Internet Round-Up: The Best Jewish Stories on the Web
Here are just a few of the recent stories from across the webosphere that speak directly to (and about) Reform Jews. What Jewish stories have you been reading recently? Leave a comment and let us know!
- “His Father’s Murder Drives a Rabbi’s Pursuit of Gun Control,” New York Times
This piece is actually a couple of weeks old, but it deserves ongoing attention. Rabbi Joel Mosbacher’s father was shot to death in a petty robbery in 1999. “I’ve carried this story with me, this anger, every day for the last 14 years,” says the rabbi, who serves Beth Haverim Shir Shalom in Mahwah, N.J., and now advocates for stricter gun laws.
- “Can a moderate chief rabbi transform the Israeli Rabbinate? Not likely,” JTA
Israel’s Chief Rabbinate controls marriage, divorce and conversion for all Israeli Jews, secular or religious, and changes to the way the rabbinate handles these matters cannot be made unilaterally. Rabbi David Stav, a Modern Orthodox rabbi in the running to be Israel’s next Ashkenazi chief rabbi, has cultivated an image as the liberals’ solution to a rabbinate dominated by the Haredi Orthodox, and he is waging a public campaign in advance of the chief rabbi elections that has won him a strong base of popular support.
- “Jewish ‘Women Of The Wall’ Plan Further Court Battles Over Prayer Rights At Western Wall,” Huffington Post
Women seeking equal prayer rights at the Western Wall are planning a further challenge to Jewish Orthodox tradition at the site after a court ruling bolstered their cause. The Women of the Wall hopes to have its members read from a Torah scroll at the Jerusalem site, a ritual reserved under Orthodox practice for men only, when it holds its monthly prayer session there on May 10, says activist Anat Hoffman, leader of Women of the Wall.
- “AJWS CEO Ruth Messinger sees God as a ‘force for justice,'” The Jewish Week
As part of The Jewish Week‘s “God Talk” series, Alfredo Borodowski,executive director of the Skirball Center for Jewish Learning at Temple Emanu-el, interviews Ruth Messinger, president of the American Jewish World Service (AJWS) and a member of the URJ’s Faculty of Expert Practitioners. In 1988, Messinger left a 20-year career in politics, including Manhattan borough president, for AJWS, which supports human rights for marginalized people around the world.
- “To stay afloat, shuls merging across denominational divide,” JTA
In areas with waning Jewish populations, Reform and Conservative congregations are merging, combining customs and sharing sacred spaces to preserve local Jewish life. Some synagogues in financial straits have stopped one step short of a full merger, opting to share facilities revamped for the needs of communities with a range of practices and beliefs.