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  • Help a mentalist out: Are Jewish organizations breaking Shabbos again?

    I’m looking into a story about Jewish organizations veering away from accommodating traditional religious observance. For several years it appeared that Jewish organizations – even those that were not religiously observant – were becoming more sensitive to religious observance – i.e. not holding certain types of events on Saturdays, providing kosher food. But JTA staff… More ▸

  • The tear in Orthodoxy

    Michael Freund devotes his column in Tuesday’s Jerusalem Post to the increasingly acrimonious battle between differing Orthodox camps in the battle over conversions in Israel. Less than three weeks before Tisha B’Av, which commemorates the destruction of the Holy Temple as a result of “sin’at chinam,” – infighting among the Jewish people – we’re at… More ▸

  • Shidduch emergency crisis

    Shidduch vetting in the Orthodox world has gotten out of control, writes Tamar Snyder in the Wall Street Journal: Just as the economy is headed to recession, the shidduch system is in crisis mode. Or so the rabbis moan, noting the surplus of women eager to marry and the corresponding shortfall in the quality and… More ▸

  • Borat in Israel?

    Sascha Baron Cohen narrates “the running of the Jews” in Borat. The serious-minded former director of Tel Aviv University’s Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, Yossi Alpher, who also is co-editor of, a Palestinian-Israeli Web site, writes about a close encounter of the Bruno kind in his latest column in the Forward. More ▸

  • Debate on prisoner deal

    Israel has been engaged in heated debate in recent days about the efficacy of trading Arab prisoners with blood on their hands for the remains of two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah in July 2006. The Jerusalem Post’s Matthew Wagner weighs in with a piece on what the Jewish sages might have said about this… More ▸

  • Schusterman: Linking the JTS and HUC silos

    A few weeks back, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation announced that it had partnered with the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute for Religion and the Jewish Theological Seminary to create a joint program to provide professional and leadership training to Reform and Conservative rabbis . The Schusterman Rabbinical Fellowship Program – which has named eight… More ▸

  • Some things aren’t relative: Einstein was an atheist

    Michael Weiss argues in Slate that “the temptation to lure Einstein posthumously into the theistic fold is understandable” – but off the mark: Einstein underwent a brief elective immersion in Judaism as a boy, but his parents were secular; his father thought the Abrahamic rituals “ancient superstitions.” Einstein later told New York Rabbi Herbert Goldstein… More ▸

  • Secular leader to perform gay marriages

    At least one Jewish organization is psyched by the California Supreme Court ruling to allow same-sex marriages. The secular Sholem Community and its vegvayzer (that’s Yiddish for leader, apparently), Hershl Hartman, is planning to officiate for same-sex couples. The full release follows: Los Angeles – With the California ban now lifted on gay marriages, The… More ▸

  • Unusual fans for an unusual metal band

    When my heavy-metal friends disclosed their secret pasts, it was a series of revelations: although they were muscly, pierced and dark-alley-nightmare-looking, when they told stories of their childhoods, each was nerdier than the last. Now, Spin Magazine reporter Mordechai Shinefield uncovers the newest of the nü-metal fans’ deep dark secrets: they’re ex-yeshiva boys. Elie Hassan… More ▸

  • Scalia addresses Agudah

    More photos via Yeshiva World News In a keynote address to members of Agudath Israel of America, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia argued that the Constitution allows for more religion in the public square. He was introduced by Orthodox litigator and Harvard Law classmate Nat Lewin, speaking by video from Morocco. The full audio… More ▸