The Link Sink

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Catching up on some notable articles from the last few weeks:

  • Adam Wills, a fine writer at the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, has written a singles piece unlike anything you’ve seen before in a Jewish paper. He’s been giving his brother dating advice since his divorce, the only difference is that while Adam is a devoted Jew, his brother converted to Catholicism–but is slowly crawling his way back to Judaism.
  • I’m interviewed as part of a story on a Jewish dating service in The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier. For a piece written by a (presumably) non-Jewish reporter on an issue that I doubt he had much prior knowledge of, it’s quite well-done, sensitively handling those who promote Jewish in-dating and those who are friendly to interfaith couples.
  • The Forward recently reported on the push by a small group of activists to take circumcision out of the bris ritual. The article itself is interesting enough, but check out the comments–in print form, there are more than 60 pages worth of comments.
  • Rabbi Benjamin Blech, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Judaism, has added his two shekels on the great Noah Feldman debate.
  • The United Jewish Communities conducted a National Jewish Population Survey in 1990 and 2000-01. As useful as the data from those surveys are, the experience has been, to put it kindly, troubled. Following the 1990 survey, the UJC reported an inflated intermarriage figure–52%–for the Jewish community that they were then forced to go back and explain really was 43%. Then, following the 2000-01 survey, it came out that the UJC had irretrievably lost a whole mess of data and that the survey almost certainly undercounted the American Jewish population. Now, to add insult to inaccuracy, the UJC has trademarked the National Jewish Population Survey–despite the fact that the UJC has said it will not be conducting another one in 2010. So now if any other organization wanted to step up to the plate and do a legitimate national Jewish population survey–minus the UJC’s bungles, hopefully–they would have to call it something else. And for all its faults, the NJPS has name recognition that no other Jewish demographic endeavor has. In a recent op-ed in The Forward, three of the country’s most esteemed Jewish demographers, Leonard Saxe, Charles Kadushin and Benjamin Phillips, beseech the UJC to “Let Our Population Data Go.”
  • Tom Tugend, one of the revered elders of Jewish journalism (no offense, Tom), has written a nice little feature on Milos Forman, director of the forthcoming film Goya’s Ghosts. The film stars Natalie Portman as a woman who is jailed during the Inquisition for being a “Judaizer” because she refuses pork at a public inn. Forman, who also directed One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The People vs. Larry Flynt, is not Jewish, but his biological father was–and the Protestant parents who raised him were both murdered by the Nazis.
  • The Rev. Susanna Stefanachi Macomb, a non-Jewish interfaith minister and author of Joining Hands and Hearts, gives NPR her input on how to make an interfaith wedding truly “interfaith.”
  • In the Baltimore Jewish Times, a Catholic married to a Jewish man gives her take on the controversial revival of the Latin Mass, which may include a call for the conversion of the Jews in its Good Friday edition. In a country where most Catholics are lapsed Catholics, it’s both insightful–and a tad uncomfortable–to read the perspective of a real believer.

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