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  • Flap over Legal Scholar’s Article Misses Real Intermarriage Story

    Harvard University law professor Noah Feldman would have stood on much stronger intellectual ground had he simply sent the following notice to the Sunday Styles section of The New York Times, the usual address for high-powered wedding announcements: Noah Feldman, a nice Jewish boy and graduate of several prestigious institutions, including the Maimonides School in… More ▸

  • What’s a Jewish Writer? Writers Gather to Debate

    Among those jostling for room in crowded conference halls in downtown Jerusalem were a Serbian novelist, a Russian short story writer, an Israeli poet and a German playwright. They were among some 100 writers who gathered from across the world to begin a conversation on what it means to be a Jewish writer. Polish-born writer… More ▸

  • Converting Patrilineal Jews Requires Special Sensitivity

    Most young adults with non-Jewish mothers who seek conversion end up in the Conservative movement. That makes sense: Many were raised in Reform, Reconstructionist or Renewal communities that accept patrilineality, and then their parents, or they themselves, switched affiliation to a Conservative congregation that requires the conversion of those with non-Jewish mothers. But Reform and… More ▸

  • Hopes Rising Along with New Building for Russian Reform Synagogue

    According to the official annals of the Bolshevik Revolution, on Oct. 25, 1917, the cruiser Aurora signaled the storming of the czar’s palace in St. Petersburg by firing a signal blank round from its bow gun. Ninety years after that historic event, the city’s Reform Jewish congregation is about to start its own small revolution… More ▸

  • Decision to Admit Gay Rabbis Sparks Debate over Pluralism

    In announcing that gay and lesbian students would be allowed to apply for rabbinical training at the Jewish Theological Seminary, Chancellor-elect Arnold Eisen sounded the movement s popular refrain about halachic pluralism — the notion that competing interpretations of Jewish law can coexist under one roof. Eisen was seeking to mollify those who have resisted… More ▸

  • Newsweek Ranking of Top Rabbis Sets Jewish Tongues to Wagging

    Forbes magazine may be famed for its annual ranking of the 400 wealthiest Americans, but Newsweek is giving that list of high rollers a run for its money with a list of America s top holy rollers. Topping the list of the country’s most influential rabbis is Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center… More ▸

  • Multilingual Seder in Paris Helps Bridge the Gaps

    At the Kehilat Gesher seder here, guests are free to participate in almost any language they want. The French-American liberal synagogue, serving some 145 families in greater Paris at two locations, for the past three years has been conducting its festive Passover meal in more than 10 languages. Among the tongues spoken: English, French, Hebrew,… More ▸

  • Under Chavez’s Rule, Jews Fear for Future in Venezuela

    The floor of the small synagogue in the center of Coro, the oldest Jewish house of prayer in Venezuela, is covered in a thick layer of sand intended to recall the Children of Israel’s time in the Sinai Desert. It is also, however, a symbol of the transience of Jewish settlement in South America. Jewish… More ▸

  • For Children of Intermarriage, Decisive Influences Can Vary

    Robin Margolis was in her 30s when she found out her late mother was Jewish. It was 1984 and she was cleaning out her mother’s closet when she found a bag of old documents. The woman she knew as Marie Margolis was born Marie Levine. The revelation, though sudden, was somehow comforting. "I’d been drifting… More ▸

  • Behind the Headlines Israel Closes Diaspora Affairs Office:

    The Israeli government office charged with overseeing the country’s relations with the Jewish Diaspora dwindled from an office overseen by a Cabinet minister to an office without a minister — or even any workers. Opened seven years ago, the Diaspora Affairs Department was shut down last month after no minister was appointed to lead it… More ▸