This week, the Board of Education in Mongomery County, Maryland voted 7 to 1 to eliminate references to all religious holidays in their published calendar for 2015-2016. They acted in response to a request from the community's Muslim leaders that the Muslim holy day of Eid al-Adha be added alongside holidays such as Christmas, Easter, Yom Kippur and Rosh Hoshanah.
Publisher Jaime Stern of the Jewish News of Greater Phoenix was among the panelists discussing what the community’s priorities should be at a Valley Beit Midrash event held at Congregation Beth Israel on Oct. 22. Jewish News published a recap, “Panel addresses community priorities,” in the Oct. 31 issue. Readers have asked that we provide more information on what was discussed. What follows is an adaptation of her prepared remarks in which she mentions Rabbi Irwin Kula.
"To me, “father” and “soldier” are almost antithetical words. My 89-year-old parent was an English professor. He taught Shakespeare. His world was (and still is to a certain extent) a man of theatre, books, film and intellectual banter. A hammer and a screwdriver were dangerous tools in his hands. His mind was much stronger than his muscles. But my father was indeed a soldier...."
"Could football really be the new tobacco, as suggested by the cover of the NY Times Magazine and to be fair, by The Dish's Andrew Sullivan 2.5 years ago? Before you go calling me some nanny state, un-American alarmist just looking for one more legitimate pleasure that people should be free to enjoy, watch this video which details the brain damage sustained by high school football players..."
"Darden Smith is an innovator of the human spirit. I met this charismatic, humble, talented, Texas musician / singer / songwriter a couple of months ago at the BIF10 innovation summit where with guitar in hand, he told his story of how the pursuit of the song has kept him on this planet.
"November 9th marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall. German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that event to be proof that “dreams do come true”. Having spoken at the Reichstag, and felt the wonder of being able to do so, I know what she means..."
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"How do we define our own connection to Judaism? What unites us and what divides us? In what ways do the modes we use to define ourselves become off putting for someone exploring the Jewish community? These are tough questions and with no easy answer. Yet, there is one thing we could begin doing that would make a big impact..."
This week, Jillian McCabe threw her autistic 6-year-old son London from a bridge to his death. The murder has provoked many reactions, among them a surprising amount of sympathy for the mother, who was by many accounts overwhelmed by her son's condition. "When our sense of mercy for one person is built on the message that the person they have harmed or killed is less than human because of whatever affects them, something is terribly wrong." says Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, president of Clal and co-founder and executive editor of TheWisdomDaily.com.
From Odyssey Networks’ FAITH ON THE RECORD
"We have come to learn over the past few years that elections, as critical as they are, do not insure a healthy democratic society. Citizens committed to freedom and a public culture with institutions that enable deliberative conversations and political compromise make real the promise of democracy implied by free elections. Well, we wake up today after our free elections - with the same, if not greater political dysfunction and cultural polarization, than we had 48 hours ago..."
"Andrew Silow-Carroll, editor-in-chief of the New Jersey Jewish News, is a veteran of the Jewish community’s communications world, with previous stints at The Forward and Clal. He’s also a maven on Jewish humor. He’ll talk about “The History of the Jews in Ten Jokes” at Temple Emanu-El’s adult education Skirball Center on Nov. 19, Dec. 3 and 10. The Jewish Week interviewed him by email. This is an edited transcript..."