web analytics
April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘judaism’

Second Orthodox NY High School Allowing Girls to Don Tefillin

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

A second Modern Orthodox high school in New York has announced it will permit girls to wear tefillin during prayer.

The Ramaz School in Manhattan said it will allow girls to wear tefillin during coed worship, going one step further than SAR High School, which drew a flurry of media coverage earlier this week for allowing girls to use the phylacteries during women’s prayer services.

Ramaz, one of the oldest and most prestigious Modern Orthodox day schools in the United States, sent its parents, students and board members an email Tuesday afternoon announcing that it “would be happy to allow any female student who wants to observe the mitzvah of tefillin to do so.”

The email, from head of school Paul Shaviv, noted, “Women should be taught that they do not need to wear tefillin in order to lead Jewishly-religiously meaningful lives, at least equal to men. But they have the right to make their own decisions.”

In an interview with JTA, Shaviv said “a small number of girls” have donned tefillin at the school’s prayer services in past years “without anyone making a fuss,” although none have asked to do so in the past three years.

Shaviv said the school decided for the first time on Tuesday to “formalize” its policy and “clarify our position” because journalists were calling to inquire about it.

“The parental response has been completely positive,” he said.

Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, longtime principal of the Upper East Side school and spiritual leader of Kehilath Jeshurun, told JTA that no female student has requested to wear tefillin recently, but that if one did “we would honor that request.”

“We’re not encouraging this; we’re accommodating this,” he added.

Tzohar Rabbis Help Lead Knesset’s First Ever Tu B’Shvat Seder

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

The Knesset held its first ever Tu B’Shvat Seder on Thursday, hosted by the Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein, who focused on how the holiday promotes an enhanced connection with the Land of Israel.”

The Seder, which replicates the four cups of wine of the Passover Seder and includes traditional readings associated with land and produce, was conducted jointly by Knesset Member Ruth Calderon, of Yesh Atid, and Rabbi David Stav, founder and president of the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization.

Tu B’Shvat is taught in Jewish tradition to be the birthday of the trees and serves as the day in the Jewish calendar when thanks is given for food and produce.

“When I lived in Russia, the holiday would fall in the midst of bone-chilling winter, but here it’s a whole different experience and one that allows us to rejoice in our homeland,” Edelstein said while expressing hope that the Knesset Seder would become an annual tradition.

He added that even in the midst of the winter season in Israel, “ one can connect to the concept of blossoming trees.”

Rabbi Stav, whose efforts as head of Tzohar have been instrumental in promoting enhanced connections between Jewish tradition and the Israeli legislature, said that at its essence Tu B’Shvat is a holiday of belief.

“The truth is that even here in Israel, where the weather is relatively warm, we’re not yet seeing the trees blossom,” he said. “But the lesson is that we believe that the good times of produce and success are just ahead and that is a message of faith that has meaning far beyond just this holiday.”

MK Calderon said that the initiative for the Knesset Seder was built around a concept of promoting a Jewish renaissance within Israeli society. “This holiday serves to remind all of us of the beauty of the land we live in and to better recognize the importance of everything we have.”

The Seder features foods from all the Seven Species known as particular holy in Jewish tradition/

More than 200 people attended the Knesset Seder, including government ministers, Knesset Members and staff and students from around Israel.

Chief Rabbinate Backs Down, Accepts Rabbi Avi Weiss

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel has reversed its stand and said it will accept letters from Rabbi Avi Weiss confirming the Judaism of those who wish to wed in the country.

In a letter sent Wednesday to Weiss’ attorney in Israel, Assaf Ben-Melech, the Chief Rabbinate affirmed its position on the liberal Orthodox rabbi from New York.

In October, the Chief Rabbinate rejected a letter from Rabbi Weiss vouching for immigrants who wanted to marry in Israel pending an investigation into his adherence to traditional Jewish law. The move sparked widespread outrage that Rabbi Weiss, a longtime synagogue leader in New York who had vouched for the Jewishness of many Israeli immigrants in the past, was suddenly having his reliability called into question.

Naftali Bennett, Israel’s religious services minister and Diaspora Affairs minister, has been meeting since November with officials from the Orthodox Rabbinical Council of America and the Chief Rabbinate to resolve the issue.

He reportedly sees the issue as one of prime importance based on the potential negative impact it could have on Israel-Diaspora relations.

Weiss founded the liberal Orthodox rabbinical seminary Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and has pioneered a number of controversial innovations in the Orthodox world, most recently his decision to ordain women as clergy through a new seminary called Yeshivat Maharat.

“I appreciate that this injustice has been corrected and am deeply grateful for the overwhelming support I received from all over the world,” Weiss said in a statement. “I also urge the Chief Rabbinate to reflect on how it can help us reach out, respect and acknowledge all Jews in the Diaspora.”

Kippa Scores Goal in Big Ten Hoop Games

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Aaron Liberman of Northwestern checked in for the final minute of action against Michigan in the Wildcats’ 74-51 men’s basketball loss in Ann Arbor on Sunday and.in the process, the red-shirt freshman made history twice:

According to the Big Ten News Network, Liberman was the first player to wear a yarmulke in Big Ten Conference history.

Also, Michigan became the first NCAA Division I basketball program to host two kippa-wearing players on its court

On Dec. 27, 2000, the first night of Hanukkah, Tamir Goodman of Towson University recorded 9 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds in 34 minutes in the Tigers’ 73-71 loss  to the Wolverines.

In his first season of college ball, Liberman’s stat line reads 2 rebounds in 4 games. But the yarmulke angle has made his celebrity star shine brighter.

“Liberman was invited to speak after a home game last month about what it’s like for him to be an Orthodox Jew playing major college hoops,” Yahoo News reported. “The school handed approximately 200 purple yarmulkes with an N printed on them to people who attended.”

OU Reverses Position and Says Quinoa Can Be Kosher for Passover

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

The Orthodox Union (OU) has re-studied its ban on “superfood” quinoa fit to eat on Passover and now says it is perfectly all right to consume it on the holiday without fear of violating the Ashkenazi custom that prohibits eating “kitniyot,” which are grains such as rice, corn and peas.

The Kosher Today publication reported this week , ”Following extensive research and on-site investigation of cross-contamination issues by OU Kosher personnel at all quinoa growing areas…as well as the collection, washing and milling stations of quinoa, OU Kosher is recommending quinoa for Passover, when processed with special OU Passover supervision and bearing the OU-P symbol.”

What changed in a year?

The Jewish Press reported here last March, “It seems that in South America, where it is grown, a wind might blow a grain of barley into cultivated rows of quinoa. Barely, like wheat, is prohibited by the Torah for use on Passover. That is enough for the OU to rule that quinoa is not kosher for Passover.”

The Baltimore-based Star-K kosher supervisors ruled differently. “Rav Moshe Feinstein said we weren’t to add on to the rules of kitniyot, so I don’t know why anyone would,” said Rabbi Tzvi Rosen of Star-K, referring to the esteemed posek of Jewish religious law who died in 1986. “And what’s more telling of this ridiculous debate is that quinoa is a seed, not a legume.”

Last year, Rabbi Genack said, “We can’t certify quinoa because it looks like a grain and people might get confused. It’s a disputed food, so we can’t hold an opinion, and we don’t certify it. Those who rely on the OU for a kashrut just won’t have quinoa on Passover.”

Well, quinoa hasn’t changed; it still looks like a grain, but the OU apparently is basing its new policy, which just happens to bring it line with the far from lenient Star K, on OU supervisors walking in the fields in South America to make sure winds do not pick up a nasty kernel of wheat a couple of miles away and plop it down in the middle of quinoa field.

“It is only recently that quinoa has become popular outside of its high-altitude growing area in the Andean mountain region of South America,” Rabbi Genack said. “Known for its nutritional qualities, it has been referred to as a ‘superfood.’”

The United Nations proclaimed 2013 as “The International Year of Quinoa.”

Time to Go Home

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

Here’s the mausoleum in the old Jewish cemetery in Medzhybizh, Ukraine, of Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer, the holy Baal Shem Tov, who changed and healed Eastern European Jewry.

The “Besht” appeared in about 1740, a little less than a century after the holocaust of 1648 (Gzeirot Tach-Tat, the decrees of 5408-9), which were followed by the catastrophe of false messiah Shabtai Tzvi, who heaped even more ruin and chagrin on Eastern European Jews, from about 1655 to 1670.

This man of mystery, whose teachings sounded a whole lot like Shabta Tzvi’s, except for the part about trumpeting himself the messiah, has been used as a model by every known Jewish movement, from extreme Haredim to Soviet Socialists, channeled into the world a wondrous spiritual and psychological change, without which we may have looked very different as a nation—and some say we may not have survived at all.

This is a particularly mysterious looking night image, of a relic in a foreign land, long emptied out of most of its Jews, one way or another.

I bless all of us that we’ll have the courage and the wisdom to turn our backs on these relics, including the very beautiful and mysterious ones, face east and start moving.

Next year in Jerusalem (or Netanya, or Haifa, or Tel Aviv – take your pick).

Government Panel Wants to Fund Abortions

Monday, December 30th, 2013

The government will actively promote abortions by funding them for women between ages 20 and 33 if a proposal by a Health Ministry committee is accepted.

Israel’s”basket” of drugs and medical treatment gives hefty discounts for citizens, and the government adds “goodies” to the basket each year. The committee that came up with this coming year’s basket recommends that health funds cover abortions for women in the age bracket even if they have no medical reason to terminate a pregnancy.

Drugs for ADD/ADHD and alcohol addiction were not included in the recommendations for this year’s basket, but approval was suggested for new drugs for cancer treatment, AIDS and epilepsy.

Alternative Group Replaces Orthodox Society at Boston Funeral Home

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

A new non-denominational Jewish burial society has replaced an Orthodox one at a Boston-area Jewish funeral home.

Community Hevra Kadisha of Greater Boston, which launched this fall and is part of a growing movement of Jewish burial societies that include non-Orthodox volunteers, began performing tahara – the ritual preparation of bodies for burial – at Brezniak-Rodman Chapel in West Newton, Mass., last week.

Until this month, the Orthodox-run Chevrah Kadisha of Greater Boston, whose membership is by invitation only, had been the sole provider of tahara at Brezniak-Rodman and other area funeral homes.

After Brezniak-Rodman announced that it would provide space for the new group, which has more than 100 volunteers, Rabbi Naftali Horowitz, who is known as the Bostoner Rebbe, sent a letter stating that the Chevra Kadisha of Greater Boston would continue operating there only “if we are the only one using the facilities.” Allowing a nondenominational group to use the funeral home’s facilities would “add great confusion regarding the standards which will be administered,” the letter said.

Last week, Brezniak-Rodman confirmed that the Chevra Kadisha of Greater Boston had stopped working with the funeral home.

David Brezniak, owner of Brezniak-Rodman, said of Horowitz, “I respect his decision, and he needs to respect mine. I thank him for whatever he’s done over the years, and that’s it.”

Officials from the Chevra Kadisha of Greater Boston, including Horowitz, did not respond to inquiries from JTA.

Brezniak said the new group employs the same standards in conducting tahara as the Orthodox one, and that he has been pleased so far with their work.

“The people doing this are very dedicated,” he said. “They’re not cutting any corners.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/alternative-group-replaces-orthodox-society-at-boston-funeral-home/2013/12/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: