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The Jacket Rule is More Nonsensical

We stirred up quite a controversy with our “Dear Rabbi” column where we offered advice regarding a rule requiring the wearing of a necktie in a local synagogue on the Sabbath in order to receive an aliyah - a Torah honor. A local synagogue which has such a rule took this as a direct criticism […]

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Still Fighting for Bread and Roses

It’s been two weeks since our New York Educator’s Workshop, and I am still amazed at the places we visited and all that was taught by Etta, Ellen, Rabbi Jill Jacobs, and all the participants and presenters in attendance. It occurred to me recently how connected I feel to the labor rights movement, which we discussed as we […]

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Women of the Wall is a Sham

Pretty much the entire Jewish world is talking about Women of the Wall, they have either desecrated one of the worlds holy sites or made it holy by standing up for women’s rights, but I’m not sure that either are correct. Since when do we even allow women to come to the wall in the […]

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Helen Yelen Remembers Ethel Rosenberg

Earlier this month the Yiddish Book Center’s Wexler Oral History Project shared a video of Helen Yelen, who reflected on her time working in a factory alongside Ethel Rosenberg. Rosenberg was executed alongside her husband, Julius Rosenberg, for conspiracy to divulge atomic secrets to the Soviet Union. Ethel Rosenberg’s Jewish identity was forged not by her childhood ties […]

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Dr. Amos Timna, 1948-2013

Savannah’s Jewish community lost a good one last week. Dr. Amos Timna, born in Israel and adored in Savannah for his constant commitment to social and community causes, died last Friday after he fell trimming a tree. He was 64. He was a mensch and by the accounts of his patients, a kind and gentle […]

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Rationalist Judaism Makes No Sense

I’ve decided that I’m not a fan of rationalist Judaism, most because as much as you try to prove and debate the “facts” supporting a Judaic way of life, it still makes no sense. I’m not really sure how one can prove the Torah was written by God and I’m not really sure why it […]

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Politics Derailed the Film about Cyrus the Great

The Cyrus Cylinder is on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, through August 4, 2013. This reminds us… From my post of 1/29/2010: Cyrus was supposed to be the subject of a historical epic film. We wonder what ever happened to that film. Our best guess is that the film industry has […]

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Parve Cholent Sucks: At Least We Can All Agree on One Thing

Parve Cholent  is a crime against humanity and I’m pretty sure that it’s one of the few things that a bulk of the frum community can agree on. As strange as it is, there are people who consider themselves frum and traditional who partake in this travesty and I’m not so sure that anyone who […]

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Paula Deen, Afroculinaria and Kosher Soul

Y’all may have heard about a little brouhaha happening down Savannah way. Yup, the Yenta’s been at ground zero for the carmelized meltdown of Paula Deen, and I had a few words about it in last week’s Civil Society Column at the day job. Though just about everyone and their mama has had something to say about Our […]

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Is ‘World War Z’ A Pro-Israel Film? Movie-Goers in the Gulf Region Share Talmudic Views

Paramount Pictures’ World War Z movie, starring Brad Pitt, imagined that the world was overrun by zombies and that Israel, one of the few countries that knew they were coming, built a wall around itself to prevent zombies from invading. Gulf News has a fairly balanced report about a new zombie movie. Pro-Israel? Some say yes, some say […]

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Jon Stewart and Other Activist Jews in the Egyptian Uprising

As we Americans celebrated our nation’s 237th year of independence and freedom yesterday on the 4th of July, we also kept a close eye on the precarious situation in Egypt. As the final hours of Mohammed Morsi’s presidency wound down, we continued to monitor the volatile situation there, constantly thinking of how the tense events […]

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Help us Save an OTD Neshama

I have been wondering when the frum community was going to start sending letters like this out, it seems as if the frum community has decided to ignore the growing OTD movement, because if you ignore it – it doesn’t really exist. I have also wondered how they will confront this issue. The following letter […]

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North Carolina’s Downward Spiral

I love my home state of North Carolina. I do! Just ask anyone who went to graduate school with me. I would stand against any statements of being “less educated” or “more racist”. I was not going to let anyone tell me my state was less than. But then the midterm elections in 2010 happened… For […]

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Topless and Tznius

With the torches-and-pitchforks rhetoric aimed at Pop Chossid’s article on tznius still hammering in our ears, The Husband and I entered into the anything-goes wonderland of Rainbow Gathering last Friday, several hours before shabbos came in. I now think of the moment we pulled up to the Welcome/Info booth (i.e. two punkers with horrid body odor and […]

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I Stand with Texas Women

It’s hot in Texas.  As someone who has lived above the Mason-Dixon line almost her entire life, it’s easy to forget how hot it is in Texas. Especially in July. When my plane landed Saturday night, the pilot’s voice boomed on the intercom, “howdy, y’all, welcome to Texas. Local time is 7:02pm. It’s 106 degrees […]

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Sosúa: Make a Better World

Greetings, JWA followers and supporters! My name is Miriam Cantor-Stone and I am honored to be one of JWA’s interns this summer. One of the advantages of being an intern is that there’s no rigid job description: you’re set seemingly random assignments, help with various tasks, and are given the opportunity to really explore the […]

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Home Stretch Update. Yitz Needs your Help to Reach his Goal. Sunday July 14, Triathlon Fundraiser: Help Victims of Terror

It’s Sunday, July 14! Please help, don’t delay! Update: Yitz’s dad (that’s me) will swim in the Hudson as part of a relay for Team One. Yitzhak Zahavy’s Team One Family Fundraising Triathlon Event. Help Celebrate Three Lives with Three Sports. Yitz Tells What Happened On October 27, 2002 my platoon in the IDF was attacked […]

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Without Wearing Neckties, Israeli Jewish Adults Attending Synagogue ‘Happy and Healthier’

Even though the ordinary Israeli who attends synagogue does not even own a necktie, a social scientist has “proven” that “Israeli Jewish adults attending synagogue ‘happy and healthier’” In fact the researcher involved already knew the answers before he even conducted his “studies.”Professor Jeff Levin has spent his career “proving” the health benefits of religion […]

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But Why Do They Have to be Rabbis?

In the wake of the Yeshivat Maharat graduation on June 16, many of my right-wing friends have approached me, The Feminist, about Orthodox women entering the rabbinate. “But why do they have to be rabbis?” is one of their frequently asked questions. “Why can’t they just be rebbetzins, or do something else with their lives? I just don’t understand […]

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My Thoroughly Jewish Gender

OkCupid tells me I’m “more aggressive” than other queer women. Not just a little more aggressive – it’s by far my strongest trait, closely followed by “more competitive,” and far outstripping “adventurous,” “extroverted,” and “political,” among other categories. While there’s part of me that’s a little embarrassed to be pegged as aggressive and competitive, there’s […]

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Not Safe For Kashrus (NSFK)

The Star K joined a collection of no-name hechsherim in creating a new criteria for gaining kashrut status. Brands must have an SFK name.  As this photo shows, you can even get a hechsher on bacon donuts, you just need an SFK name on the branding. What’s SFK?  Internet savvy folks know what NSFW means. […]

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Time to Sparkle

I had to do some deep and major digging the last couple of years. Transitions whacked me in the face a-plenty, and the best way I can describe the other side of all that turmoil, trauma and tumultuousness, is with one word: Nothingness. I have come to a point where I feel nothing - emptiness. […]

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Reproductive Rights in Texas: Here I Am.

I am a Jewish-Texan who is supportive of women’s reproductive freedom. That’s quite a description and it’s not easy to be all three in this state. In a state where both the Senate and the House of Representatives are led by the conservative majority, being a Jewish-Texan supporter of women’s reproductive rights is like being […]

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Was Marc Rich Jewish?

Jewish-American billionaire Marc Rich, who invented oil trading and was pardoned by then US president Bill Clinton over what had once been the biggest tax evasion case in US history and busting sanctions with Iran, died on Wednesday from a stroke in Switzerland at 78. Rich fled the Holocaust with his parents for America to […]

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The Yenta, the Conservatives and Attorney General Sam Olens at the JEA

Ooooh, nothing like pissing off the alterkockers before 10am. Yesterday, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens came to speak at the Jewish Educational Alliance, and before I could even start asking him annoying questions, I got into it with two extremely conservative members of the community about Edward Snowden, the NSA and President Obama. “Snowden’s a traitor!” groused one […]

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Non-Congratulations to the New Non-Rabbis

Thirty years ago, in 1983 we were happy to start sending our women Jewish Studies major graduates at the University of Minnesota to train to become rabbis in the Reform movement. We told them to go out and become full head rabbis of synagogues, not assistants or educational directors. Some did. We were proud. This […]

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Crowdsourcing Some Human Decency

Take a look at this dating advice: “decide that you’re going to sit in a position where you can rub her leg and back. Physically pick her up and sit her on your lap. Don’t ask for permission. Be dominant. Force her to rebuff your advances.” Offended? So were we. And so were a lot of […]

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Why Rabbi Avi Weiss is Wrong

Logic, that’s what it is. Rabbi Avi Weiss explains the logic behind his ordination of women to be halachic authorities and leaders. In this post I’m going to expose the flaws in his argument and prove to you why you should never even consider anything Rabbi Avi Weiss says or does, not even for a moment. Rabbi […]

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Gender and the Art of Car Repair

During this morning’s commute into Boston the car started making a weird whoomping sound*. To my untrained ear it sounded like the car was performing some sort of subtle dance with road, where the slight shimmying of my car was a sure sign that the engine had decided to part ways with the rest of […]

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Foil the NSA with these Kippot

The gedolim were right all along. The Internet should be assur! Nothing good comes from it. It is full of depravity, impurity, and lust-invoking materials. It’s even worse than we thought. According to recent reports, the government knows all the naughty sites you’ve been looking at. And you thought no one noticed.  Deleting your cookies […]

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