Jewish identity

JBC News of Interest – 03/13/11

Several recent news stories may be of interest to our readers, so let’s dive right in… Apparently putting on tefillin in the airport or on an airplane can still cause you some trouble in the USA.  Once again there has been an incident in which observant Jews in morning prayers have caused panic in flight, this time on an Alaska Airlines flight to LA from Mexico.  Shmarya over at Failed Messiah has a story with links to similar ones from recent history. Arnold Eisen, the Chancellor of … [Read more…]

Turning Aside: Rambam’s Test

Is My Theology Truly Jewish (Or Jewish Enough)? Liberal Jewish denominations officially reject the Orthodox contention that, in order to be a good Jew, one must embrace a traditional cosmology and accept the whole of halacha.  Nevertheless, I think it incumbent upon liberal gerim to take both theology and halacha seriously; we should know what it is that we selectively accept or reject (and why).  In this “Turning Aside” post, I address my relationship to a traditional Jewish … [Read more…]

Doing Jewish: More Than Faith

D’var Torah for Parashat Mishpatim 24th of Sh’vat, 5771 Although this parashah is called “Mishpatim”, “laws” in Hebrew, and lists lots of mitzvot, I want to focus not on the laws, but on two verses found toward the end of the parashah which are very similar and which reminded me of a personal experience. Note that it is always considered significant when an idea is repeated in the Torah. The first is the second part of (Exodus) Chapter 24, verse 3: …וַיַּעַן … [Read more…]

Reclaiming The C (Convert) Word

For some time, Jewish leaders have been encouraging the use of the term “Jew by Choice” as an alternative to “convert.” This is an understandable and good-intentioned attempt to remove much of the stigma that the Jewish community puts on the terms “convert” and “conversion.” However, I believe that this attempt is basically misguided. Words gather connotations from the attitudes and experiences of those who use the word. Replacing a word that has a negative connotation with a … [Read more…]

JBC Roundup for early November

By far the most active Group in the past few weeks has been the Conversion Group. Several Conversion forum topics have had lots of interesting comments.   The most active topic (25 posts) has been Conversion Project. Suggestions ranged from a collage to a photo essay to crafts like making a challah cover or crocheting head coverings. Identifying as Jewish discussed telling people you are converting or are Jewish, or hiding that same information. A beautiful poem on this theme was … [Read more…]