Religion & Jewish Life

Hillel International introduces Broadway Kol Nidre

This Sunday evening, Jews around the world will chant the Kol Nidre, the ancient Aramaic incantation repeated three times at the Yom Kippur evening ceremony. Hillel International, embracing the diversity of Jewish tradition, is sharing three distinct versions as part of its Higher Holidays program: A dramatized reading in… Read more »

One Zoom employee saved High Holidays streaming for 300 synagogues

Mitch Tarica is the streaming platform’s director of North American sales. (Courtesy of Tarica)

(JTA) — When Rosh Hashanah begins on Friday night, some 300 synagogues across North America streaming their High Holidays services via Zoom will be able to set it and forget it thanks largely to one man: Mitch Tarica. Tarica is the streaming platform’s director of North American sales. He’s… Read more »

A tale of two High Holidays: Why Orthodox Jews are going to synagogue while everyone else is on Zoom

A socially distanced outdoor service at the Green Road Synagogue in suburban Cleveland, June 2020. (Courtesy of Rabbi Binyamin Blau)

(JTA) – At the Jewish Center on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, this year’s High Holidays will be anything but normal. With eight services happening in various spaces throughout the building, on the roof and in the street (closed off to facilitate services), approximately 400 people will gather for socially distanced… Read more »

Chabad to present Mega Challah Bake online

Southern Arizona’s Mega Challah Bake will be held in your own kitchen this year — with Chabad providing live instructions and entertainment via Zoom, plus ingredients for those who want them. “It has been a delight to organize and host the Mega Challah Bake of Tucson over the past… Read more »

Chabad of Oro Valley plans outdoor Shofar blowing

Chabad of Oro Valley will hold three socially-distanced Shofar blowing events outside its premises at 1171 E. Rancho Vistoso Blvd. #131 on Sunday, Sept. 20. The times are 9:15 a.m., 12:15 p.m. and 6 p.m. Each will include a 10-minute service in the parking lot. No registration is required.… Read more »

CAI to hold drive-up Shofar blast

Congregation Anshei Israel will give Tucsonans an opportunity to hear the Rabbi Sara Metz sound the Shofar live on Friday, Aug. 21 at 8:30 a.m., in the northwest parking lot (facing the sanctuary doors). Members also can pick up thei High Holy Days packages. Other LIVE Shofar blast opportunities… Read more »

They thought a Jewish school in Oakland would be able to accommodate their gender-fluid child. It wasn’t that simple.

Meg Keene and David Mishook said their son, left, was rejected from Oakland Hebrew Day School for being gender-fluid. (Kenzie Kate)

(JTA) — A Jewish day school in Oakland, California, is committing to making changes this week after a local family said the school had declined to accept their gender-fluid child. Meg Keene, an Oakland mother who runs a prominent wedding planning website, encouraged her thousands of Instagram followers to… Read more »

Larry Johnson, former Kansas City Chiefs running back, tweets that Jews are involved in sex trafficking, pedophilia and more

Kansas Chiefs running back Larry Johnson carries the ball during the game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, Oct. 4, 2009. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Larry Johnson, a former running back who played seven seasons for the Kansas City Chiefs, tweeted multiple times to his more than 147,000 followers over the weekend that a Jewish “cabal” is involved in “Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking, Pedophilia, Ritualistic Child Torture, Perversion, Human Sacrifice/Murder.” And on… Read more »

SF Giants’ first home game blessed by seafaring ‘Rally Rabbi’

Rabbi Yosef Langer on a yacht before the San Francisco Giants’ home opener, July 28, 2020. (Gabriel Greschler)

(J. the Jewish News of Northern California via JTA) — While the ballpark Tuesday night at the San Francisco Giants’ home opener may not have been filled with fans because of COVID-19 restrictions, nearby McCovey Cove had a familiar guest. Standing on a 75-foot yacht docked in a part… Read more »

Uzbekistan Jews fight to save 124-year-old synagogue from demolition

(JTA) — A construction firm in Uzbekistan is attempting to have a 124-year-old synagogue demolished to make way for a luxury apartment complex, according to a Russian-Jewish publication. Absolute Business Trade, a company based in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent, earlier this year sued the Jewish Ashkenazi Community of… Read more »

Confused about Judaism’s view on the afterlife? Start by watching ‘The Good Place.’

William Jackson Harper as Chidi and Kristen Bell as Eleanor on "The Good Place." (Screen shot from YouTube)

Social distancing and staying inside is hard. Thankfully, accessing good things to watch during this time is not. This is the latest installation of a weekly column on Jewish movies and TV shows that you should stream in quarantine. The Good Place Streams on: Seasons 1-3 are on Netflix, Season… Read more »

The pandemic’s first High Holiday season has synagogues wondering: Will people pay dues?

WASHINGTON, DC - Oct. 02 Adas Israel Rabbi Gil Steinaluf greets a congregation member before the start of the synagogue's Vision of Renewal Dedication Ceremony in Washington, DC Wednesday October 2, 2013. The synagogue recently invested in $15 million dollars in renovations, including a new sanctuary and a state of the art study center. (Photo by Jared Soares for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

(JTA) — Like many synagogues, Temple B’nai Hayim used to rely on the High Holiday season to survive financially. The small Conservative synagogue in Southern California would receive the lion’s share of its revenue in the run-up to the holidays: Members sent in their annual dues, which included entry… Read more »

After George Floyd, Jewish institutions consider their own shortcomings on race

Jews of color were among those representing the Indianapolis Jewish community at the annual Festival of Faiths to celebrate the diverse religious landscape in central Indiana. (Indianapolis JCRC)

When the protests over the police killing of George Floyd spread throughout the United States this spring, the moment served as a wakeup call not just for the country but for American Jews. Very quickly, leading Jewish institutions realized that the issue of racial justice wasn’t just about how… Read more »

Abe Foxman’s next act: Raising $28 million to feed thousands of struggling Holocaust survivors

A volunteer packs groceries at the Met Council's warehouse in Brooklyn. Volunteers there assemble more than 1,200 packages of groceries for Holocaust survivors each week. (Courtesy of Met Council)

(JTA) – Since retiring from his post as national director of the Anti-Defamation League in 2015, Abraham Foxman has had plenty of opportunities to take on other projects in the Jewish world. Until now, he’s always said no. But now the 80-year-old is coming out of retirement with an… Read more »

Interim rabbi takes helm at Temple Emanu-El

Rabbi Scott Saulson

Rabbi Scott Saulson, Ph.D., joined Temple Emanu-El this month as interim rabbi. With an extensive background in pastoral counseling and mediation, Saulson specializes in helping congregations in transition. This is his eighth interim rabbi position. Along with fulfilling typical rabbinic duties for a year, such as officiating at services… Read more »