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Israel Police push Arab rioters into mosque to clear Temple Mount for visitors

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 03:35

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel Police pushed Arab rioters on the Temple Mount into the Al-Aksa Mosque and locked them inside.

The rioters had collected rocks, firebombs and broken pieces of furniture in preparation for attacking police and Jewish visitors, according to reports. They also used barbed wire to barricade parts of the site.

Police raided the compound early Monday morning following morning prayers at the mosque, when they were attacked by the rioters.

The Israeli forces used stun grenades, tear gas and rubber-coated bullets to contain the rioters, according to the Palestinian Maan news agency.

Jews were allowed to visit the Temple Mount on Monday for the first time since the start of the Sukkot holiday.

Among the visitors Monday morning was right-wing Likud lawmaker Moshe Feiglin, who requested permission to bring a group to visit the Temple Mount following holiday prayers at the Western Wall.

“A pilgrimage to the courtyard of our Holy Temple should accompanied by poetry, drums and song – not the background sounds of explosions and gunshots as riot police officers prevent the rioters from leaving their mosque,” Feiglin wrote in a Facebook post following the visit.

Police began clamping down on security in the Old City of Jerusalem on Sunday, adding extra patrols and closing the major streets around the area to traffic. Tens of thousands of Jewish worshippers from Israel and abroad gathered at the Western Wall Sunday for the traditional Birkat Kohanim, or priestly blessing prayer.

On Friday, Israel Police restricted the entry of Muslim men to the Temple Mount to those over the age of 50 in response to riots at the holy site two days earlier. Four policemen were injured during the violence and at least five protesters were arrested, according to Israel Police.

Sim Shalom will Hold Jazz High Holiday Services at Zeb's;...

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 02:15

The Sim Shalom Online Synagogue will hold its Jazz High Holiday Services at Zeb’s Sound and Light in Chelsea – and that celebration will include a very special guest.

(PRWeb September 08, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08/prweb12085561.htm

Buffalo's Oldest Synagogue Razed Despite Protest

Sun, 10/12/2014 - 12:19

The oldest synagogue in Buffalo was demolished despite the efforts of two demonstrators, who chained themselves to a pillar in the building.

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Historic Buffalo synagogue demolished despite demonstrators

Sun, 10/12/2014 - 10:45

(JTA) — The oldest synagogue in Buffalo, N.Y., was demolished despite the efforts of two demonstrators who chained themselves to a pillar in the building.

The Jefferson Avenue building was demolished on Saturday after the demonstrators, identified as David Torke and Rabbi Drorah Setel, were peacefully removed and detained by police, the Buffalo News reported.

Police said the building posed a safety hazard and thus was condemned. Preservationists said it should have been listed as a historical landmark.

The building, which was designed in 1903 by A.E. Mink, once was the home of Congregation Ahavath Sholem, also known as the Jefferson Avenue Shul. It was sold in 1960 to Saints Home Church of God and later to Greater New Hope Church of God in Christ, which owned it for about 30 years. The building has been empty since 2005.

At first the demolition crew did not realize there were people in the building. Eight other demonstrators remained outside the structure.

80,000 Visit Western Wall for Sukkot Prayers

Sun, 10/12/2014 - 07:59

The Temple Mount was closed to non-Muslim visitors as about 80,000 Jewish worshippers visited the Western Wall for Sukkot holiday prayers.

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Temple Mount closed as 80,000 Jewish worshippers gather at Western Wall

Sun, 10/12/2014 - 06:35

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Temple Mount was closed to non-Muslim visitors as about 80,000 Jewish worshippers visited the Western Wall for Sukkot holiday prayers.

Police clamped down on security in the Old City of Jerusalem on Sunday, adding extra patrols and closing the major streets around the area to traffic.

Israel Police on Friday restricted entry of Muslim men to the Temple Mount to those over the age of 50 in response to riots at the holy site two days earlier. Masked Palestinian rioters on Oct. 8 threw rocks, concrete blocks and firebombs at police at the Mughrabi Gate entrance. Four policemen were injured during the violence and at least five protesters were arrested, according to Israel Police.

The tens of thousands of Jewish worshippers from Israel and abroad gathered at the Western Wall for the traditional Birkat Kohanim, or priestly blessing prayer. Some 300 Kohanim raised their hands in the special blessing, according to the office of the rabbi of the Western Wall. Special prayers for the safety and welfare of Israeli soldiers and security forces also were recited.

On Saturday night, the Jerusalem Light Rail came under attack at the stop near the Arab village of Shuafat in eastern Jerusalem. In at least five separate rock attacks the windows of the train cars were damaged, and could put them out of service, which would slow the Light Rail during the Sukkot holiday, one of its most busy times of year.

Since July, the Light Rail has been attacked more than 100 times, causing railroad cars to be taken out of service, the Jerusalem Post reported citing data collected by the Light Rail.

What's an Angel of Rain Doing in a Jewish Sukkot Prayer?

Sun, 10/12/2014 - 05:00

At the heart of the Shemini Atzeret rain prayer, there is a reference to ‘the angel of rain.’ Philologos investigates how it wound up in the Sukkot celebration.

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Create the LGBT-Inclusive Jewish Community I Didn’t Have Growing Up

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 16:00

“I wouldn’t want my child’s rabbi to be gay—it might turn him gay.” This was just one of the many homophobic remarks I heard in my Jewish day school as a closeted gay teen. In my high school, homophobic statements often went unchallenged and the phrase “that’s so gay” was thrown around often. My day school wasn’t exactly a model of inclusion: there was no Gay Straight Alliance during my time there and although one student who had transferred to the school in the middle of high school was out, no one had actually come out during my entire four years there.

The homophobia in my school not only kept me in the closet throughout high school, but also made me question whether there was a place for me in Judaism as a queer man. Fortunately, things changed when I entered college. At Tufts University, I found a welcoming and accepting community at our Hillel, where sexual diversity wasn’t just welcomed but celebrated.

After four years of being a part of a welcoming and inclusive Jewish community at Tufts, I feel lucky to have joined another LGBT-inclusive Jewish community. In fact, the Reform Movement and the RAC not only welcome LGBT Jews, but they have also been actively advocating for and fighting for the rights of LGBT individuals for decades.

Tomorrow is National Coming Out Day and in honor of this important day, I urge you to have a hand in building the inclusive Jewish institutions that I did not have growing up. The Union for Reform Judaism offers a variety of resources on LGBT Inclusion, and  if you are interested in transforming your Jewish community from one that welcomes LGBT Jews to one that actively fights for the rights of LGBT Jews, I encourage you to check out the RAC’s LGBT Equality Resources for Reform Congregations and LGBT Rights issue page. In addition, Keshet, a national grassroots organization working for the full inclusion of LGBT Jews in Jewish life, offers a variety of resources for Jewish institutions, including a list of resources for National Coming Out Day, and trainings for Jewish professionals.

This year’s National Coming Out Day is arriving on the heels of a Supreme Court action which may lead to marriage equality in a majority of states. As our secular laws become more LGBT-inclusive with each coming year, let us resolve to make our Jewish communities even more inclusive and welcoming.

Reform Rabbis Seek To Aid Immigrants Facing Deportation

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 11:34

Reform rabbis are contacting Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in an attempt to delay the deportation of undocumented workers.

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Joshua Bell

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 11:02

A world-famous violinist, Joshua Bell is the son of a mother who is Jewish and a father who was an Episcopal priest. But Bell says the emphasis on great classical music in their household was “the common denominator” and “the spiritual force.”

The post Joshua Bell appeared first on Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

Sukkot

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 11:01

Rabbi James Michaels of the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington explains the significance of building sukkahs or temporary shelters for eating and worshipping during Sukkot, a harvest festival when Jews recall their ancestors’ forty years of wandering in the desert after their escape from slavery in Egypt.

/wnet/religionandethics/files/2012/09/thumb01-sukkot.jpg Rabbi James Michaels of the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington, DC says Sukkot reminds Jews of the experience of wandering in the desert, open to the elements, and of simply “being alive.”

The post Sukkot appeared first on Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

Israel Police restrict Muslim worshippers on Temple Mount following riots

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 06:00

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel Police restricted entry of Muslim men to the Temple Mount to those over the age of 50 in response to riots at the holy site two days ago.

The police also dispatched extra police units throughout the old city of Jerusalem on Friday morning.

Hamas reportedly called on Muslims to assemble Friday at the Al-Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount to “defend it.”

“We will fight till the last drop of blood,” Hamas reportedly said.

Masked Palesitnian rioters on Wedsnesday threw rocks, concrete blocks and firebombs at police at the Mughrabi Gate entrance. Four policemen were injured during the violence and at least five protesters were arrested, according to Israel Police.

What Does This Photo of Tashlikh Say About the Evolution of Jewish Life?

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 05:00

A single 1909 photo of tashlikh on the Williamsburg Bridge speaks volume about the evolution of the ancient Jewish ritual —  and its evolution in the modernity of the New World.

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Reform rabbis nudge ICE on deportations

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 03:58

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Reform rabbis are contacting Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in an attempt to delay the deportation of undocumented workers.

Rabbis Organizing Rabbis partnered with immigration advocacy organizations to ask the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, to exercise discretion when deciding whether or not to deport anyone, according to a statement issued Wednesday by the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center.

While “deportation is an important part of border enforcement, we have learned that too many innocent people are caught in the system,” said Rabbi Peter Berg of Atlanta. “The good news is that ICE legally has the right to use discretion about whom to deport and actually will exercise that discretion – if they hear from enough people.”

Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, more than 60 Reform rabbis called or wrote on behalf of Luis Lopez-Acabal, who is facing deportation back to Guatemala following his involvement in a traffic accident.

Rabbi John Linder of Temple Solel in Paradise Valley, Ariz., met Lopez at the church where he has taken sanctuary. If deported, Lopez would have to leave behind his wife, a legal resident of the United States, and two young children including one with autism.

“We are called as a faith community to stand against injustice,” Linder said, according to the Religious Action Center release. “The family is a sacred institution that is being violated by tragic separation throughout the country, while desperately needed immigration reform is stalled on Capitol Hill. These families should not continue to be victims due to a lack of political resolve.”

How Gil Steinlauf Chose 'Personal Torah' Over One True One

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 16:00

Gil Steinlauf says he has struggled with his sexual identity for 20 years. Avi Shafran says a respected rabbi should keep fighting to live a life consistent with the Torah.

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Restored 19th-Century Lithuania Shuls Open

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 11:55

After seven years of renovations, a unique complex made up of two 19th-century synagogues opened to the public in the Lithuanian town of Joniskis.

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The Tent: Helping Jewish Leaders Look Through New Prisms

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 08:00

Leading a congregation can be a daunting task. Whether you lead your congregation as clergy, professional staff, or lay leadership, we all do our sacred work through different prisms.

We work through the prism of spirituality. The Torah and other teachings of our ancestors guide our communities with holiness and wisdom.

We work through the prism of the history of our congregations. Every congregation has experienced its own victories and challenges, and those experiences often inform how the congregation is led today.

We work through the prism of expertise and best practices. We bring information from our “day jobs,” and we learn from others who do the same work we do. What fresh ideas do they have? What do they do that has worked or failed?

These are all prisms I have looked through repeatedly, first as a synagogue youth group advisor for 10 years, and then an executive director for another 10 years. They are vitally important prisms, and they lend color and perspective to everything we do. Ideally – and hopefully – they result in robust, vibrant temple communities.

Yet with all these prisms, with all of this information to help us in our sacred work, we often fall into the trap of insular behavior. We sincerely believe we know our communities, and we know what will work and will not work. We know the messages of Torah that will resonate with our members, and we know what will be misunderstood or ignored. We know what has worked at our congregation in the past, and we know what has not. We’ve all said, “Well, this is the way we’ve always done it.”

But since the introduction of The Tent, the Reform Movement’s new communication and collaboration platform website, we’ve seen these prisms expand. We’ve seen light touch all corners of our movement as Jewish leaders go beyond the insular world of their congregations and communities to connect with leaders throughout the entire North American Movement.

The user experience of The Tent feels familiar to the experience of using sites like Facebook or LinkedIn, but unlike those sites, The Tent is dedicated only to the work of leading our sacred communities. Lay and professional leaders can connect and have conversations with each other, sharing valuable resources and forging vital connections. Through a simple search, users can find the exact people and information that will help them the most.

In The Tent, assistance can come from unexpected places – and new information can help change long-held beliefs and practices. The president of a small congregation in Georgia and the president of a large congregation in Toronto face similar struggles. A new congregational finance chair in Chicago has information from her professional career that will help a youth group advisor in Houston. In The Tent, these leaders can find one another and have conversations that transform their sacred work. Being connected to the larger Reform community reminds us that we are not alone in the work we do and that there is comfort, strength, and support to be found in the experience and expertise of others.

Already, we see that conversations in The Tent are changing the way our congregational leaders do their work. Consider the following examples:

  • The audit chair of a small Midwestern congregation asked if anyone had experience with creating an endowment fund foundation, separate from their board of trustees. In less than a day, he heard back from temple administrators and URJ staff offering direction, support, and insight regarding his question.
  • A temple educator wanted to know if any congregations live-stream High Holidays worship with sign language. She was able to connect with congregational leaders across North America who are already engaging in this inclusive practice and who may be able to guide her congregation in doing the same.
  • With an hour, a URJ resource posted to The Tent about the legalities surrounding video streaming and copyright clearance was viewed and downloaded by dozens of leaders at congregations both large and small.
  • A woman who will be the next president of her congregation wanted to know whether other congregations encourage their members to wear nametags to services. More than a dozen leaders responded to share insights and experiences from their own congregations – and even pictures of how their nametags look.

We hold our prisms in our hands. As we turn them over and over, the light bends and changes, and we see new colors and realize new possibilities. However, sometimes we would be well served to look up from the prisms to which we have become so accustomed. When we do so, we may learn that there are other ways to do things. What has worked in other communities? How can we learn from the experience of others? How can we avoid repeating mistakes? How can we grow and succeed together?

“The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing.
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again;”
Ecclesiastes 1:9

Please visit www.yammer.com/thetent to see what others have seen, and to hear what others have heard. Join your Reform Movement in The Tent as we all work to support our sacred communities.

Atlanta Rabbi Shalom Lewis Calls for 'Holy Crusade' Against Radical Islam

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 06:00

Rabbi Shalom Lewis spawned global headlines with an incendiary sermon calling for a ‘holy crusade’ on radical Islam. Why did his Atlanta congregation stand and cheer him on?

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Rabbi Who Uses Martial Arts in Cancer Fight Wins CNN Hero Nod

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 05:00

Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg, aka Rabbi G., turned his own daughter’s losing battle with cancer into inspiration to help others. Now he’s a finalist on CNN’s Global Hero competition.

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