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  • 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 ▸

  • JTS Illustrates a Modern Approach to Halacha with Decision on Gays

    Around the time of my ordination at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1985, many people skeptical of the ordination of women asked, “What’s next? The ordination of gays and lesbians”? The question angered me. After all, the issue of embracing the full equality of women directly affected 50 percent of the population or, I could… 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 ▸

  • 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 ▸

  • News Brief

    Berlin’s Jewish community elected a female rabbi to a pulpit position. This marks the first time in Berlin that a female rabbi has been recognized by the official community. More ▸

  • Conservative Decision on Gays Will Be a Watershed, Either Way

    Whatever decision the Conservative movement reaches next week on its approach to homosexuality, it will be a watershed. The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, the movement’s highest legal authority, is expected to vote on five separate teshuvot, or responsa, that range from a complete overturn of the traditional prohibition on homosexual intercourse to a… More ▸

  • Reforming Europe Progressive Judaism Sees Rebirth on Continent Where It Was Spawned

    Sarah Rubenstein, an American fashion designer living in Florence, recalls with bemusement an incident she feels conveys the perception of Reform Judaism in Italy. A rabbi from her adopted synagogue, Shir Hadash, one of only three Reform congregations in Italy, was attending a Chanukah party incognito at the Great Synagogue of Florence last year. The… More ▸

  • Reforming Europe the Fall — and Rise — of Reform in Germany

    They were as German as their non-Jewish neighbors. They loved Goethe and Mendelssohn. Their synagogues had organs like those in the best churches. “Yekkes” — German Jews, the originators of Reform Judaism — were, and are, proud of their heritage. Much of that heritage was lost in the Holocaust. For the most part, the few… More ▸