Happy Thanksgiving (if you celebrate)! This week’s news wrap up has some interesting stuff to read, so let’s jump right in…
The first piece in this week’s roundup is from The Jewish Week, where Rabbi Yehuda Gilad of Yeshivat Maale Gilboa and the Rabbi of Kibbutz Lavi, both in Israel, wrote a great essay on the implosion of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate. On this issue, Jews by Choice of nearly all stripes share common cause with the religious Zionist/דתי לאומי community, as the Chief Rabbinate has been completely overrun by hardline Chareidi interests in all areas, including governing acceptance of conversions.
The Jewish Week also ran an interesting piece on the trend within Reform Judaism of re-engaging with kashrut. It’s worth having a look at the article to see how the Reform movement is wrestling with its past directions with respect to traditional observance.
The Schmooze blog over at the Forward Magazine site has an entry with a video link to the local news story on the move by at least a small group to ban circumcision within the city of San Francisco. The impact such rule would have on the local Jewish community is obvious…
The New York Times ran a feature on internet-based bar/bat mitzvah training, and how it is growing as a phenomenon. At least for me – I tutor b’nei mitzvah students and serve my synagogue as a gabbai and shliach tzibbur – there were some problematic elements to the story, but also some interesting ones.
The In the Moment blog on the Moment Magazine site had a post recently on “E-Judaism and the Online Shtetl” about how online Jewish environments are shaping the way modern Jews are relating to each other and to our Tradition. It’s worth a look.
My Jewish Learning offers a look at what Jewish Law says about celebrating Thanksgiving, noting varying opinions on strictures and motivations. At the least it is an interesting read, and it may be helpful for those converts who have extended family for whom Thanksgiving has morphed into a religious celebration.
For your weekly swing through Jewish Studies, have a look at My Jewish Learning’s page of book recommendations on understanding Sephardic Jewry and al-Andalus, which had in its heyday the biggest Jewish population in the world at the time.
That’s it for this week. Please be sure to share comments if you find any of the selections particularly interesting!