Historic Handshake?

Can a simple handshake in South Africa someday lead to freedom for a Maryland man who’s been rotting in a Cuban jail for the last four years? On Tuesday morning, President Obama shook hands with Cuban President Raul Castro while both leaders were attending the funeral of South Africa’s Nelson Mandela. The gesture, which the… Read More

50 Years Later

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At the 50th anniversary of the death of American Zionist leader Abba Hillel Silver, newly-discovered documents appear to confirm his skeptical view of the Truman administration’s position on Jewish statehood. Silver, a dynamic rabbi and Zionist orator from Cleveland, passed away Nov. 30, 1963. During the 1940s, he spearheaded a nationwide campaign of rallies, petitions… Read More

Herring Is Not Religion

The reputable car dealer’s advertisement in the local paper screams, “Brand New Mercedes — Only $500!” You get excited but think it sounds too good to be true. Upon closer inspection, it is. The car dealer is offering only the hubcaps of the Mercedes for $500. If you want the whole car, it will cost… Read More

Jewish Cultural Affirmation

Right now, there is just one way for someone who is not Jewish to become Jewish in a publicly recognized and officially authorized fashion: undergo religious conversion under the auspices of a rabbi. Whether the path to Jewish identification follows Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist or other auspices, conversion is explicitly and entirely religious in nature…. Read More

Is It Effective?

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First there was the Conservative movement’s October biennial conference, billed as “The Conversation of the Century” and opened up to presenters from outside the movement. Then came the November General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America, which featured a “Global Jewish Shuk: a marketplace of dialogue and debate” led by young Israelis and… Read More

Menorahs Vandalized in States, Abroad

Jews celebrate Chanukah in Budapest, Hungary.

Half-way through the Chanukah holiday, and already several chanukiot have been vandalized, according to JTA Wire Service. First, a 6-foot menorah in front of the Chabad Lubavitch of Utah was vandalized. Three branches of the menorah were ripped off its left side and dropped in front of the Chabad House in Salt Lake City early Sunday… Read More

Knockout: Violent ‘Game’ Targets Jews In Brooklyn

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Across the country, the “knockout game” has people worried, but in the Jewish community, the fear might be even more pressing. At least seven attacks, which generally involve an assailant picking out a victim at random and attempting to knock him or her out with a single sucker punch, have been reported in Brooklyn, N.Y.,… Read More

Analysis: A Closer Look At The P5+1-Iranian Agreement

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There wasn’t a news site by last Sunday morning void of a story about the historic deal — or “mistake,” as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was calling it — which was signed between Iran and the P5+1 (the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom and France plus Germany) late last Saturday night. But,… Read More

Working For Change

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These days, it seems that everyone is starting a nonprofit. What’s the appeal? “The reason people start nonprofits is because they see a need and a void that they are passionate to fill,” says Paddy Morton, attorney with Maryland Nonprofits, an organization that serves to strengthen and educate the state’s nonprofit sector. “They’re doing public… Read More

Rabbis Raised With Christmas

When Eric Woodward started rabbinical school at the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary, he assumed he would be the only student who grew up celebrating Christmas along with Chanukah. But midway through his training, when Woodward started a discussion group for students of interfaith families, more than 20 people showed up. Not all were children… Read More