ritual

  • In Time of Crisis, Orthodox Support for Israel is Vocal — and Personal

    This past Shabbat, as is the custom at his synagogue, Rabbi Chaim Shapiro called several individuals from the congregation to join him on the bimah as he made kiddush. Among them was Yonatan Blush, whose grandparents are congregants at Congregation Torah Ohr in Boca Raton, Fla. Even as fighting along Israel’s northern border intensified, Blush… More ▸

  • Birthright Hits a Magic Number As It Strives for Greater Funding

    Birthright israel could do a heck of a lot worse than Stephanie Lowenthal as the 100,000th participant on the group’s free, 10-day, identity-building trips to Israel. The 26-year-old New Yorker is attractive, eloquent and poised — and, as was evident during a news conference Wednesday, she’ll do well as birthright’s public face when the organization… More ▸

  • Jews Looking Outside Synagogues for New Rituals and Life-cycle Events

    Sam Sontag’s parents wanted him to have a bar mitzvah, but they aren’t religious and felt it would be hypocritical to join a congregation. Shalva Sorani is active in her Berkeley, Calif., congregation, but when she faced a mastectomy her friends wanted a female rabbi to lead their all-women healing circle. These are some of… More ▸

  • Mission of Spiritual Sustenance to Beleaguered Biloxi Synagogue

    When Rabbi Sam Kieffer flew over Biloxi, Miss., all he could see below was complete devastation. “From the plane, you see almost every rooftop covered in blue tarp” indicating extensive damage, he says. Kieffer and his wife, Melinda, of B’nai Aviv, a Conservative congregation in Weston, Fla., and Harry Silverman, the southeastern regional director for… More ▸

  • Venezuelan Jews Fleeing Instability Find Sunny Security in South Florida

    On the edge of the Florida Everglades, in an upscale suburb known for its golf courses, towering coconut palms and shady bicycle paths, Vivian Goshen has found her land of milk and honey. For a Jew fleeing economic and political chaos, Weston isn’t such a bad place to be. The Venezuela-born Goshen, her Israeli husband… More ▸

  • In Arizona Desert, Jewish Woman Helps Needy Mexican Immigrants

    Shanti Sellz says she never meant to be a troublemaker. A college student just back from a seven-month biological research project in Ecuador, Sellz, 23, was driving the back roads of southern Arizona on July 9 looking for Mexican migrants in distress when she and a friend stopped to help a family suffering from dehydration…. More ▸