Newsletter Issue # 16 February 08, 2012

A cache of ancient Jewish scrolls from northern Afghanistan has recently come to light is creating a storm among scholars who say the landmark find could reveal an undiscovered side of medieval Jewry. The 150 or more documents, date back from the 11th century, were found in Afghanistan’s Samangan province and most likely smuggled out – a sorry but common fate for the impoverished and war-torn country’s antiquities.

Ahead of Super Bowl on Sunday, the Yeshiva University produced a 35-minute halftime show that featured three professors who share their thoughts on the spiritual side of sports. You could say it’s the Modern Orthodox take on Tebow’s evangelical Christian beliefs. The Y.U. Torah Halftime show is the brainchild of Moshe Isaacson, Y.U.’s director of interactive marketing. He said that the aha moment came two months ago, when someone told him that Tebow etches Bible verses into his under-eye paint during games.

To encourage more Jews to send their students to day school, several Jewish day schools are cutting their tuition in half. And another school, in Oakland, Calif., grew its endowment 15-fold. And a third, in Houston, succeeded in recruiting families from as far away as New Jersey, Venezuela and Israel. These institutions embraced bold, even risky moves in an effort to generate revenue and boost enrollment, which has been dropping at many schools outside the ultra-Orthodox community.

During an inaugural gala last January, the Chabad Russian Center of South Florida unveiled plans to build a $7.7 million Jewish Russian Community Center in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida. The 35,000 square foot Jewish Russian Community Center will be the base for the comprehensive educational and social services outreach programming Chabad offers the community, including popular classes covering everything from practical Judaism to Kabbalah. The programs are conducted in Russian and incorporate Russian culture into their events, providing the immigrant community links to their home countries, cultures and customs.

The death of a loved one can be a stressful, anxiety-ridden time. When Sharon Rosen’s mother passed away in July 2009 she had the same eye-opening realization that many survivors do during the week of shivah. Overwhelmed with sadness and the reality of her loss, Rosen experienced planning a funeral and coordination of shivah in her home for the first time. During the shivah period, Rosen felt like she took on the job of logistics director and wasn’t able to be fully in the moment to reflect on her loss. She was frustrated with all of the planning taking place for the shivah at her home. Even though friends were taking care of many things, it was still a hectic, difficult time for her.

This year’s Super Bowl Sunday will place two major Jewish philanthropists against each other. The New York Giants are co-owned by the Tisch family and the New England Patriots are owned by the Kraft family. Jacob Kamaras provided the “who’s who” for both families and which Jewish organizations they all lead. In the Giants’ owners’ box you have “film and television producer Steve Tisch, as the team’s chairman and executive vice president. Bob’s brother Larry, former president of the UJA Federation of New York and former board chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Jim’s wife, Merryl, chairs the board of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty.”

And is Jesus Kosher? That question automatically demands an absolute answer. It’s a total no-brainer. No, Jesus was not and is not Kosher. There are thousands, perhaps millions of reasons that Jesus cannot be considered kosher — meaning in a narrow sense,  observing Jewish food laws or satisfying the requirements of Jewish law and in a wider sense, “roper or acceptable to Jews.

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