reform jewish

How an Asian Convert to Judaism became Unlikely Leader of Unusual Synagogue


What do a Japanese rabbi, a Korean church and a Chinese restaurant have in common? For Temple Isaiah of Great Neck, on Long Island, N.Y., the answer’s no punch line. The three components have all played a crucial role in the congregation’s colorful 46-year history. For 37 years, this Reform congregation held the majority of […]

Moscow Mayoral Candidate did not Praise Holocaust, Jewish Staffers Say


Jewish staffers for the campaign of Moscow mayoral candidate Alexei Navalny denied reports that he praised the Holocaust. “To my knowledge, he never made the statement attributed to him,” Maxim Katz, deputy director of the Navalny campaign for the Sept. 8 election, told JTA on Tuesday. Katz, 29, a Moscow politician who lived in Israel […]

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 […]

Come Visit Non-Orthodox Kotel Section


Bayit Yehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett, who is also the Minister of Religions, and Minister of Jerualem and the Diaspora, among his other portfolios, issued a call to members of Reform, Conservative, and other non-Orthodox streams, to visit the new prayer section that the Ministry of Religions has set up next to the Kotel Plaza. “Today […]

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 […]

Hiddush Advocates for Israeli Tennis Team’s Punishment


On Thursday, a press release was sent by Hiddush, an organization for religious freedom and equality, to the International Tennis Federation to request that they respect the decision made by the Israel Davis Cup team not to compete on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. The team was scheduled to play against Belgium on Yom […]

Aaron Panken Named President of Reform Movement’s Rabbinical School

Rabbi Aaron Panken has been elected president of the U.S. Reform movement’s rabbinical school. The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion announced the decision made by its board of governors on Wednesday. Panken, 49, of Mamaroneck, N.Y., has taught rabbinic and Second Temple literature at HUC-JIR in New York since 1995. He has served as […]

Jewish Agency, WJC Call for Outside Intervention in Claims Conference

The Claims Conference must be reformed under the aegis of outside bodies, Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky and World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder declared on Tuesday evening. Their comments came at the end of the first day of the Claims Conference’s annual board of directors meeting in New York. In a statement read at […]

Reformist Candidate Chosen to Head Hungarian Jewry

Newly elected head of Hungary’s Jewish community, Andras Heisler, pledged to fight corruption following his victory last week. Heisler was elected as the President of the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities (Mazsihisz), succeeding president Peter Feldmajer, who resigned his position in May after losing a no confidence vote. Mazsihisz officially represents the interests of Hungarian […]

U.S. Senate Passes Immigration Bill with Provisions for Jewish Camp Counselors, Religious Refugees

The immigration overhaul passed in the U.S Senate includes provisions that protect a visa program used by Jewish summer camps and that makes permanent a law that facilitates immigration for victims of religious persecution. The bipartisan bill passed Thursday by the Senate, 68-32, creates a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented workers […] 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 […]

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 […]

Progressive Rabbi to Head Center-Right Ticket in Argentinian National Election

Rabbi Sergio Bergman will lead the ticket for the center-right PRO Party in Argentina’s national elections. The PRO Party confirmed the decision on Saturday hours before the deadline for parties to present candidates for the October vote. Bergman, a member of the Buenos Aires municipal Legislature, will head the list for the National Lower House. […]

Proud, Yet Ambivalent: Immigration Reform, Pride and the LGBT Community

The very first Pride Parade took place on June 28th, 1970 in commemoration of the first anniversary of the Stonewall raid in New York City. The parade, almost a year in the making, was an opportunity for gay men and women to step out of the proverbial closet and respond as a community to the […]

Rabbinate Introduces ‘Bourekas Reform’

After the marriage registration reform , here comes the “bourekas revolution”: The Chief Rabbinate of Israel has issued new kosher procedures, obliging manufacturers of one of the country’s most popular pastries to design them in uniform and fixed shapes to prevent confusion between dairy and parve (neither meat nor milk) products. From now on, each […]

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 […]

Discover Mindful Jewish Meditation

The benefits of Jewish meditation are accessible to every type of Jew through acts of Jewish piety. People tend to think that the Orthodox and Hasidic Jews are really pious, the Conservative Jews less so, and the Reform and Reconstructionist even less. Not so. Piety is individual. You decide how pious you wish to be. […]

U.S. Reform Jewish Seminary Reconsidering Policy Against Intermarried Students

Should the Reform movement ordain intermarried rabbis? Hebrew Union College, which is the seminary of America’s largest Jewish denomination, is considering altering its current policy, which does not allow admission to its rabbinical, cantorial or education schools of applicants who are married to or partnered with non-Jews. A growing chorus of voices — including newly-ordained […]

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. […] 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, […]

Canada to Build National Holocaust Monument

The Canadian government announced plans to build a national Holocaust memorial in the nation’s capital. The monument “will be a testament to the importance of ensuring that the memory of the Holocaust is never lost,” Tim Uppal, minister of state for democratic reform, said in a statement Tuesday following remarks at the Canadian War Museum, […]

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 […]

US Conservative, Reform Leaders Praise Kotel Plan

American Orthodox organizations offered muted responses to a proposal announced yesterday by Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky to create an egalitarian prayer area for non-Orthodox services at the Western Wall. Speaking to The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday, Sharansky said that he saw no reason not to implement a solution in which “all the Wall will […]

Outline Sees Mixed Public Praying at Kotel

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky has drafted an outline for equality between men and women and between Orthodox, Reform and Conservative Jews at the Western Wall plaza. Sharansky will submit his recommendations in the coming days to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who asked him to find a solution to the issue. The suggested solution, which […]

Free Passover Seder Haggadah Online Download

Here are several of the best places you can go online to download a Passover Haggadah for your Seder. The Jewish Agency Haggadah Links Online Haggadah Links Wikisource Hebrew Haggadah Page The Union Haggadah (CCAR Classical Reform) Haggadah According to the Rite of Yemen: with the Arabic-Hebrew The Kol Menachem Haggadah: Nusach Haarizal, by […]

Reform Rabbi Peter Rubinstein Resigns from Central Synagogue

Rabbi Peter Rubinstein informed congregants of Manhattan’s Central Synagogue that he will step down from his post as senior rabbi at the end of June, 2014. “What will be a 23-year season of my rabbinate at Central Synagogue has been exquisite and poignant,” Rubinstein wrote in an email circulated among congregants on March 13. “But […]

Seculars Can Visit on Shabbat

If you’re a secular Jew and have religious friends, you’ve probably been invited by them occasionally to “do Shabbat in our house.” Up until now, if you accepted the invitation, you would have had to arrive at their home before the start of Shabbat, but a new halachic ruling aims to change that. The ruling, […]

Historic Rivals Unite to Save Jewish History

Cambridge University Library and the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries have announced their first ever joint fundraising campaign to purchase the £1.2 million ($1.9 million) Lewis-Gibson Genizah Collection, currently owned by the United Reformed Church’s Westminster College. The campaign was officially launched recently at the British Academy in London. The collection comprises more than 1,700 […]

Sarah Silverman Applauds Sister for Praying at Kotel

American Jewish comedienne Sarah Silverman had high praise for her sister Monday, hours after Rabbi Susan Silverman was one of 10 women arrested for conducting prayers services at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, in contravention of an Israeli legal ruling. “SO proud of my amazing sister @rabbisusan & niece @purplelettuce95″, Sarah Silverman tweeted on Monday. Click […]

Cambridge and Oxford Set Sights on Jewish Genizah

Cambridge and Oxford universities announced on Friday that they will be conducting a collaborative fund-raising effort aimed at purchasing the Lewis-Gibson Genizah Collection before it is sold off to private collectors. Currently owned by the United Reformed Church’s Westminster College in Cambridge and worth about $1.6 million, it is made up of 1,700 fragments of […]