlobe mark King Django as a ska hipster. Ska, a precursor of reggae that weaves together elements of American rhythm and blues with the laid-back sound of Jamaica’s easy native groove,…

  • Israeli group explores diversity in the U.S. and among themselves

    NEW YORK, Dec. 17 (JTA) — The plan: to bring a group of Israeli “influentials” in various fields and from a range of religious backgrounds to the United States to witness the diversity of the American Jewish community. The organizer’s goal: to bridge what many describe as a growing chasm between Israeli and American Jews,…

  • CHANUKAH FEATURE Menorah madness takes off; kitschy kids’ styles proliferate

    NEW YORK, Dec. 8 (JTA) — How many ways can Mickey Mouse celebrate Chanukah? Five different Mickey menorahs, licensed from Disney, are now available to answer that question. If you’re more into Winnie-the-Pooh, there are two colorful menorahs displaying the whole gang from the Hundred Acre Wood to choose between. And the latest this year…

  • FOCUS ON ISSUES Proposed new Reform platform sparks debate over observance

    NEW YORK, Dec. 8 (JTA) — A proposed new document that endorses studying Torah, keeping the Sabbath and other ritual practices has touched off a passionate debate among Reform rabbis and congregants about just how focused on traditional Jewish observance their movement should be. The document, a draft for a new platform that is titled…

  • AROUND THE JEWISH WORLD Synagogue in Atlanta charts new path to religious pluralism

    NEW YORK, Aug. 30 (JTA) — An experiment in religious pluralism is unfolding in Atlanta, where a new synagogue is bringing together, under one roof, Jews connected with each of the four main movements of Judaism — Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist. The newly established Congregation Shema Yisrael currently meets in a hotel and works…

  • AROUND THE WORLD Women of the Wall takes campaign to Israeli street

    NEW YORK, Aug. 25 (JTA) — Borrowing a page from the Lubavitch movement, the Women of the Wall group has launched a new outreach campaign to give Israeli women a chance to wrap themselves in a tallit, the ritual shawl worn by observant men, and some women, during Jewish prayer. The organization of women in…

  • Jewish groups staying low key in din over black youth marches

    NEW YORK, Aug. 24 (JTA) — Khalid Muhammad and the Nation of Islam are coming to town, and Jewish groups are reacting with surprising restraint — both in New York, where the former Nation of Islam spokesman is planning a Million Youth March in Harlem over Labor Day weekend, and in Atlanta, where the Nation…

  • HIGH HOLIDAYS FEATURE Reform, Conservative synagogues developing new methods of worship

    NEW YORK, Aug. 17 (JTA) — Walk into services at Congregation Ner Tamid in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., and a member of the Shalom Squad will greet you warmly — maybe even with a hug. You’ll be handed a prayer book, shown the correct page and escorted to an open seat. After services end, someone…