Jewish Reaction to Gay Marriage Decision

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So how has the Jewish community responded to the marriage equality decision?My own Facebook page demonstrates 100% approval. But that’s not really so scientific. Nevertheless, it does reflect the actual American Jewish consensus. The last poll of the community indicated that 83% supported marriage equality.The Forward provided a breakdown of Jewish celebrities. We Jews do love bragging about our celebrities. The 83% support of American Jewry combined with Hollywood’s nearly 100% approval … [Read more...]

Sheldon Adelson, Maccabee Warrior

The Maccabees...Not The Greatest Role Models

The Adelson-Saban Republicratic (So-Called Mainstream) Jewish Summit Meeting to Eradicate the Menace of BDS Jew-Hatred has concluded. Fifty million dollars was pledged to slaughter the BDS-monster, though they seemed to have no plans or strategies for how to do that. The one thing that we did learn from the big Vegas get-together is that the effort now has a name. The Forward is reporting that it will be called the Campus Maccabees project or effort or some such term.This is a most … [Read more...]

How to Lose Friends and Alienate Allies

By Pete Souza (White House (P032013PS-0320)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

President Obama gave a pretty important interview last week to a major news channel. You probably didn’t hear about it because the interview was with Israel’s Channel 2 News. More on this below. Meanwhile, this week the Treasury Secretary of the United State, an Orthodox Jew named Jack Lew, was booed and jeered and heckled by attendees at the annual Jerusalem Post Conference in New York. This happened when he told the audience that the president remains enormously committed to the security of Is … [Read more...]

Easy as ABC: Adelson, Antisemitism, BDS & Campus

By Takver [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

A few weeks ago I hosted a forum at my congregation. The topic was whether American Jews can have a civil conversation about Israel given the enormous divide that has developed between left and right. One of the organizations that I tried to recruit into the conversation immediately put forth its red line. Its representatives would not sit on a panel alongside advocates of boycotting, divesting from and sanctioning Israel (aka BDS). Due to a variety of reasons, we held the forum without them. … [Read more...]

Being Clueless about Being Jewish in a Polite Society

Twitter Bird by Joao Lima Jr [CC BY-SA 3.0]

Taffy Brodesser-Akner is an entertainment writer who contributes to GQ, The New York Times and, on Jewish issues, to Tablet.com. The latter, by the way, now charges readers to comment. This is either an interesting way to avoid trolls or one really stupid business model.Speaking of stupid, let me get back to Ms. Brodesser-Akner, specifically her recent piece for Tablet, “I Probably Won’t Share This Essay on Twitter:  Some thoughts on being Jewish in contemporary polite society.”Not sharin … [Read more...]

“The Feast of Weeks” Is Here Again!

Moritz_Daniel_Oppenheim_-_Shavuot_(Pentecost)_(Das_Wochen-_oder_Pfingst-Fest)_-_Google_Art_Project

Last night we celebrated Shavuot (archaically known as "The Feast of Weeks") at our congregation.Talk about a difficult holiday for Secular Humanistic Jews! This one’s got almost nothing to offer. There are very few rituals that merit any kind of modern application or re-interpretation. The main theme of “receiving the Torah at Sinai” is not exactly inspiring for people who openly acknowledge that no Torah was received at any place called Sinai (or Horeb, for that matter).The Torah has t … [Read more...]

Shabbat Funerals And Other Transgressions

On Monday morning I attended a meeting of the Michigan Board of Rabbis. Like most big city rabbinical groups, the Michigan Board of Rabbis is really just a board of some rabbis. There are no Orthodox rabbis involved.When I arrived, the chairperson took me aside and told me that he was sorry for the late notice, but there would be an agenda item relevant to me. Someone had requested a discussion about “Funerals on Shabbat.” I may be new here, but I didn’t just fall off the matzah truck. There … [Read more...]

Cultural Jewish Conversion: A New Old Idea

Steven Cohen and Kerry Olitzky are two great advocates of Jewish inclusion. Now they have come up with an incredibly innovative idea that they’ve written about in the Forward. After noting that many, many people are already affiliating with Jewish communities and even calling themselves Jews without undergoing any kind of religious conversion, they offer this:For those who would prefer not (yet?) to acquire a Jewish religious identity but still want a Jewish social/cultural identity, they c … [Read more...]

Atheist Jew? Apparently This Is Not A Thing You Can Be

Rabbi Eric Yoffie’s derision of secular Jews and Judaism is receiving a boost from a surprising source. David Silverman has joined him. You can read all about it in a recent Tablet Magazine profile about the leader of the confrontational American Atheists.Silverman’s certainly not the first nontheist to reject his Jewishness. The great secular humanist, Prof. Paul Kurtz (founder of the Center for Inquiry), famously held a similar position. Israeli author Shlomo Sand just wrote a whole book ab … [Read more...]

Yoffie Redux: Godlessness Is Not The Answer!

I am thoroughly frustrated with Rabbi Eric Yoffie, former head of Reform Judaism. You may recall his January piece in HuffPost - and my response - in which he called secular Jews deluded and argued that Judaism is useless without God.Now comes the Pew Report and the waves of discussion about how growing numbers of Jews report that they are atheists or agnostics and definitely not Jewish by religion. This has led some people to consider the possibility that the Jewish world may be better … [Read more...]


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