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What death can teach

By her own account, my mother is not a religious woman. She does not read the Bible, know Hebrew or put much stock in Jewish observance. She has been known to comment on my own degree of commitment to Judaism in anxious, hushed tones, the kind she uses when someone in our family is seriously ill.

My brother once told me she told him about the “weird tent with hanging fruit” in our backyard (our sukkah) and the cleaning frenzy I engage in before Passover as evidence that I’ve gone off the deep end and joined some bizarre cult.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 19 June 2014 01:48 )

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View From Denver

Is prayer an attempt to manipulate G-d?

Is prayer an attempt to manipulate G-d?AS we go to press, people around the world are praying for the safety and release of the three boys apparently kidnapped in Israel on June 12. What do we expect to happen from these prayers? If the boys are released, does that mean that we manipulated  G-d? If the boys are not released, does that mean that G-d does not listen to our prayers? What is prayer, exactly? In this column, I concentrate on petitionary prayer, leaving for another time prayers that constitute praise of G-d and grati...

Last Updated ( Friday, 20 June 2014 02:30 )

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View From Denver

The mission of the 12 spies — a metaphor

The mission of the 12 spies — a metaphorJUST as the opening chapters of Genesis are not meant to be a science book (though Genesis does contain scientific data), the middle chapters of Numbers are not meant to be a history book (though they contain historical information). The Torah intends to teach its readers the meaning of things more than the things themselves. Even so, what could be the meaning for us of the failed mission of the 12 spies? This took place more than 3,000 years ago. Spies were sent to scout out the land of Canaan...
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View from Central Park

A Jew is a Jew is a Jew

THE news that Cardinal John O’Connor of New York was born of a Jewish mother surfaced a while ago. This week there was an extensive article about it in The New York Times. Not only was the cardinal born of a Jewish mother, but her father, the Cardinal’s grandfather, was a rabbi and a shochet. His mother converted to Catholicism when she was 19 and never spoke of her Jewishness. She died a devout Catholic, while sitting in a chair praying with the rosary. The theory and consensus are that th...

Last Updated ( Thursday, 12 June 2014 01:56 )

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Reflections

Countering racial slurs with clarity

I was ecstatic when our dear friends Barry and Bonnie called to tell us they were coming for a visit. Like most people, my husband and I rarely make time to do the wonderful “touristy” things in Tucson that others travel thousands of miles to see. So I immediately rushed to the phone to reserve a spot for the four of us for a tour at the world-renown caves located in southern Arizona. It was a glorious day and as we waited on the patio for the tour group to gather, our guide asked each of...
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Shabbat Times

JTA News

Code red rocket alerts sounded in southern Israel

Marcy Oster At least five Code Red rocket alerts sounded in southern Israeli communities. ... [Link]

Congressmen, in HIAS-backed letter, urge aid to religious minorities in Iran

Marcy Oster A bipartisan group of Congress members sent a letter to the leaders of the House Appropriations Committee, urging them to continue aiding religious minorities trapped in Iran. ... [Link]

Jewish groups pan Senate’s failure to ratify international disabilities treaty

Marcy Oster Jewish groups joined disability rights activists in expressing disappointment with the U.S. Senate’s failure to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. ... [Link]

Pope holds pre-Rosh Hashanah with Jewish delegation at Vatican

Marcy Oster In a pre-Rosh Hashana meeting, Pope Francis and a World Jewish Congress delegation discussed the worrying international situation, including the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. ... [Link]

Groups working to prevent federal funding of anti-Israel activity on campus

Marcy Oster Ten organizations have announced a coordinated effort to convince Congress to reform the Higher Education Act to prevent federal funding of anti-American and anti-Israel activity. ... [Link]

Orthodox synagogue ready to hire first female clergy member

Raffi Wineburg Congregation B’nai David-Judea, an Orthodox synagogue in Los Angeles, is planning to hire its first female clergy member by September, 2015. ... [Link]

An artist reclaims Jewish sites in Kosovo

Ron Kampeas In a performance attended by Kosovo’s president, artist Elana Katz scatters powder around a ‘forgotten Jewish past.’ ... [Link]

Polish Jews split over plan to exhume massacre victims

Cnaan Liphshiz A planned Polish investigation of the 1941 massacre in Wasosz is pitting the religious imperative of protecting the dignity of the dead against the desire for historic justice. ... [Link]

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