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Israel Inaugurates New Mixed-Prayer Plaza

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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 […]

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Come Visit Non-Orthodox Kotel Section

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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 […]

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MK Calderon a Hit in Australian Media

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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 […]

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AllJewishLinks.com 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 […]

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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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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 […]

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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. […]

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AllJewishLinks.com 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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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Sarah Silverman’s Rabbi Sister Detained

Israeli police Monday detained 10 women, including the sister of American comic Sarah Silverman, as they tried to pray at a Jerusalem holy site, the head of a liberal Jewish women’s group said. Anat Hoffman, who was among those detained, said the women were stopped because they were wearing religious garb that Orthodox Judaism reserves […]

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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 […]

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The “War of the Wall” Secret Weapon

It’s easy to dismiss the antics of Warrior of the Wall Anat Hoffman. Her guerrilla gatherings of women in vocal prayer services at the Kosel Maaravi, or Western Wall, in defiance of an Israeli Supreme Court decision and in affront to the traditional Jewish men and women who most frequent the prayer site, are legend. […]

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12 New ‘Haredi Campuses’ Planned

Good news for ultra-Orthodox students: Twelve new “haredi campuses” will be launched this year in Israel’s universities and colleges as part of a program aimed at increasing the number of haredi students in Israel’s higher education system. The new program will offer courses in computer science, optometry, architecture, art, and other fields. Education Minister Gideon […]

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The Movie Every Jew Must See (Again.)

When I first saw The Frisco Kid in the theater in 1979, I had never seen an Orthodox Jew before. I was 8, we were Reform. My rabbi wore Nikes and Izod shirts. But I cried when I saw Gene Wilder — playing a Polish rabbi dispatched to San Francisco during the Gold Rush of […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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AllJewishLinks.com Newsletter Issue # 36 - June 27, 2012

Forty years ago this past week, Rabbi Sally Priesand was ordained as a Reform rabbi,thus making her the first woman rabbi to be ordained after the Holocaust. And in the years that followed, the Conservative movement continued to ordaining women, Recently Modern Orthodoxy has given women new leadership roles. While the government tries to find […]

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100 Rabbis Protest Recognition of Non-Orthodox Rabbis

Over 100 rabbis participated Tuesday in an “emergency gathering” following the State’s decision to recognize rabbis of Conservative and Reform movements as official rabbis and give them the same funding as Orthodox rabbis, who are appointed by the Chief Rabbinate. The gathering was called by Israel’s Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amar, who received Shas spiritual […]

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The Essence of Female Jewish Leadership

Forty years ago this past week, Rabbi Sally Priesand was ordained as a Reform rabbi, making her the first woman rabbi to be ordained after the Holocaust. It was an historic time and in the years that followed, the Conservative movement continued ordaining women. Of late, Modern Orthodoxy has, too, given women new leadership roles. […]

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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. […]

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Reform, Conservative Rabbis to Receive State Funding

Rabbis of conservative and reform communities will be recognized as official rabbis by the state, and will enjoy the same funding as orthodox rabbis who are appointed by the Chief Rabbinate. The road to state funding was paved after the state and reform movement representatives reached an understanding in a petition which was filed in […]

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Chabad Builds First Shul in Tacoma Since 1968

After a two-year legal battle and nearly a year of construction, an Orthodox Jewish group is about to open its $2.4 million synagogue and education building between two houses on Tacoma’s West End. Rabbi Zalman Heber calls the completion of the brick-and-wood structure “history in the making.” It provides a traditional-style synagogue for practicing Orthodox […]

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For First Time, Israel to Recognize Reform and Conservative Rabbis

In an unprecedented move, Israel has announced that it is prepared to recognize Reform and Conservative community leaders as rabbis and fund their salaries. Rabbis belonging to either stream will be classified as “rabbis of non-Orthodox communities.” The attorney general advised the High Court that the state will begin equally financing non-Orthodox rabbis in regional […]

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AllJewishLinks.com 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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Wolpe Heads ‘Newsweek’’s List of 50 Top Rabbis

Conservative Rabbi David Wolpe heads the annual list of America’s top 50 rabbis put out by Newsweek Monday. Wolpe, who moved up from the number two spot last year, heads the largest Conservative congregation on the West Coast and has played a prominent public role defending faith nationwide, is followed by Chabad movement leader Yehuda […]

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