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  • Let My Parents Go: Birthright Parents Visit Israel

    Standing in the sparse shade of a Cyprus tree in the Old City, a group of parents gathered closer to hear the story of how the Tribes of Israel became the Jewish people in these same ancient streets 3,000 years ago. Sara Silverman, a single mother from Louisville, Ky., had longed to visit Israel since… More ▸

  • Reform, Conservative Seminaries in Historic Partnership to Train Clergy

    The largest Conservative and Reform seminaries are partnering in a rabbinic training program that officials from both schools say is the first to provide joint instruction to future clergy from different movements. The program, funded by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, will provide eight students from the Jewish Theological Seminary and Hebrew Union… More ▸

  • Ujc, Jewish Agency Press Olmert on Conversion Issue

    Diaspora Jews are stepping up pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to intervene in a dispute in Israel over conversions to Judaism. Leaders of the United Jewish Communities federation umbrella organization sent a sharply worded letter to Olmert on July 9 urging him to assign his Cabinet secretary “to oversee conversion.” At issue in… More ▸

  • Ad Campaign for Conservative Jewish Weddings Strikes Chord in Israel

    In an online game, prospective Israeli brides and bridegrooms construct their dream wedding — everything from venue to guest list to food. Finally the punch line arrives: What kind of ceremony would they choose? For most Israelis, there is little choice. In a country without civil marriage, an Orthodox ceremony performed by the Chief Rabbinate… More ▸

  • Finding a Jewish Connection at a Family Camp in Hungary

    A friend told me recently about an article he had read proposing that one way to encourage children to eat salad is to drizzle a dab of dressing on top. This way, they would associate healthy eating with something positive rather than the parental harangue, "Because it’s good for you." I was reminded of this… More ▸

  • Weeks Away from Aliyah’s End, Falash Mura Advocates Lobby for More

    With the final planeload of Ethiopian immigrants scheduled to land in Israel early next month, advocates of Falash Mura aliyah are hoping a last-ditch intervention by Israel’s prime minister will extend immigration rights to thousands more. Former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Meir Shamgar held a closed-door meeting with Ehud Olmert in late May in a… More ▸

  • News Brief

    Israel’s Tourism Ministry rebuked El Al for making an issue of a passenger’s conversion to Judaism. A ministry spokesman said “it viewed in a very negative light the disparaging, hurtful treatment of tourists,” the Jerusalem Post reported May 23. A passenger boarding an El Al flight last week as a guest of the ministry was… More ▸

  • News Brief

    The beleaguered head of Israel’s state Conversion Authority was fired. Rabbi Haim Druckman’s contract will not be renewed when it expires at the end of next month, the Prime Minister’s Office announced May 22. The office cited the rabbi’s age, 75, as the reason — civil servants have mandatory retirement at the age of 67…. More ▸

  • Meeting Unites Far-flung Communities Seeking Place in the Jewish World

    Miguel Segura Aguilo’s ancestors were executed as Jews five centuries ago in Spain, but he is not welcome in his local synagogue today. Gershom Sizomu, who will be ordained this month in Los Angeles as a Conservative rabbi, dreams of setting up the first yeshiva for African Jews in his Abayudayan village in East Uganda…. More ▸

  • Israeli Court Revokes 15-year-old Conversion, Sparking Uproar

    A recent rabbinic court ruling in Israel is prompting thousands of converts in the country to worry if their conversions to Judaism are at risk of being revoked. The ruling in the city of Ashdod retroactively annulled the conversion of a woman conducted 15 years ago after she acknowledged that she is not religiously observant… More ▸