who is a Jew

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…]

JBC News of Interest – 02/23/11

Hi all, Sorry it’s been a while since we’ve posted a news roundup.  Between working on podcast related issues and site maintenance, Avi and I have been pretty busy.  So… off we go. There have been several stories recently dealing with the ongoing conversion train wreck crisis in Israel.  In one example published in Ha’aretz, a Canadian who converted via a Modern Orthodox community with the intention of moving to Israel with his wife – an Israeli herself – and their children, was … [Read more…]

“Intermarriage” and the Problem with Black and White Thinking.

Almost anywhere in the world today, it is virtually impossible to circulate within the Jewish community without constantly hearing about how intermarriage is going to destroy us as a people.  The marriage of Jews to non-Jews is discussed in singularly horrific terms; for many people, it is the most significant problem facing world Jewry today (especially in the Diaspora, and most especially in the United States).  Millions of dollars and innumerable labor hours are devoted to studying the … [Read more…]

JBC News of Interest – 1/9/11

Several media outlets have reported that Rabbi Alysa Stanton, the first African-American female rabbi, has not had her contract renewed for her first pulpit at a Reform congregation in Greenville, North Carolina.  Rabbi Stanton made headlines when she was the first African-American woman ordained as a rabbi by the Hebrew Union College, and indeed, the first in America (the world?).  Haaretz reported on the story here, and Time magazine did a story on Rabbi Stanton shortly after her ordination … [Read more…]

Turning Aside: The Orchard’s Harvest

I often describe myself as a “closet academic.” The label is misleading, however; there isn’t much “closet” about the pleasure that I derive from studying. Not surprisingly, then, one of the many reasons that I look forward to Shabbat is because part of the day is dedicated to Torah study. Mind you, my conception of Torah study is more liberal than some Jews will accept. I consider Torah to be the written and oral traditions of Judaism, of course, but I extend the term to encompass human … [Read more…]