Monthly Archives: March 2008

Triple Purim

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-This year, it’s a “triple Purim�; here’s why. (Chabad)

-Lynne Avadenka brings together Esther and Sheherezade. (The Jewish Week)

-Purim’s “gifts to the poor” are to provide more than mere sustenance. (Haaretz)

-The Book of Esther is being invoked to call for retaliation for the recent Jerusalem murders. (Haaretz)

-Congregation Or Hadash has commissioned Rabbi Kevin Hale (the first ordained Reconstructionist sofer) to create “the first truly Reconstructionist megillahâ€? — it incorporates drawings by students in its religious school. (Forward)

Posted on March 18, 2008

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Have You Met Ted?

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Tonight marks the return of one of my favorite TV shows, How I Met Your Mother, after the strike.

This week The Forward profiles one of the shows stars, Josh Radnor, who plays Ted Mosby–the main character who is explaining to his kids how he met their mother.

Radnor is a product of Jewish day school and says:

“I’ve always loved sitting around, reading text and talking about it. I’ve thought, ‘You know, I would have been a good yeshiva bokher.’� And while he may have ended up in Hollywood instead of in Hancock Park, a heavily Orthodox L.A. neighborhood, Radnor still gets to grapple with weighty texts, he pointed out. “I do the same thing as an actor with plays.� (MORE)

Posted on March 17, 2008

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Legal Troubles

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-Young Israel of Beverly Hills is accused of “fraud and breach of contract…a petty and ugly quarrel in a deal gone sour.� (Jewish Journal)

-The Conservative Movement has launched an internal investigation into possible financial wrongdoing by its longtime executive director of its New York region. (The Jewish Week)

-A Haredi cantor is ensnared by a sex-sting operation, part of a larger extortion plan. (Ynet)

-The principal of a private Jewish girls’ school in Melbourne is facing accusations that she sexually molested some of the students, and outraged parents claim that the school paid for her to return to Israel before reporting the complaints to the police. (The Age)

Posted on March 17, 2008

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Saint Patrick’s Day

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How do Irish Jews celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day?

The Loyal Yiddish Sons of Erin were a group of Irish-Jewish immigrants in New York City who, at least through the 1960s, would celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with green matzo balls. The Sons were actually Irish-born descendants of Polish and Lithuanian Jews who had stopped off in Ireland for a brief period on their migratory path to the U.S. (MORE)

Posted on March 17, 2008

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The 7th of Adar

This entry was posted in History, Holidays on by .

Today is the 7th of Adar II. This may not mean much to most people, but here is an interesting tidbit from Blogs of Zion about the day:

The 7th of Adar is the day on which Moses died. It’s also the day that the State of Israel commemorates soldiers who have died but whose bodies were never recovered. This is done deliberately, as the ceremony began with the reading of some of the final verses of the Torah:

“And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said. (MORE)

Posted on March 14, 2008

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Perspectives on Jerusalem

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-Jason Eskenazi came to Jerusalem with 26 point & shoot cameras and over 250 rolls of film, and a plan to have Jewish and Muslim children photograph their own city. “In the end all the kids were brought together just by being in the same project seeing Jerusalem from two vantage points.� (Kids With Cameras)

-A small Jewish neighborhood of 300 housing units is planned for Kidmat Zion, on Jewish-owned land within the part of the Arab village of Abu Dis that is inside the Jerusalem city limits (90% of Abu Dis is outside Jerusalem). Shas is insisting that this project be unfrozen. (Haaretz)

-Jerusalem has had no chief rabbi since 2003, when both its chief Sephardi and Ashkenazi rabbis died. A look at the political aspects of a possible new rabbi. (Haaretz)

-It’s now possible to take a video tour of the “permitted areas� of the Temple Mount. Article includes links to the tour, in three parts.

-An accounting of the Nazi past of Jerusalem’s “German colony� neighborhood. (Haaretz)

-After 40 years of control, Israel is now registering Jewish-owned property in Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter (approximately 40 acres) as such. And it’s a complex process, in part because it has undergone massive restoration and renovation, much of it illegal, and because ownership structures are complicated. (Haaretz)

Posted on March 13, 2008

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The Inspired Kitchen

This entry was posted in Culture, Holidays on by .

Purim is a merrymaking holiday with many food-related traditions, including giving mishloach manot to family and friends and eating triangular-shaped hamantaschen. But beyond these better-known customs lies one with a lower profile, the eating of beans.

Bean and chick-pea dishes are typically served at the festive meal on Purim day to evoke Queen Esther’s diet while in the court of King Ahasuerus, where the midrash relates that she ate only beans to avoid non-kosher fare. Legumes are also a traditional food for mourners–some suggest that Esther consumed them when she heard of Haman’s plan for the Jewish people. More…

Posted on March 13, 2008

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Who’s that woman in the pulpit?

This entry was posted in History, Practices on by .

Our homepage article this week talks about the changing demographics in the rabbinate. It specifically sites a growing number of Orthodox women who, while not rabbis, are taking over duties traditionally reserved for congregation leaders.

Shmuel Rosner of Ha’aretz investigates this trend in “Who’s that woman in the pulpit?“:

She is part of a new fashion that is getting quite a lot of attention in modern Orthodox circles in America, an offshoot of one of the few trends that are occurring almost simultaneously in America and Israel – the Orthodox women’s revolution. Or to use plain English: women taking key, quasi-rabbinic roles in synagogues. They are almost rabbis, but not really. Or maybe really, but just not called by that name. They deliver sermons, but they cannot lead prayers, nor can they officiate at weddings. But maybe at other ceremonies: for example, funerals.

Posted on March 12, 2008

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Remembering Saul Lieberman

This entry was posted in History on by .

Kudos to FailedMessiah for noting the upcoming lecture to commemorate Professor Saul Lieberman’s 25th yahrzeit.

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about Rabbi J.H. Hertz, who was educated at the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary and later became the (Orthodox) chief rabbi of Britain.

Well, Professor Lieberman was another figure who lived on the border of Orthodox and Conservative Judaism (which, as mentioned in my Hertz post, used to be much closer in practice and ideology).

Born in Motol (now Motal’), near Pinsk, Belarus (then Russian empire), he studied at the Orthodox yeshivot of Malch and Slobodka. While studying at the Slabodka Yeshiva, he befriended Rabbi Yitzchak Ruderman and Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner, both of whom would become leaders of great Rabbinical seminaries in America. In the 1920s he attended the University of Kiev, and, following a short stay in Palestine, continued his studies in France. In 1928 he settled in Jerusalem. He studied talmudic philology and Greek language and literature at the Hebrew University, where he was appointed lecturer in Talmud in 1931. He also taught at the Mizrachi Teachers Seminary and from 1935 was dean of the Harry Fischel Institute for Talmudic Research in Jerusalem.

In 1940 he was invited both by Rabbi Isaac Hutner to teach in the Orthodox Yeshiva Chaim Berlin, and by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America to serve as professor of Palestinian literature and institutions. Lieberman chose the offer by the Jewish Theological Seminary.  (MORE)

Lieberman held down the traditional arm of JTS. It’s no coincidence that the year he died coincided with the year that JTS decided to ordain women.

Interestingly, the memorial lecture is sponsored by the Union for Traditional Judaism, the group founded by Rabbi David Weiss Halivni who left JTS after the 1983 decision.

Posted on March 12, 2008

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