Web Feed

Syndicate content
things of interest in the synagogue world
Updated: 4 min 53 sec ago

How 'Aladdin' Became A Hanukkah Musical

Tue, 12/09/2014 - 05:00

Musical theater pantomimes are a well-loved Christmas tradition in England. Can Hanukkah pantos have similar success in Israel?

Click here for the rest of the article...

Ralph Baer, Inventor of Video Game, Dies at 92

Mon, 12/08/2014 - 20:48

The man credited with inventing the first home video games, Ralph Baer, died on Saturday at age 92 at his home in Manchester, New Hampshire, a director at the Goodwin Funeral Home said on Monday.

Click here for the rest of the article...

Likud’s Limor Livnat says she’s done with politics

Mon, 12/08/2014 - 15:11

(JTA) — Limor Livnat, Israel’s culture and sports minister, said she is quitting political life.

Livnat, 64, a Likud Knesset member since 1992 and the party’s highest-ranking female member for many years, made the announcement on Monday. She served as education minister from 1996 to 1999, and headed the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women.

She told Israel’s Channel 2 news that she wanted to move in “new directions,” the Times of Israel reported, but stressed that “the Likud remains my home.”

According to Haaretz, Livnat has been marginalized within her party in recent years because of her moderate positions. She has criticized the controversial Jewish nation-state bill and was the only Likud minister not to vote for it.

In a November interview with Army Radio, she criticized Likud’s move to the right.

“The Likud was always a right-center party and that’s what it needs to be,” she said. “Unfortunately, there are people in the Likud who are not moderate and are pushing the party to places I don’t want to see it.”

Bernie Madoff Back-Office Man Gets 10 Years in Prison

Mon, 12/08/2014 - 14:05

Bernard Madoff’s former back office director was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Monday for helping the convicted fraudster conceal his massive Ponzi scheme for decades.

Click here for the rest of the article...

It's a Synagogue, Not a Torture Chamber

Sun, 12/07/2014 - 06:00

A Jewish man joined his first synagogue but his husband won’t go to the welcome dinner. He asks the Seesaw for help convincing him that Judaism isn’t some kind of scary cult.

Click here for the rest of the article...

The End of Jew-hannesburg?

Sat, 12/06/2014 - 05:00

Downtown Johannesburg has always been home to immigrants. Jews have been long since been replaced by African newcomers, but two synagogues remain.

Click here for the rest of the article...

Jack Moline Leaves Jewish Democratic Council

Fri, 12/05/2014 - 14:46

Rabbi Jack Moline has left his post as director of the National Jewish Democratic Council after less than a year.

Click here for the rest of the article...

NJDC, Moline part ways

Fri, 12/05/2014 - 14:32

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The National Jewish Democratic Council and its director, Rabbi Jack Moline, parted ways after less than a year.

Moline, a longtime rabbi in northern Virginia who was prominent in the Conservative movement and close to Obama administration figures, assumed the position at the beleaguered advocacy group in January of this year, and left by Nov. 18.

His absence was noticed only this week, when community figures noted to reporters that his name no longer appeared on the group’s correspondence.

An NJDC spokesman said the decision was mutual, and would not elaborate. Moline declined comment.

His tenure was not without controversy: Within weeks of taking the job, he sharply criticized the American Jewish Committee and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee of “strong arm” tactics in pressuring Democrats in Congress to oppose President Obama’s Iran policies.

He eventually apologized to the AJC, but would not do so to AIPAC.

After the Democratic blowout in this year’s midterm elections, Moline told JTA that the party had not done enough to mobilize Jewish voters in key states.

The NJDC has in recent years lagged behind its GOP counterpart, the Republican Jewish Coalition, in raising funds.

Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate and a prominent funder of Republicans, is appealing a federal court’s dismissal of his defamation lawsuit against the NJDC.

Yehuda Glick Barred From Temple Mount

Fri, 12/05/2014 - 07:02

A Jerusalem court rejected an appeal by Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick allowing him to return to the holy site.

Click here for the rest of the article...

New York Rabbis Arrested at Eric Garner Police Brutality Protest

Fri, 12/05/2014 - 05:50

Several prominent rabbis and the president of a national teachers union were arrested Thursday night while protesting police brutality.

Click here for the rest of the article...

Eric Cantor's Son Belongs to University of Virginia Fraternity in Rape Scandal

Thu, 12/04/2014 - 16:36

A son of the former congressman Eric Cantor is a member of the University of Virginia fraternity at the center of a high-profile rape scandal.

Click here for the rest of the article...

New York Rabbis Join Protest of Eric Garner Decision

Thu, 12/04/2014 - 16:30

Several high-profile New York rabbis are scheduled to join a Manhattan protest of a grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer who killed Eric Garner, an unarmed black man.

Click here for the rest of the article...

Jewish group leading N.Y. protest march on Eric Garner decision

Thu, 12/04/2014 - 16:09

NEW YORK (JTA) – Several high-profile New York rabbis are scheduled to join a Manhattan protest of a grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer who killed Eric Garner, an unarmed black man.

The march set for Thursday night on the heavily Jewish Upper West Side neighborhood is being coordinated by the Jews for Racial & Economic Justice advocacy group. The protest is in solidarity with a coalition of 64 local and national organizations.

Among the rabbis scheduled to take part are Rolando Matalon of B’nai Jeshurun, a major Upper West Side congregation; Jill Jacobs, the executive director of T’ruah, a Jewish human rights advocacy organization; and Sharon Kleinbaum of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the largest LGBT synagogue in North America.

On Wednesday, a Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who was shown in a video from July 17 holding Garner in a chokehold while arresting him. The medical examiner ruled that Garner’s death was a homicide.

Protests have occurred throughout the country since the decision was announced that afternoon.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Wednesday that the Justice Department will launch a federal civil rights inquiry into the case.

Eric Cantor’s son is member of frat at center of Univ. of Virginia rape scandal

Thu, 12/04/2014 - 15:37

(JTA) — A son of the former congressman Eric Cantor is a member of the University of Virginia fraternity at the center of a high-profile rape scandal.

Michael “Mikey” Cantor, whose father until recently was the sole Jewish Republican in Congress, belongs to Phi Kappa Psi at the Charlottesville school, according to The Daily Caller website.

The younger Cantor has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

An investigative report published last month in Rolling Stone magazine chronicles the story of a woman named Jackie, who alleges that she was gang-raped at the fraternity house in 2012 by seven men while two other men looked on. In response to the article, the university suspended all fraternity activities through Jan. 9.

The Rolling Stone report described the gang rape as premeditated and indicated that it may have been part of an initiation ritual. The report also criticized the university’s handling of Jackie’s case, and campus sexual assault allegations in general. The University of Virginia did not initially investigate the incident, and the alleged perpetrators have not been disciplined.

Michael Cantor’s older brother, Evan, a University of Virginia alumnus, also was a member of Phi Kappa Psi. He graduated before the incident was alleged to have taken place.

Sabrina Rubin Erdely, who wrote the Rolling Stone article, has been scrutinized for not trying harder to contact the seven men accused of the rape, The New York Times reported Tuesday. Rolling Stone has since issued a statement in response to the criticism, saying that Erdely’s piece was fully fact-checked.

The University of Virginia and Charlottesville police have launched an investigation of the incident.

In June, Eric Cantor, a seven-term Richmond congressman who served as House majority leader, lost his primary to a Tea Party-backed challenger. In August, he resigned his seat and the following month announced that he would be joining a boutique investment bank.

Tragic Deaths Highlight Need for Nation to Address Core Issues of Racial Justice

Thu, 12/04/2014 - 11:01
Rabbi Jacobs: While the legal process has played itself out and resulted in the grand jury's decision not to indict the officer, the underlying issues -- including police practices, racial divides within the community and economic and social inequality -- must be addressed head on.

Ukraine Jews Wait in Cold for Aid Packages

Thu, 12/04/2014 - 10:30

Several hundred Jews braved sub-freezing temperatures to receive aid packages at the synagogue of the besieged city of Lugansk.

Click here for the rest of the article...

Holocaust Museum Gets Biggest-Ever $25M Gift

Thu, 12/04/2014 - 07:39

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum will increase its educational programming in the U.S. and abroad with a $25 million gift, the largest in the museum’s history.

Click here for the rest of the article...

Jewish Student Sues Barry Freundel Synagogue Over Mikveh Peeping

Wed, 12/03/2014 - 06:32

A third-year student at Georgetown University’s law school is suing Rabbi Barry Freundel, his Washington synagogue, the adjacent mikvah and her own law school for allowing Freundel’s alleged misdeeds to go unchecked.

Click here for the rest of the article...

Hasidic Enclave Keeps Its Secrets Amid Elusive Rebbe's Tight Control

Wed, 12/03/2014 - 05:00

Grand Rabbi David Twersky enjoys near-divine status among his devotees. But some report being rebuffed when seeking help in sex abuse cases.

Click here for the rest of the article...

Law student sues Freundel’s synagogue for turning blind eye

Tue, 12/02/2014 - 17:03

(JTA) – A third-year student at Georgetown University’s law school is suing Rabbi Barry Freundel, his Washington synagogue, the adjacent mikvah and her own law school for allowing Freundel’s alleged misdeeds to go unchecked.

The unidentified student’s suit was filed Tuesday in D.C. Superior Court by attorney Steven Silverman of Baltimore. She said she was lured to the mikvah by Freundel, who was arrested Oct. 14 on voyeurism charges for allegedly installing a secret camera in the ritual bath.

“This case involves an unfathomable breach of trust by a Georgetown professor and religious leader and defendants’ utter failure to prevent and/or stop it,” the lawsuit says, according to The Washington Post. “Defendants turned a blind eye to obvious signs of Freundel’s increasingly bizarre behavior, ignoring the bright red flags that Freundel was acting inappropriately with women subjected to his authority.”

The student, who is Jewish, said she visited the mikvah twice while researching a paper for a class at the law school taught by Freundel and believes the rabbi watched her disrobe at the ritual bath.

The paper, “The Mikvah: Expanding the Ritual for Jewish Women,” received an A grade from Freundel, the lawsuit says. The rabbi co-taught a law seminar at Georgetown as recently as this spring, according to the university.

The lawsuit seeks class-action status and does not identify the plaintiff by name, according to the Post.

On Sunday, Kesher Israel, the synagogue led by Freundel, announced that it had fired the rabbi, who had been on unpaid suspension since his arrest.

The lawsuit charges that Kesher Israel was aware of inappropriate behavior by the rabbi, including his treatment of women, but did nothing about it other than convey concerns to the Rabbinical Council of America. Similarly, the lawsuit accused Georgetown of “willful blindness” because it “undertook no investigation into Freundel’s background prior to hiring him,” according to the report in the Post.

Also named in the suit was the National Capital Mikvah, where the alleged peeping took place.