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Posts Tagged ‘Conservative Jewish’

Women of the Wall Go for Broke, Plan to Read from Torah at Kotel

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

The Women of the Wall (WoW, having won their fight to pray in their own minyan complete with a tallis and tefillin, have escalated their campaign against orthodox Jewish tradition by announcing plans to read from a Torah scroll at prayers at the Western Wall on Monday.

Several leading Haredi rabbis called on thousands of Haredi men to gather for a mass prayer opposite Women of the Wall. Last month, some of them hurling objects at the women and jeered at them.

The Women of the Wall gather at the beginning of every Jewish month for a women’s Rosh Chodesh service at the Western Wall. The new month of Tammuz falls on the  Sabbath and Sunday this week, and the WoW have put off their “Rosh Chodesh” to Monday, one of two regular weekdays when the Torah is read at prayers services.

Their previous attempts to bring a Torah scroll into the Western Wall area prayer area, in violation of local tradition, created a media sensation, with photographs around the world showing police struggling with a woman holding a holy Torah scroll.

The scene played into the hands of the WoW, winning sympathy in the Diaspora from both non-Jews and Jews, mostly but not exclusively those from the Reform and Conservative movements.

In Jewish tradition, women have no obligation to pray in a minyan, and never with a tallis and tefillin, which are part of the men’s obligations. The women want “equality” although Jewish law does not consider men and women unequal because of different obligations for each sex.

The court ruling allowing the Women of the Wall to pray with a tallis and tefillin at the Wall, in a separate women’s section, does not preclude their using a Torah scroll, but the group decided not to do so last  month in order not to raise tension beyond the point of containment, on both sides of the issue.

“We could have done it last month, but [Religious Services Minister Naftali] Bennett asked us to make a certain compromises and we agreed for one month to show our good will,” Lesley Sachs, the group’s director, told JTA Wednesday. “There was no question we would bring it this month. Without it, it’s not a full service.”

Bennett met with Women of the Wall representatives Wednesday in what Sachs called a “very productive meeting.”

Haredi leaders are encouraging thousands to appear n protest but without violence. The Haredi news site Kikar HaShabbat quoted Haredi Deputy Jerusalem Mayor Yossi Deutsch, as saying, “Many will come, according to the instruction of great rabbis, to sanctify the name of heaven and prove that we will not surrender in the battle over the holiness of the Western Wall.”

JTA contributed to this report.

Masorti Rabbis Perform First Conversions in Lisbon

Monday, April 29th, 2013

For the first time in the history of the Masorti movement, its rabbis performed conversions to Judaism in Portugal.

The two conversions were performed in the Portuguese capital at a Beit Din rabbinical court of three judges, who recognized Juliana Fernandes da Silva and her life partner Edgard Pimentel as Jews.

Though the Masorti movement — the smallest of the three major streams of Judaism — has performed conversions of several Portuguese Jews, this was the first time that the rabbinical court convened in Portugal, according to Rabbi Chaim Weiner of London, who oversaw the proceedings of the court.

Usually European Masorti converts travel to London, he added, but this time it was decided to hold the court in Lisbon because several rabbis were already in Portugal on a month-long study trip of the country’s Jewish heritage.

Da Silva, a 26-year-old Brazilian mathematician who grew up in a Catholic home, took a ritual dip in the mikveh following the court’s decision.

Immersion in the mikveh is required as part of the conversion process, and not afterwards, according to Jewish law.

Da Silva and Pimentel, a Brazilian born to an atheist father and a Catholic, non-observant mother, were welcomed at a reception the following day into Lisbon’s small Masorti community of a few dozen people.

Arlen Specter, Jewish Former U.S. Senator From PA, Dies At 82

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Arlen Specter, U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania 1961  – 2011, has died.  Specter was 82 years old.  Specter is survived by his wife, Joan, his son Stephen, his son Shanin, daughter-in-law Tracey, and 4 granddaughters.  Specter was Jewish and over his lifetime belonged to several different synagogues.  His granddaughters all attended a Conservative Jewish day school in the Philadelphia suburbs.

Specter survived brain  cancer and other maladies, but finally succombed to non-Hodgkins Lymphoma Sunday morning, October 14.  Specter died in his Philadelphia home.

 

Camp Ramah Founder Sylvia Ettenberg, 95

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Sylvia Cuttler Ettenberg, a veteran Jewish educator and founder of Camp Ramah, has died at age 95

Ettenberg was the first female senior administrator at the Jewish Theological Seminary, and was recognized as a dean emerita.

The Brooklyn native was at the forefront of many Conservative Jewish educational initiatives, including the Prozdor Hebrew High School program and the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at JTS.

Ettenberg was best recognized as a founder of Camp Ramah and for incorporating the institution into JTS, a move that helped it grow from a single camp in Wisconsin into a network of a dozen camps and several informal education programs in the United States and Israel.

Jewish Week Follow-Up

Saturday, August 4th, 2001

Last week in this space we took the New York Jewish Week to task over its giving front page placement to a rehashing of a year-old story about a concededly serious abuse problem at the Orthodox Union?s NCSY, and to a hazy report about a religious discrimination lawsuit filed against Yeshiva University by a Conservative Jewish woman. We saw this as fresh evidence of an Orthodox-bashing bent at The Jewish Week manifested by that tabloid?s artificial pumping up of negative pieces about two crown jewels of Orthodox Judaism.

In fact, with respect to the lawsuit, we have since learned that although it was provided the documentation, The Jewish Week failed to include in its story that a federal agency had dismissed the charges prior to the filing of the lawsuit!

In addition, in last week?s issue of The Jewish Week, a letter was published commenting on its NCSY article which turned up the volume even higher and went so far as to question the integrity of the OU?s universally accepted kashruth operation!

It is fair to wonder about what needs to be done to stop these kinds of spurious efforts against Orthodox organizations by a publication that depends on the Jewish public?s largesse as provided by the UJA/Federation. It is well known that absent that lifeline, The Jewish Week would be a bankrupt organization. The time has come for the UJA/Federation to rein in its dependent lest the UJA/Federation be adjudged as complicit in its outrageous enterprise. It is plainly out of control.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/jewish-week-follow-up/2001/08/04/

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