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Israel’s Conservative movement inducts first openly gay rabbi

Sun, 09/14/2014 - 05:12

(JTA) — One of Israel’s oldest Conservative congregations became the first Conservative synagogue in Israel to install an openly gay rabbi.

Rabbi Mikie Goldstein, who completed studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, was installed as spiritual leader of Congregation Adat Shalom-Emanuel in Rehovot. Goldstein, a native of Liverpool, England, moved to Israel in 1989 at the age of 24. He began his rabbinical studies at JTS in 2010.

“From my point of view, gender identity is not an issue,” Goldstein said. “What was important for our congregation was a rabbi who could teach and do outreach, and I believe that’s why they chose me. Being gay wasn’t an issue.”

The 160-family Congregation where Goldstein will serve is located in Rehovot, where he and his partner of 20 years, Isi Yanouka — Israel’s ambassador to the Ivory Coast — live.

Yizhar Hess, executive director of the Conservative Movement in Israel, told the Israeli daily Haartez: “Mikie and the rabbinate were meant for each other, and he will be a remarkable pulpit rabbi.”


Combating ISIS; Boston’s Lessons for Ferguson; Stone Circles

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 17:30

Haris Tarin of the Muslim Public Affairs Council on confronting ISIS and their radical ideology; the lessons from Boston’s experience dealing with violence and ministering to its communities; a Stonehenge-era archaeological discovery in the U.S. and the spiritual meaning it has for its discoverer.

The post Combating ISIS; Boston’s Lessons for Ferguson; Stone Circles appeared first on Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

Combating ISIS

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 17:20

As the nation marks the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and President Obama outlines his strategy to defeat Islamic State militants, ISIS, American Muslim groups this week joined together to reaffirm their condemnation of violent extremism waged in the name of religion. Washington office director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council discusses the US response to ISIS and the efforts of American Muslims to respond to potential future threats.

The post Combating ISIS appeared first on Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

The Beginner’s Guide To Blending Live and Computer-Based Training

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 16:03
Your learners will thank you for discovering the best way of delivering educational materials.

From the Archive: Germany’s anti-Semitism (and anti-Semitic) education

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 13:42

Ten- and eleven-year-old schoolchildren doing the “Heil Hitler” salute in Berlin, 1934. (German Federal Archive, Licensed under Creative Commons)

In the aftermath of a spike in anti-Semitic incidents during the recent Israel-Hamas conflict, primarily instigated by Muslim youth, Germany has announced that it will fund anti-Semitism (or, anti-anti-Semitism) education for its Muslim students.

The Krauts have come a long way from their famously sordid history of anti-Semitism. Much of their mid-20th century anti-Semitism arose from a very different type of education than what is being proposed today.

Nearly 80 years ago, in 1935, the newly formed Reich Institute for the History of New Germany was working to install “scientific anti-Semitism” as a compulsory subject in all German schools.

The institute’s president, Dr. Walter Frank, announced that his organization was working to “bring scientific clarity to bear on a racial basis in the solution of such tremendous problems as the Jewish question constitutes.”

Just a week before Frank’s elucidation on the science of anti-Semitism, the commissariat of education in Saxony updated his state’s education curriculum to include the Nuremberg Laws — exclusionary laws codifying anti-Semitism — as mandatory learning.

But that was nothing compared to the prayers directed against the “aliens to our race, the Jews who demoralize the German people,” introduced into schools in Thuringia five years earlier (the prayers were quickly banned by the Thuringian State Tribunal). There was no ban, however, on the 1934 demand that all children in Thuringian schools produce certificates proving that their parents and grandparents were Aryan.

Little over a year later, the Hitler Youth — the sole official youth organization in Germany — announced that its members must attend courses devoted to racial subjects. The JTA broke coverage of the announcement, which stipulated that the organization’s leaders must qualify in special examinations and gain a diploma in racial science “in order to be able to speak on all questions of Nazi racial policy.”

In 1940, the newest innovation in anti-Semitic education came by way of puppet performances. The Nazi newspaper Muenchener Neuste Nachrichten reported that the performances were being given for children in the Reich “to illustrate how the Jewish problem must be solved.” The plays ended with puppets dancing to celebrate the disappearance of the Jews.

Also in 1940, German film authorities announced the completion of the Nazi version of the movie “Jew Suess,” advertising it as the “first German anti-Semitic film.” The film’s leading actor was promised an award from Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels “in special recognition for agreeing to play such a loathsome role.”

Germany’s new anti-Semitism education, of course, will work to combat anti-Semitic attitudes, not foment them. It’s a commendable effort from a country determined not to repeat the past — let’s just hope that there aren’t any puppet shows this time.

Prominent Orthodox Rabbi Condemns Vaccines as a 'Hoax'

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 13:36

Shmuel Kamenetsky, one of the country’s most prominent ultra-Orthodox rabbis, condemned vaccines as a ‘hoax’ and a ‘problem’ in an interview with a local Jewish newspaper.

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Israeli Rabbi Fleeing Charges of Sex Crimes Arrested Near Amsterdam

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 10:44

A well-known Israeli rabbi who fled the country after being accused of sex crimes was arrested near Amsterdam.

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Israeli rabbi fleeing sex charges nabbed in Holland

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 09:27

(JTA) — A well-known Israeli rabbi who fled the country after being accused of sex crimes was arrested near Amsterdam.

Eliezer Berland, 77, was detained by police at Schiphol Airport, Het Parool daily reported.

The founder of the Shuvu Bonim religious seminary in Israel, Berland, a member of the Breslov Hasidic sect, fled to Morocco last year and from there to Zimbabwe and South Africa after being accused of sexual assault by two young women, both wives of his followers.

Berland left South Africa in a hurry after police began looking into his actions and was apprehended at Schiphol because Israel has requested his extradition, which the Netherlands is likely to perform, according to the Het Parool report Friday.

During his seven-month stay in Morocco, the charismatic Berland  drew dozens of followers from Israel to join him there, and hundreds more showed up on holidays. He left after community officials complained he was drawing unnecessary and negative attention to the country’s Jews, though community officials deny that their complaints influenced his his decision to leave.

Stone Circles

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 08:30

Chris “Comes with Clouds” White, of Cherokee descent, discovered a pre-historic stone circle near his home that carries a significant spiritual meaning for him. “We’re born, we have a youth, we get old, we die, but we believe that there’s something beyond that where our ancestors are, so that’s a circle.”

The post Stone Circles appeared first on Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

Germany To Fund Anti-Semitism Education for Muslim Youth

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 07:07

Germany is ready to allocate funds to tailor education about anti-Semitism for its Muslim citizens, its Jewish outreach official said.

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U.S. Air Force Swears In First Bearded Chaplain — A Rabbi

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 12:55

The U.S. Air Force is swearing in its first bearded chaplain, a rabbi.

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Melissa Martens Yaverbaum to Head Council of American Jewish Museums

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 11:37

The Council of American Jewish Museums, which represents 80 institutions, has named Melissa Martens Yaverbaum as its executive director.

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Melissa Martens Yaverbaum to head Council of American Jewish Museums

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 10:31

(JTA) — The Council of American Jewish Museums, which represents 80 institutions, has named Melissa Martens Yaverbaum as its executive director.

Yaverbaum, who has worked in the museum field for 24 years, currently serves as the director of collections and exhibitions at the Museum of Jewish Heritage-A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York City.

“This is a critical time in the Jewish museum field, a time to assess how we can better respond to communities, new potential audiences, and new topics of import,” Yaverbaum said in a statement this week announcing her appointment.

As a board member of the Council of American Jewish Museums for a decade, she launched a fellowship program for emerging professionals in the field.

Yaverbaum in her statement called the council “the key convener, advocate, and representative for the Jewish museum field.”

The Spy Who Came In From Hamas

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 05:00

An unusually timely and captivating documentary, ‘The Green Prince,’ tells of a Hamas leader’s son who came to spy for Shin Bet. Anna Goldenberg sits down with the film’s director and star.

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Brigitte Bardot Slams Shechitah in Open Letter, Calls It 'Ritual Sacrifice'

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 16:45

Brigitte Bardot published an open letter in several leading French newspapers calling for a ban on shechitah, or Jewish ritual slaughter.

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Brigitte Bardot calls for ban on shechitah, terms it ‘ritual sacrifice’

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 15:30

(JTA) — Brigitte Bardot published an open letter in several leading French newspapers calling for a ban on shechitah, or Jewish ritual slaughter.

The one-time French actress terms the practice “ritual sacrifice” in the letter that appeared Monday in newspapers such as Le Parisien, Le Figaro and Le Monde. The letter also calls for a ban on halal Muslim ritual slaughter as well as on horse meat.

Jewish and Muslim religious laws require that animals be conscious when their necks are cut — a practice deemed cruel by some animal welfare activists.

The letter drew condemnation from the European Jewish Congress.

“Ms. Bardot’s depiction of shechitah as ‘ritual sacrifice’ is not only deeply offensive and a slur against the Jewish People, but also shows a stunning lack of knowledge in an area where she purports to be an expert,” EJC President Moshe  Kantor said in a statement. “Bardot has once again shown her clear insensitivity for minority groups with the substance and style of her letter.”

In January 2011, Bardot launched a campaign against ritual slaughter through her animal rights foundation.


Jewish Leadership Pipelines Alliance Hires Executive Director

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 07:11

A newly-formed alliance dedicated to finding and developing talented leaders for Jewish non-profits has hired an executive director to lead its efforts.

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Petach Tikvah Chief Rabbi Rejects Ethiopians for Marriage Certificates

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 07:02

The Sephardi chief rabbi in the Israeli city of Petach Tikvah has been refusing to perform marriages for Ethiopian Jews in his community.

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September 21: Join the People’s Climate March!

Mon, 09/08/2014 - 17:09

The Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis have joined as partner organizations supporting the People’s Climate March in New York City on Sunday, September 21. We do so in reflection of the words of Genesis 2:15, which command us to “till and tend” God’s Earth and our Movement’s longstanding work to address the devastating effects of climate change.

Why now?
The March will coincide with the historic UN Climate Summit, to focus the world’s much needed attention on addressing the challenge of climate change. The March will bring together activists from across the country to urge summit leaders to work together to create global policies that will reduce global warming pollution.

More than 1,000 partner organizations are supporting the March, including over 60 Jewish organizations such as HUC-JIR, the Rabbinical Assembly, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Hillel International, the Coalition on the Environment in Jewish Life, and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.

People’s Climate March Details:

Sunday, September 21, 11:30 a.m.
Starting point: North of Columbus Circle

The People’s Climate March will begin at 11:30am on Sunday, September 21st in the area directly north of Columbus Circle and will continue down 6th Avenue to 42nd Street to 11th Avenue. We will share more information about Jewish community events and opportunities as the March draws near.

Can’t join the People’s Climate March in person?
Join the Faithful Call to Address Climate Change by adding your name to this petition to President Obama and members of Congress, which urges American leadership to address the global climate crisis.

Learn more about the March at these links:

Keep an eye on this blog post for updates on the RAC’s involvement in the People’s Climate March! If you want to learn more, contact Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Liya Rechtman at (202) 387-2800.


How Elvis Presley Missed His True Calling — As a Cantor

Mon, 09/08/2014 - 05:00

Elvis famously never learned to read music. But according to his former Jewish neighbors, he did benefit from early exposure to the masters — of cantorial music.

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