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  • New Women’s Torah Commentary Enriches Understanding of the Text

    This week marks the debut of "The Torah: A Women’s Commentary," which brings together the scholarship and insights of women from all segments of the Jewish community and from around the world. For the past two years, in advance of the commentary’s publication, I have previewed drafts in congregations across the country. Inevitably, when I… More ▸

  • Two New Orthodox Girls Schools Push Egalitarianism in Jerusalem

    Two new cutting-edge schools that opened in Jerusalem this fall are pushing the envelope on modern Orthodox education in the Jewish capital – and challenging rival schools to follow suit. The Shalom Hartman Institute, a popular pluralistic Orthodox educational institution that already has a junior high and high school for boys, opened a girls school… More ▸

  • Going Once, Going Twice: JNF to Auction off Trip to Hefner’s Playboy Mansion

    One of the Jewish community’s most storied charities is turning to the Playboy brand name to help raise funds. The Jewish National Fund sent out a mass e-mail this month announcing that it would be auctioning off a one-year subscription to Playboy and an all-expenses-paid trip to a VIP party at the legendary mansion of… More ▸

  • Leftist Jews Try to Balance Community, Opposition to Israel

    For Cecilie Surasky, seeing a Star of David and “Gas the Arabs” painted on the wall of a Palestinian-owned shop in Hebron rocked her world. She loved Israel so much, even idealized it, so the shock went particularly deep. Surasky’s Zionist credentials are strong. Her grandfather ran guns to Israel in 1948. Her uncle raised… More ▸

  • Groups Revving Up to Fight Ruling on Late-term Abortion

    Supreme Court decisions usually are considered final, but Jewish groups that favor abortion rights are taking this week’s ruling upholding a ban on late-term abortions to lawmakers. The groups, which consider the April 18 ruling a rollback of the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that upheld abortion as a matter of privacy and a… More ▸

  • News Brief

    An Orthodox feminist group is launching an advertising campaign on behalf of agunot, whose husbands refuse to give them a get, or Jewish bill of divorce. The Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance campaign, which includes a petition with nearly 2,000 signatures calling for rabbis and the Orthodox community to end the plight of agunot, is timed… More ▸

  • Focus on Issues Feminist Group Marks Progress,

    With strident calls for action and threats of “taking to the streets” if the issue is not soon resolved, participants in the 10th anniversary conference of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance ratcheted up the rhetoric around the plight of agunot, “chained women” whose husbands refuse to grant them a religious bill of divorce. “Let this… More ▸

  • Reining in Abuse Awareness Center a Clearinghouse

    There is no unabridged database of rabbinic sexual abusers. But there is the Awareness Center. It’s not a physical place, but a Baltimore post-office box, cell-phone number and Web site — — where online surfers can find a listing of scores of Jewish clergy and hundreds of other Jewish officials in positions of trust… More ▸

  • Women’s Rights Leaders Outraged As Conference on Agunot Canceled

    Jewish women’s rights leaders are reeling after Israel’s Sephardi chief rabbi canceled a conference of prominent rabbis that was to deal with the issue of women whose husbands refuse to give them divorce papers. An agunah, which literally means a “chained” woman, is one whose husband refuses to give her a get, a document she… More ▸

  • Police Call for Rape Charge Shows Israeli Attitude Shift on Harassment

    There wasn’t even a term in Hebrew for sexual harassment before Israel’s Knesset passed a law making it a criminal offense in 1999. Soon after the law went into effect, the case of Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai went to trial, and his conviction in 2001 marked the first time in Israel that a political figure… More ▸