israel reform jews

Israel Inaugurates New Mixed-Prayer Plaza


About a dozen women sit underneath a large Israeli flag at Judaism’s holiest site, the Western Wall. They’ve been here close to 24 hours, and are getting tired. They are members of Women of the Wall (WOW), a 25-year-old group of women from all denominations that wants equality for women at the Western Wall. Currently […]

MK Calderon a Hit in Australian Media


During the current Knesset recess, MK Ruth Calderon (Yesh Atid) has been on a trip to Australia – and has found herself to be a big media hit. Interviewed by numerous media outlets, Calderon has received positive press as a woman who is “bringing a breath of fresh air” to many of the issues that […] Newsletter Issue # 82 – June 26, 2013

Catherine Afarian calls herself a “love child of the ‘70s.” Her mother discovered that she was pregnant after she had broken off a relationship of less than a year. Afarian has never met her biological father, but her mother always said he came from a big Italian family. In late 2010, though, Afarian learned that a […]

Christian Churches Back Jews Facing Anti-Semitism in Hungary

When Hungarian radical right-wingers rallied against a Jewish conference in Budapest in early May, a well-known Protestant pastor hid behind the stage while his wife stepped up to the podium to denounce Jews and Israel. Lorant Hegedus could have preached the same anti-Semitism as his wife, a deputy for the populist Jobbik party in parliament. […]

Holier Than Thou – How Religious Is Too Religious?

Can you be too religious? Ought one to deprecate a person whose religious observance seems “Over the top?”  Are the terms “Ultra-Kosher,” or “Ultra-Orthodox,” really objective? I always found it interesting how my observant grandparents and great grandparents were simply called “Jewish.” When Reform and Conservative Judaism made its debut my observant parents were called […]

War on Western Wall Reaches Court

The Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, women’s organizations and various pluralistic movements have filed a petition with the High Court of Justice on against the prime minister and the Western Wall Heritage Foundation. The groups are demanding that seculars, Reform Jews and women be given equal representation in the management of the Western […]

Reform Groups Demand ‘Reform’ of Long-Standing Kotel Policies

Reform and secular groups filed a petition with the High Court Sunday, demanding the removal of Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich as Rabbi of the Kotel and the Holy Places. The petition also requests that authority over the Kotel be removed from the organization, and that a new one be set up to officially “care” for the […]

Reform Jews at Odds with AIPAC Over Penalizing Palestinians for UN Move

Two major American Jewish groups are at odds over the prospect of penalties for the Palestinians in the wake of their enhanced United Nations status. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee in recent weeks has backed two congressional bids to at least shut down the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington in the wake of […]

Gay Pride, but Where’s Your Jewish Pride?

San Francisco’s Castro District does not have a gay pride week; it is one ongoing display of gay pride. The “coming out of the closet” scenario is such a non-issue in the liberal atmosphere that it is not even clear if the term exists anymore or if everyone was simply always out of the closet. […] Newsletter Issue # 32 – May 30, 2012

Two bronze sculptures created by artist Sigalit Landau have been stolen from the yard of an art collector in Herzliya. The two statues, “Vomitus-Narcisus,” created in 2007, and “Stranded on a Watermelon in the Dead Sea,” from 2009, were both placed in the collector’s yard during the past year. Each of the sculptures, which were […]

Hotels Discriminating Against Reform Jews?

Representatives of the non-Orthodox Jewish movements in Israel have complained to the tourism minister and the minister of public diplomacy and diaspora affairs against Israel’s hotels, which they claim are systematically discriminating against tourist groups from abroad by not allowing them to hold prayer services according to their customs. In a letter sent by Gilad […]

Israeli Official Defends Move to Reduce Women’s Hours on Haredi Radio Station

The chairman of the Second Television and Radio Authority Tuesday rejected criticism of a vote by the authority’s council to reduce the number of hours that women are on the air on ultra-Orthodox radio station Kol Barama. According to the decision made two weeks ago, every week the station will have women on the air […]

Holiday Of Lights

It’s a little ironic that Chanukah started as a holiday celebrating getting rid of foreign ideas, because in my mind, Chanukah is Christmas for Jews. Wait- that’s a little too cynical. Let me explain. I’m not Conservative or Reform. I was raised Yeshivish and still practice that way. It’s just that the two holidays are […]

Jewish vote not a ‘problem’ for Obama, polls show

National surveys conducted by Gallup International show that American Jews have approved of Obama’s job performance throughout his presidency by an average of 14 percentage points more than the rest of the American electorate. This gap undercuts a frequently made, but factually erroneous, claim that Obama has a policy toward Israel that alienates Jewish voters, […]

U.S. Jews warn Israel not to get too cozy with Glenn Beck

The warm welcome extreme right-wing media personality Glenn Beck has receiving in Israel has led to criticism of the American pundit by Jewish leaders in New York. Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, told Haaretz he believed that Beck was very extreme and controversial even among right-wing groups in the United […]

Some Reform rabbis doubt new movement chief’s devotion to Israel

NEW YORK – A group of Reform rabbis and activists has launched a campaign protesting the nomination of Rabbi Richard Jacobs as the new president of the Union for Reform Judaism, casting doubt on Jacobs’ devotion to Israel. Ads taken out by the group in several Jewish weeklies in the United States state that Jacobs […]

The new leader of Reform Judaism: A Zionist and lover of Israel

The new leader of Reform Judaism: A Zionist and lover of Israel

Reuben Jacob (Richard) Jacobs, known to all as Rick, will only take up the position of president of the Reform Movement in the summer of 2012. But the report of his appointment as head of the largest denomination in American Jewry – estimated to be some 1.5-million strong – sparked a wave of praise and […]

US rabbis speak out against rabbis’ letter

US rabbis speak out against rabbis' letter

The storm surrounding the rabbis’ letter continues: It started with hundreds of rabbis signing a manifesto prohibiting Israeli Jews from renting out apartments to non-Jews which was soon followed by a counter letter signed by renowned haredi rabbis. Now it’s the turn of rabbis from across the Atlantic to send in their response. Some 490 […]

History timeline of Jewish life in Poland

1098 Information about the Jews in Poland has began to be publicize in Polish chronicles 1170 Warsaw Jews administered the Polish mint. Many coins had Hebrew inscriptions. 1203 Jews were granted freedom to have their own land in Galicia. 1264 The General Charter of Jewish Liberties known as the Statute of Kalisz was issued by […]

History Timeline of Jewish People in America

History Timeline of Jewish People in America

1630 Holland captures Pernambuco, Brazil from the Portuguese and invites Jewish settlement. A significant Jewish community develops in Recife.  (Recife is the 4th largest metropolitan area in Brazil with 4,136,506 inhabitants. 1649 Solomon Franco was a merchant, who was granted a weekly stipend by the Puritan authorities on the condition that he leave on the […]

Infusing Our Schools With Ahavat Yisrael

I have what may be described as a more “diverse” background than many other Rabbis who serve as principals of Orthodox Day Schools. I am a Baal Teshuvah who grew up in the Reform movement, briefly flirted (as an 18 year old) with Reconstructionism, started studying at the Conservative Rabbinical School in Los Angeles (where […]

Can’t Get No Traction

In my last post, I quoted the late director of the American Reform movement in Israel, David Forman, as stating that Reform’s “inroads into Israeli society have been marginal at best.” Back in 2005, the same gentleman estimated the number of dues-paying Reform Jews in Israel to be about 5,000, and, rest assured, there hasn’t […]

One People, Two Worlds

An Orthodox Rabbi and a Reform Rabbi in search of Common Groundby Rabbi Yosef Reinman and Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch After being introduced by a mutual friend in the winter of 2000, Reform Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch and Orthodox Rabbi Yosef Reinman embarked on an unprecedented eighteen-month e-mail correspondence on the fundamental principles of Jewish faith and […]

Safe Among the Germans

Liberated Jews After World War IIby Ruth Gay This book tells the story of why a quarter-million Jews, survivors of death camps and forced labor, sought refuge in Germany after World War II. Those who had ventured to return to Poland after liberation soon found that their homeland had become a new killing ground where […]

This is My God

The Jewish Way of Lifeby Herman Wouk Explains Jewish belief; Jewish worship; the meanings of festivals and holy days; attitudes toward diet, marriage, maturation and death; Jewish history and heritage; the importance of the Torah and Talmud; the differences between Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Judaism; and relationships of Jews to Israel and America.(318 Pages) ‘Anyone […]

When I Lived in Modern Times

Tel Aviv-called “the white city” because of its many Bauhaus buildings-is the setting of Linda Grant’s novel about Palestine under the British Mandate. Evelyn Sert, a twenty-year-old Jewish girl from England, comes to Palestine in 1946 to be part of the great project of building a Jewish homeland. After a summer on a kibbutz, she […]

Fixer, The by Bernard Malamud

Bernard Malamud Yakov Bok, the “fixer” in Bernard Malamud’s 1966 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, is an impoverished Jewish handyman in pre-Revolutionary Russia who finds himself the victim of a blood libel charge. He is accused of killing a Christian child before Passover to obtain the blood his accusers believed Jews needed to make matzah. During his […]

A Different Night: The Family Participation Haggadah

Noam Zion Publisher: Shalom Hartman Institute This Haggadah offers a rich feast of story and insight for anyone’s Seder Table. It can be used year after year and remain fresh. I look forward to using it with my family” – Rabbi Harold Kushner (Conservative) Author, When Bad Things Happen to Good People This is not […]

A Night to Remember – The Haggadah of Contemporary Voices

Haggadahs-R-Us, Noam Zion (editor), Mishael Zion (editor), Michel Kichka (illustrator) Publisher: Zion Holiday Publications This one is different! — And it can make a real difference at your Seder. 156 pages full color, soft cover Table Talk. Bring this haggadah to the table and turn your Seder into a lively exchange of ideas. Full of […]

Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory

Deborah Lipstadt Since the publication of Denying the Holocaust in 1993, Deborah Lipstadt, a professor at Emory University, has refused to take part in debates with deniers. To do so, she argues, gives them the legitimacy they crave as “another viewpoint.” The fact that the Holocaust occurred is not a matter of opinion and should […]