I need to unclog the drains of some links that have been piling up over the last two weeks:
- In what can be categorized as the least surprising news of the last two weeks, the purported “agreement” between the Rabbinical Council of America and Israel’s chief rabbinate on conversion standards has hit a snag. Even more unsurprising is that the Israeli rabbinate appears to be to blame, demanding that U.S. rabbis who have never served in a rabbinical court must travel to Israel where they must pass an examination. As the two sides battle it out, sincere future Jews languish in limbo.
- In a much more positive sign of intra-Jewish cooperation, the Conservative and Reform rabbinical seminaries recently announced that a few rabbinical students from each school will train and learn together as part of a pilot program. Beginning in 2008, four students each from the Reform Hebrew Union College and the Conservative Jewish Theological Seminary will take part in joint classes on outreach to interfaith families, outreach to LGBT Jews, leadership development, fundraising and marketing. The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation will be funding the project.
- In late March, Robert Leiter, a fine writer for The (Philadelphia) Jewish Exponent, wrote an offensive article praising two books titled Why Marry Jewish? and Dear Rabbi, Why Can’t I Marry Her? We made our thoughts known in a letter to the editor of the Exponent. It garnered this response from Rabbi Eliezer Shemtov, author of Dear Rabbi.
- The Kansas City Star has the haunting story of a half-Jewish, half-Catholic woman who once stood an arm’s length away from Adolf Hitler when she was a child:
“He had this tremendous look and charisma about him, and he looked right into our eyes,” she said. “I saw his eyes. They seemed like they were violet to me. They had a dark, purplish appearance.”
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