non orthodox jews

Is ‘Yeshivish’ a Language, a Dialect Like ‘Ebonics,’ or Something Else Altogether?

When do distinct dialects become so separated they can be considered separate languages? How would the question, which is often raised in connection to the “Black English” found spoken by African Americans, apply to its Judeo-English cousin colloquially known as “Yeshivish”? The form of English commonly spoken in American Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox communities- replete with […]

Are Personal Lubricants Kosher?

The Guardian reported (“Kosher lube puts oral sex on the menu for Orthodox Jews”) that yes, now some personal lubricants are kosher. The US-made Wet range of lubes now has eight lines that have been given a religious stamp of approval, including its “Ecstasy” product. This means that rabbis from the Rabbinical Council of California have inspected Wet’s 52,000 sq […] 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 […]

A New Chabad House Planned for West Boca

Chabad of West Boca Raton, an Orthodox synagogue known for its outreach to unaffiliated Jews, broke ground last week on a 1.2-acre parcel on State Road 7, on the south side of the Shoppes at Boca Greens. Chabad’s rabbi, Zalman Bukiet, remembers moving to Boca Raton 24 years ago with Rabbi Moshe Denburg and their […] Newsletter Issue # 81 – June 19, 2013

Five years ago, Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky and Rabbi Yerachmiel Benjaminson joined forces and Chayolei Tzivos Hashem, a thoughtfully designed educational and motivational system geared specifically for Lubavitcher children. Chayolei Tzivos Hashem has become a household word for its 4,832 members spanning 232 cities in 29 countries. Building on that success, Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch and Tzivos Hashem have […]

L.A. Rabbis Publish Open Letter Urging Calm and Respect at Western Wall

A group of rabbinical leaders in Los Angeles spanning the denominational spectrum published an open letter Thursday calling for calm at the Western Wall, as tensions are expected there this Sunday when Women of the Wall hold their monthly prayer service. The Task Force on Jewish Unity, comprised of Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Progressive and Reconstructionist […]

Finally, a Chillul Hashem Caused by Modern Orthodox People

In a rare moment of achdus, Ultra-Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews rejoiced at the news that a Modern Orthodox group had finally made a chillul hashem. Apparently, the Yeshiva of Flatbush class trip took a detour when the students and chaperone were kicked of the plane to Atlanta for not cooperating or listening to the general […]

Majority of Israelis Back Women of Wall

The majority of Israeli Jews support the Women of the Wall group, according to the latest monthly Peace Index poll released by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) and Tel Aviv University following recent altercations at the Western Wall and legal rulings on the limits of public prayer there. Israelis were surveyed on their attitudes towards […] Newsletter Issue # 76 – May 1, 2013

Poland’s prime minister said his government has drafted new regulations that would reduce the suffering of animals during slaughter, including for the needs of religious groups like Jews and Muslims. Poland is covered by European Union laws allowing for ritual slaughter, but the country’s own regulations say that an animal must be stunned before slaughter, […]

Australian Jews Debate Media Role in Abuse Cases

A confrontation between a rabbi’s wife and the brother-in-law of sexual abuse victims’ advocate Manny Waks last week highlighted a divide between two views within Australian Jewry over the proper role of the media in cases of sexual abuse. Waks, who heads the Tzedek advocacy organization, claimed on Facebook on Monday that Peninah Feldman, the […]

NYT Op-Ed: The Orthodox Surge

In Midwood, Brooklyn, there’s a luxury kosher grocery store called Pomegranate serving the modern Orthodox and Hasidic communities. It looks like a really nice Whole Foods. There’s a wide selection of kosher cheeses from Italy and France, wasabi herring, gluten-free ritual foods and nicely toned wood flooring. The snack section is impressive. There’s a long […] Newsletter Issue # 70 – March 6, 2013

The Besht Center held its first ever event for women of the community. Over 60 women attended the event which was on the topic of communication within marriage. Mrs. Bronya Shaffer gave an inspiring speech covering many different aspects of how couples relate and passed on some tips to enhance the communication we already have […]

Another First for Barclays Center: A Concert of Jewish Music

The arena he built in Brooklyn has hosted concerts of hip-hop, Latin salsa and reggae, not to mention performances by Dylan, Streisand and the Rolling Stones, but when the genre chosen was Jewish music, Bruce C. Ratner decided to take charge himself. Mr. Ratner, a real estate developer who cut his musical teeth on cantorial […]

The Times v. the Orthodox Male Control Over the Non-Sacred Space at the Western Wall

The Times is helping to stir up anti-Orthodox political sentiment in Israel by focusing in a report on the denial of rights to women at the Western Wall. Talmudic Analysis In fact the area of prayer at the Wall is not a holy site in formal Judaism. It is outside the location of the ancient […]

Rabbis Offer Plan for Non-Orthodox Prayer at Wall

Two leading national-religious rabbis have expressed support for accommodating non-Orthodox prayer at the Western Wall. Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, dean of the Hesder Yeshiva in Petah Tikva, said one solution could be to designate different hours for Orthodox and non-Orthodox prayer. “Jerusalem is at the heart of the Jewish people, and if we want all of […]

Netanyahu to Jewish Agency: Find Solution for Non-Orthodox Women at Western Wall

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed the Jewish Agency to find a solution for non-Orthodox Jewish female groups wishing to pray at one of Judaism’s holiest sites. An official said Tuesday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Jewish Agency, to look into the matter. The official spoke anonymously according to government […]

State Must Recognize Non-Orthodox Denominations

Leading national-religious personality Rabbi Yuval Cherlow has called for state recognition of non-Orthodox Jewish denominations as a means of preventing their alienation from the Jewish state. Cherlow added, however, that this recognition should be political in nature and not on the basis of Jewish law. Cherlow, the dean of the Hesder Yeshiva of Petah Tikva, […]

Video Highlights ‘Orthodox Jewish All-Stars’

A new video released by the “Jew in the City” initiative attempts to publicize “the message that Orthodox Jews can be funny, approachable, educated, pro-women and open-minded—and that Orthodox Judaism links the Jewish people to a deep and beautiful heritage that is just as relevant today as it ever was.” The video, which can be […]

‘Cultural Jews’ Define Themselves on Their Own Terms

An Ipsos Internet poll of 1,000 American Jews reveals that one in six are purposefully looking for a way to express themselves Jewishly and engage with their Jewish identity outside of affiliation with a synagogue. The study, released by the Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring, debunks the myth that American Jews either identify culturally or religiously as […]

Rabbi Yitzhak Spotted Using iPhone, Despite Ban

A recent picture of a rabbi in a compromising position that scandalized the haredi community was finally explained on Sunday. Rabbi Amnon Yitzhak, renowned for his outreach work among Sephardi Jews, was photographed several weeks ago holding what looked suspiciously like an iPhone. This was surprising, to say the least, since the device has been […]

Chief Rabbi: Better Not to Pray Than to Pray Reform

Non-Orthodox groups have reacted angrily to Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar’s comments about them in an interview given to the Makor Rishon newspaper ahead of Rosh Hashana. Asked whether it would be better for a secular Jew who happened to be away from home on Rosh Hashana to pray with a Reform congregation or by himself […]

What are Jewish Values?

If you hang around liberal and non-Orthodox Jews for a bit you start hearing some key phrases over and over again. Tikkun Olam and Jewish Values are two that come to mind and I’ve been wondering lately about Jewish Values. Mind you, these phrases are spoken  without the context of religion, God, Torah or halacha […] Newsletter Issue # 45 – August 29, 2012 Newsletter Issue # 45 - August 29, 2012

Two Torah scrolls, one complete and one incomplete, were found in Poland’s Sokolow Podlaski district. The scrolls found are believed to have belonged to a synagogue in nearby Wegrow. Local policeman brought the scrolls to the municipal offices in Sokolow and gave them to Marcin Pasik, head of the Sokolow Commune. A Facebook page is […]

Patrilineal “Dissent”: Solving the Jewish Status Problem

This is the question I was presented with from the website Jewish Values Online. Over the past few years I have answered dozens of values-based questions from this website. I haven’t dodged a single question, and I’ve attempted to respond to each questioner in a timely fashion. Admittedly, I have procrastinated writing a response to […]

Are You a Non-Practicing Orthodox Jew?

I was so tired yesterday when I finally got back home from the sheva brachos in NY that I hopped in bed at 3:30 and slept for 16 hours straight. I now got the gist of what some of my friends do and call the ultimate shabbos shluff. I know quite a few folks who […]

What is the Penalty for Eating a Non-Kosher Hot Dog?

Here we go. We knew this would not be pretty when we saw that ambulance chasing lawyers were suing Hebrew National. It is a desecration of the reputation of Judaism. Now the whole premise of Kosher foods is coming under close scrutiny and it is not pretty. Because the secret is that today there is no […]

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. […]

Masorti Groups to Avoid Hotels Denying Torahs

The Rabbinical Assembly, an international association of Conservative rabbis, announced last week at its annual conference in Atlanta that it would be advising all Conservative and Masorti Jewish groups to patronize only those hotels that make their Torah scrolls available for them to use. Masorti is the name given to the Conservative movement outside of […] Newsletter Issue # 31 – May 23, 2012

Temple Jacob in Hancock, Michigan will mark its centennial anniversary with a 3 day celebration August 9–12, 2012. Preparations are under way for this once in a lifetime weekend of festivities to honor Temple Jacob’s 100 year history and launch its second century. A Centennial Campaign has been organized to ensure the financial stability of […]

Rabbis Pass Hotel ‘Equality of Treatment Resolution’

A new resolution was passed by the Rabbinical Assembly, the international association of Conservative rabbis, at its National Convention in Atlanta earlier this month that calls upon Israeli hotels to treat all denominations of Judaism equally. Over the past year, there has been an increasing number of cases when Conservative Jewish groups have wished to […]