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Denmark Chief Rabbi Pushes Back Against Benjamin Netanyahu's 'Immigrate to Israel' Call

Sun, 02/15/2015 - 08:53

Denmark’s chief rabbi on Sunday said he was “disappointed” by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call on European Jews to immigrate to Israel, following the double shootings in Copenhagen a day earlier, including one on a synagogue that left a young Jewish guard dead.

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Copenhagen Police Kill Suspect After Terror Murders at Synagogue and Arts Center

Sun, 02/15/2015 - 08:19

Copenhagen police shot dead a gunman suspected of killing a synagogue guard and a man at a free speech event as twin terror attacks rocked the peaceful Scandinavian nation.

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Anti-Semitic Copenhagen Attacks Deplorable

Sun, 02/15/2015 - 07:23
President of World Union for Progressive Judaism Rabbi Freelander: "The attacks in Copenhagen are an assault on our values and on all free and democratic societies that embrace human dignity."

1 Killed Outside Copenhagen Synagogue After Deadly 'Terror' Arts Center Shooting

Sat, 02/14/2015 - 23:02

One person was killed in a shooting outside a Copenhagen synagogue after another person was killed when a masked gunman sprayed bullets at a nearby venue holding a meeting attended by a Swedish artist threatened with death for his cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

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Deep in Dixie, Synagogue Stands Up for Gay Marriage — and Couples Flock To Say 'I Do'

Sat, 02/14/2015 - 20:00

What happens when you combine a deep-in-the-heart-of-Dixie battle over same-sex marriage and a synagogue determined to take a stand for equality?

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Honey, I Stole the Judaism

Sat, 02/14/2015 - 18:00

A Jewish convert is drawn to Orthodoxy, but his less-observant wife think’s he’s nuts. He asks the Seesaw if he should find a compromise — or take a new spiritual path alone.

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Church Economics Prize; Rabbi Jonathan Sacks; Preparing for Losar

Fri, 02/13/2015 - 17:07

A United Methodist church in Brooklyn offers an award for the best explanation of why the U.S. economy is doing so poorly; Britain’s former chief rabbi leads a global effort against religious extremism and violence; and Tibetan Buddhists make their spiritual preparations for the new year, the Year of the Sheep.

The post Church Economics Prize; Rabbi Jonathan Sacks; Preparing for Losar appeared first on Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Fri, 02/13/2015 - 13:30

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks retired after serving 22 years as the Chief Rabbi for the United Kingdom. He is teaching in the US this year and leading a global religious response to religious violence. Interviewed at Congregation Shearith Israel in New York City.

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Rabbi Jonathan Sacks Extended Interview

Fri, 02/13/2015 - 13:10

“We have to go back to the 17th century and ask what healed all that harm? And of course the simple answer is that what wins wars is weapons but what wins peace is ideas.” Watch more of our interview with the former Chief Rabbi for the United Kingdom. Interviewed at Congregation Shearith Israel in New York City.

The post Rabbi Jonathan Sacks Extended Interview appeared first on Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

Preparing for Losar

Fri, 02/13/2015 - 13:00

Sharing a special meal and performing rituals of spiritual cleansing help Tibetan Buddhists get ready for the upcoming new year.

The post Preparing for Losar appeared first on Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

A Museum as Big as Texas

Fri, 02/13/2015 - 06:00

The Dallas Museum of Biblical Art has massive ambitions befitting its roots in Texas — but should it leave prayer to churches?

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Mikveh-Peep Rabbi Barry Freundel Secretly Videotaped at Least 150 Women, Prosecutors Say

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 19:28

Rabbi Barry Freundel secretly videotaped at least 150 women in the mikveh at his prominent Washington D.C. synagogue, prosectors reportedly told a meeting of alleged victims.

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Jerry Koenig, Forward Ad Director and Activist, Dies at 84

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 17:11

Jerry Koenig was the Forward’s director of advertising. He was also among the originators of Peace Now, an actor, a writers of Haikus, and a devoted family man.

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Hasidic Rabbi Facing Sex Abuse Charge To Be Extradited by Dutch

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 13:29

An Israeli rabbi who fought his extradition from the Netherlands for alleged sex crimes may be turned over to Israeli authorities, a Dutch court ruled.

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Australia Chabad Rabbi Quits After 'Repugnant' Sex Abuse Testimony to Commisision

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 07:46

A senior rabbi resigned as a director of Chabad’s Yeshiva Center in Sydney following comments he made at the Royal Commission into the child sexual abuse scandal inside two Chabad institutions in Australia.

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Rachel Timoner Brings Social Justice Focus to Brooklyn's Congregation Beth Elohim

Tue, 02/10/2015 - 16:53

One of the top agenda items these days for Rachel Timoner, associate rabbi at the Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles, is trying to get a train built along the I-405 freeway stretching from the North San Fernando Valley to the city’s international airport.

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Alan Parsons Will Play Tel Aviv, Despite Roger Waters' Objections

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 18:40

Alan Parsons will be playing Tel Aviv over the objections of fellow British musician Roger Waters, a BDS supporter.

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L’Taken Participants Lobby for Campaign Finance Reform

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 13:00

At the last L’Taken seminar, Illinois students lobbied their Senators and Representative about the critical importance of campaign finance reform. Jonah Helbraun and Ryan Liberman of Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, IL, and Francesca Block of Congregation Hakafa in Glencoe, IL, joined forces to share facts, Jewish values, and a powerful story about the real effects of money in politics in their community:

Ryan: Campaign finance has largely become about who has more money. In the 2014 midterm elections, we saw the most expensive Senate race in the history of this government. In this North Carolina race, candidates and outside groups spent a combined $111 million, the first ever Senate race to surpass $100 million. In total, the mid-term election cost about $3.67 billion this year, a conservative estimate that only includes spending disclosed to the Federal Election commission.

Jonah: Every person’s opinion counts, but in today’s politics, not every person is being heard. The Torah speaks on the negatives of taking a bribe: taking bribes “blinds the cause of those who are right.” Although campaign contributions are not bribes, they unfortunately force the same result. The current campaign finance system takes candidates’ minds away from the people and from their ideals, instead forcing the candidates to focus on the wealthy few. This system also stops potential candidates from running, as potential candidates cannot afford to run a successful campaign. The Torah teaches that everyone should have the same rights and the same chances in life. But, unfair campaign finance places candidates who are not independently wealthy or highly funded on a lower playing field.

Francesca: I know someone who has been affected by the unjust campaign finance system. This person is extremely close to me and influential in my life. He is a patient, intelligent, and thoughtful person. I believe that he would bring forth an important perspective on political issues happening in Illinois and around the country. Unfortunately, the idea that elections are greatly influenced by fundraising has persuaded this person to stay away from running from office. He felt that even though he was particularly well-off, he was not nearly wealthy enough to finance a campaign. He is an honest man who wanted his views to align by his personal faith and the beliefs of his constituents instead of the ideas of his sponsors. Therefore, my friend felt that the odds were stacked against him. Without the proper access to the funds other campaigners used, this man felt that he lacked an essential piece of that support.

Now think about this: A man, living in a relatively wealthy city in Illinois, who has a successful career and strongly believes in his values, was convinced that he could not effectively run for office because he felt that he could not raise enough money to have a successful campaign. If a well off citizen feels he cannot run, what about those less well-off or those who fall below the poverty line? Many of these people know the issues at the center of policy and legislation in the United States, yet their economic situation holds them back from sharing their opinion. These people cannot even think about running for office and trying to raise the millions of dollars necessary to run a successful campaign. The United States loses crucial voices all around the country because of the expenses of running a campaign. How can Congress and other sections of government fully represent the United States if the majority of officials come from places where they have easier access to funding?

Indeed, we must work together to ensure that candidates can focus on their constituents rather on their campaign funds, and that money in politics does not prevent qualified candidates from running in the first place. Take inspiration from Francesca, Jonah and Ryan’s action to urge your Members of Congress to support fair elections today.

Britain Must Take 'Immediate Action' to Quash Anti-Semitism, Report States

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 12:05

Instituting measures to deal with hate crimes on social media and a government fund to protect synagogues are among 35 recommendations offered by a British parliamentary inquiry into rising anti-Semitism.

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David Stav Named Co-Chief of Ohr Torah Stone

Sun, 02/08/2015 - 19:13

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin reportedly has named a potential successor for his Modern Orthodox educational network Ohr Torah Stone.

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