A rabbi answers a call to diakonia

From The New York Times comes an inspiring glimpse at one prominent New York religious leader who decided it was time to step away from the pulpit and work to help the poor: Leafy, affluent Park Slope, Brooklyn, embodies the challenge facing modern American Jewry: Though many Jews live there, few are observant. So it [Read More...]

Being Jewish at a Catholic high school

Here’s a perspective you don’t hear often, from writer Aaron Reiss in The Houston Press:  I’m sure it seems weird at this point that I chose to go to Catholic school. My grandmother on my dad’s side of the family was skeptical. I remember my dad and I picking her up from airport once while [Read More...]

Choosing life: Muslims and Jews plan joint fast to promote peace

Maybe we should join them. Details:  On Tuesday, July 15, Jews and Arabs will fast, together. From Texas to Tel Aviv, Kalansuwa to Kuwait, in synagogues and mosques, community centers and public spaces, they will gather to learn, pray and talk to each other as part of Choose Life, a movement looking for a way [Read More...]

Church officials alarmed by anti-Christian graffiti in Jerusalem ahead of pope’s visit

From Reuters:  The Roman Catholic Church in Jerusalem, preparing for a visit by Pope Francis later this month, has expressed alarm over threats to Christians scrawled by suspected Jewish extremists on church property in the Holy Land. In an incident on Monday, “Death to Arabs and Christians and all those who hate Israel” was daubed [Read More...]

Who knew? Family discovers Cardinal O’Connor’s mother was Jewish

A surprising piece of news uncovered in Catholic New York: Cardinal John O’Connor, who as Archbishop of New York cultivated and cherished his strong ties to the Jewish community, was born of a mother who was born Jewish. It is not known whether he knew that his mother, Dorothy Gumple O’Connor, was born Jewish. She [Read More...]

Report: Jews ordered to register in Ukraine

From USA TODAY:  Jews in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk where pro-Russian militants have taken over government buildings were told they have to “register” with the Ukrainians who are trying to make the city become part of Russia, according to Israeli media. Jews emerging from a synagogue say they were handed leaflets that ordered [Read More...]

Ah, only in New York…

Yes, evidently they really do have things like this:  If Jewish food were to have a signature scent, it would be the smell of Katz’s deli — at least for me. The aroma of corned beef brined in spices, pastrami dripping with fat, fried potato knishes and freshly sliced rye assaults the senses the second [Read More...]

Pope Francis to Jews: “Shalom!”

He spoke to members of the American Jewish Committee today. The text:  Dear friends, I welcome you here today. Your organization, which on various occasions has met with my venerable Predecessors, maintains good relations with the Holy See and with many representatives of the Catholic world. I am very grateful to you for the distinguished [Read More...]

A rabbi on Pope Francis: “All of us who do religious work can learn from his example”

From Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie:  The Pope is not just a leader; he is a religious leader who, precisely because of his religious vitality, has succeeded in touching human hearts. The Pope Francis phenomenon is a reminder, yet again, that spirituality and not secularity is the driving force of modern life; it is his spiritual [Read More...]

Is this Christmas billboard un-Christian?

A Jewish friend posted this on Facebook, and I think the author—who is Jewish—has a good point. Details:  While recently driving through one of those long rural stretches that blur the lines between Midwest and South, I saw a large billboard that said in cheery letters: “Happy Holidays!” But the billboard featured an angry red [Read More...]