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Music City Roofers Invites People to Join in 21 Day Fast and Prayer...

1 hour 22 min ago

As part of a tribute to the heroes and everyone effected by the events of 9/11/2001, Music City Roofers (musiccityroofers.com) sponsors a funds raiser and invites people in America and from all over...

(PRWeb September 11, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/09/prweb12161074.htm

A Las Vegas Jewish New Year Story: Bet Knesset Bamidbar, the Largest...

1 hour 22 min ago

…Finds its Match in New Rabbi, Steven Rosenberg

(PRWeb September 09, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/09/prweb12145221.htm

Sim Shalom will Hold Jazz High Holiday Services at Zeb's;...

1 hour 22 min ago

The Sim Shalom Online Synagogue will hold its Jazz High Holiday Services at Zeb’s Sound and Light in Chelsea – and that celebration will include a very special guest.

(PRWeb September 08, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08/prweb12085561.htm

New Novel, ‘Sleeping Truth,’ Offers Narrative Suggesting Evolution of...

Mon, 09/22/2014 - 19:30

Former Temple President Martin Vesole explores Judaism and reform in the 21st century.

(PRWeb September 03, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/09/prweb12138575.htm

UN Summit a Meaningful Opportunity to Impact Climate Change 

Mon, 09/22/2014 - 16:00

In advance of the UN Climate Summit beginning tomorrow, Barbara Weinstein, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and Director of the Commission on Social Action, issued the following statement:

“We are pleased to join with others in the environmental, scientific and faith communities in urging our domestic and international leaders this week to make a strong commitment to curbing climate change and its effects. This past weekend, the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis were proud to partner with HUC-JIR and Reform congregants and congregations from the greater New York area and beyond to be part of the 300,000-plus who participated in the People’s Climate March to express our shared commitment to achieving a solution to the current climate crisis.

As people of faith, blessed to live in a nation with the resources and ability to be a climate leader, we have a moral obligation to address the devastation of climate change that is already wreaking havoc on the air we breathe, water we drink and earth that sustains us. Yet only with a concerted international commitment to tackling this challenge can we ensure that we pass on a healthy earth as we pass on our sacred traditions l’dor v’dor, from one generation to the next. We must act in particular for the sake of the most vulnerable – the sick, children, the elderly and others living in communities ill-equipped to respond to the increasing instances of flooding, drought, food shortages, and disease associated with climate change.

We look forward to this week’s summit renewing the global commitment to stemming climate change and to meaningful engagement from individuals, corporations, communities, and nations.”

White House Promise Zones Initiative Conference Call

Mon, 09/22/2014 - 15:00

In his 2013 State of the Union Address, President Obama announced the Promise Zones Initiative: the federal government partnering with and investing in a number of high-poverty urban, rural, and tribal communities to create jobs, expand educational opportunities, improve public safety, increase economic activity, and leverage private investment. These partnerships serve as future pathways to the middle class for high-poverty communities throughout the country.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, September 23, at 12:00 PM ET, the White House will be hosting a conference call to learn more about the next round of applications for communities to participate in the Promises Initiative. The call will be off the record and for non-press purposes. Register for the call here and feel free to share this information with your community contacts who may be interested in this initiative.

The first round of Promise Zones (communities participating in this initiative) were announced in January 2014 and include San Antonio, TX, Los Angeles, CA, Philadelphia, PA, Southeastern Kentucky, and Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Each designees has shown that it takes collaborative efforts – between private business and federal, state, tribal and local officials; faith-based and non-profit organizations; children and parents – to ensure that hard work can lead to a decent living in every community, for any American.

Our Jewish values instruct us to partner with others to help them help themselves as well as to work in collaboration with others. We are taught that “you are commanded to provide the needy with whatever they lack … You are commanded to fulfill all of their needs, though not required to make them wealthy.” (Mishneh Torah, Laws Concerning Gifts to the Poor, 7:3) We look forward to hearing about the existing and future efforts to partner with local communities and businesses to decrease income inequality and to promote justice.

California Synagogue Director Sentenced to Prison for Embezzlement

Sun, 09/21/2014 - 20:24

The former executive director of a synagogue in La Jolla, Calif., was sentenced to 18 months in prison for embezzlement.

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Ex-Calif. synagogue director sentenced to jail for embezzlement

Sun, 09/21/2014 - 15:44

(JTA) — The former executive director of a synagogue in La Jolla, Calif., was sentenced to 18 months in prison for embezzlement.

Eric Levine, 37, was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in San Diego after pleading guilty in April to embezzling more than $540,000 from Congregation Beth El over five years. He also was ordered to provide restitution to the synagogue and given three years of supervised release following his prison stint.

Levine was in charge of the Conservative synagogue’s bank account and credit card from 2008 to 2013, according to the Los Angeles Times. The synagogue has an annual budget of nearly $2 million.

According to federal documents, he used the money for trips to Las Vegas, Mexico, Hawaii, Canada and the La Costa Resort and Spa; bought expensive furniture and jewelry; and paid to send his children to private school. Levine hid the expenses under such headings as Ritual Fund, Rabbi Emeritus, High Holidays and Purim Baskets.

The Southern California congregation reportedly laid off employees during the time period due to a lack of funds.

“Our diminished staff spends much more time on accounting than on our mission of creating a lively Jewish community in San Diego,” Rabbi Philip Graubart told the judge, according to the Los Angeles Times. “It’s hard to know if we’ll ever be the same.”

In December, before the embezzlement was found, Levine left Beth El for another executive director’s job at a congregation in the Washington, D.C., area. He was later fired by that congregation.

Op-Ed: To keep Jewish professionals, let them go

Sun, 09/21/2014 - 15:00

Companies like LinkedIn offer great models for how the Jewish community can benefit from the transient nature of employment.

(JTA) — I recently attended a farewell party for someone switching jobs from one Jewish organization to another. Among many accolades, one person giving a toast said, “While we are sorry to lose him, at least he is still committed to working in the Jewish world.”

While I appreciate this sentiment — and believe the Jewish community stands to benefit from this person’s many talents — it points to a common assumption that Jewish professionals should hold lifelong employment in the Jewish sector. Yet for the next generation of professionals, signs suggest it won’t be the case.

Data consistently show that employees spend less time in any given position, changing jobs every three to five years, with over 40 percent of those changes to completely different sectors. The rates are even higher for younger talent.

After years of work and research in talent development in and out of the Jewish community, I have come to realize that we can leverage how people actually build their careers in order to strengthen the Jewish professional sector and continue to grow the quantity and quality of our talent.

It starts with embracing the concept of permeability. We talk today about working in the “Jewish world” as if it is an independent celestial body full of J-infused acronyms, hard-to-penetrate borders and scorn if you consider leaving. As a result, great people who don’t see a permanent place for themselves in the sector are inclined to leave and never return, while others don’t even consider becoming Jewish professionals in the first place.

In reality, the Jewish sector could be just as fluid and dynamic as some of the most competitive sectors in the world.

Take the high-tech sector, for example. Companies like LinkedIn offer great models for how to navigate and ultimately benefit from the transient nature of employment. LinkedIn’s approach is explained in “The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age,” a book written by its chairman, Reid Hoffman, along with Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh.

The professional networking platform hires people for “tours of duty” — two- to 10-year engagements with specific missions that meet company objectives and the employee’s personal development goals. Employees talk openly with their managers about leaving to do tours at other companies, but many also talk about coming back to LinkedIn when their needs align in the future.

This example shows that in order to fully leverage our porous structure, we need to communicate our understanding of our own permeability.

Indeed, instead of battening down the hatches, clinging to our employees and turning our backs to “outsiders,” we should send the message that while you are working in a Jewish organization, however long that may be, you will have an unparalleled opportunity to learn, grow and lay the groundwork for the career you envision.

Moving forward requires structural changes that embrace flexibility and promote the opportunities inherent in our sector. It requires ongoing and open conversations with rising talent about where they will go, and it requires us talking about the valuable skills and networks one can build working in Jewish organizational life.

Moreover, instead of denigrating people who choose to switch from the Jewish sector to a secular job, it means that we celebrate the fact that a non-Jewish organization recognizes the value of the skills gained in this sector.

It means that even as we bid farewell to staff members, we continue meaningful relationships with them, helping them find new opportunities, engaging their help in recruiting for our organizations, inspiring them and helping them to become key lay leaders for Jewish organizations. And finally, it means that we welcome those whose previous work experience is from outside the Jewish community.

By empowering individuals to spend a few years in the Jewish community building skills and networks, enhancing their professional and personal trajectories, and investing in a long-term relationship with them, we will attract and retain better talent to do this holy work.

Indeed, the more open and supportive the Jewish community becomes of individuals who embody the practice of moving between jobs and sectors, we will actually — perhaps counter-intuitively — create a more durable and attractive sector.

(Adam Simon is the director of Leadership Initiatives for the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.)

Do's and Don'ts of Going to Synagogue Only on High Holidays

Sat, 09/20/2014 - 18:00

For every Jew who goes to synagogue only on the High Holidays, there’s a rabbi keenly aware of that fact. Sometimes even ‘stressed’ and ‘frustrated’ over that fact.

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Beit T’Shuvah

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 12:02

The Jewish High Holidays begin at sundown on Wednesday, September 24. Rabbi Mark Borovitz, spiritual leader of residential treatment center Beit T’Shuvah, the House of Return, in Los Angeles, speaks about this period of reflection and prayer. A former addict who spent time in prison, Borovitz sees addiction as a spiritual illness and the act of repenting, or doing teshuvah, as central to the recovery process.

The post Beit T’Shuvah appeared first on Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

French Man Gets $1,300 Fine for Doing Quenelle

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 10:34

A tribunal fined and handed a suspended sentence to a man who made the quenelle gesture in front of a French synagogue’s Holocaust memorial plaque.

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French man gets suspended sentence for quenelle at synagogue

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 07:49

(JTA) — A tribunal fined and handed a suspended sentence to a man who made the quenelle gesture in front of a French synagogue’s Holocaust memorial plaque.

The Correctional Tribunal of Colmar in northeastern France last week sentenced the 42-year-old man, who was not named in media reports, to three months in jail, to become effective if he is convicted of a similar offense. He was also made to pay $1,300, the L’Alsace daily reported.

The defendant posted on social networks a picture of himself posing with his son while making the quenelle in front of a commemorative plaque for Jewish victims of the Holocaust located at the entrance to the synagogue of Colmar.

The quenelle, folding one arm over one’s chest while pointing downward with the other arm, is identified with the comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, who has several convictions for inciting hatred against Jews.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls called the quenelle “an anti-Semitic gesture of hate” and Roger Cukierman, president of the CRIF umbrella group of Jewish communities, said it was an “inverted Nazi salute,” though he added it carried an anti-Semitic message only when performed in a Jewish context.

Dieudonné maintains the quenelle is a gesture of defiance against the system and does not signal anti-Semitism.

Separately, the deputy mayor of Drancy near Paris, Christophe Lagarde, filed a complaint with police against another man who posed with his family while performing the quenelle in front of the Parisian suburb’s Holocaust memorial site, according to a report by the BNVCA watchdog on anti-Semitism.

Several people have been convicted of inciting racial hatred for disseminating pictures of themselves making the quenelle.

1,200-Year-Old Jewish Prayerbook on Display in Jerusalem

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 17:27

A Jewish prayer book believed to be the world’s oldest will be exhibited in Jerusalem for one month.

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1,200-year-old Jewish prayer book on display in Jerusalem

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 14:16

A book believed to be the world’s oldest Jewish prayer book will be displayed for a month in Jerusalem. (Ardon Bar Hama, Osaf Green)

(JTA) — A Jewish prayer book believed to be the world’s oldest will be exhibited in Jerusalem for one month.

The 1,200-year-old siddur was unveiled Thursday at a ceremony at the Bible Lands Museum. In a news release, the museum described it as the oldest Jewish prayer book.

Steve Green, the museum’s chairman, purchased the book for his personal collection a year ago.

The prayer book will be displayed in the museum’s Book of Books exhibit, a collection of important biblical tests. On display are original fragments from the Septuagint, the earliest New Testament Scriptures, illuminated manuscripts, rare fragments from the Cairo Geniza and original pages from the Gutenberg Bible.

Written in Hebrew and still in its original binding, the book originates from the Middle East. It contains the morning service, liturgical poems and the Passover Haggadah.

10 Groups Mount Push To Block U.S. Funds From Campus Critics of Israel

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 07:47

Ten organizations have announced a coordinated effort to convince Congress to reform the Higher Education Act to prevent federal funding of anti-American and anti-Israel activity.

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Los Angeles Orthodox Synagogue Plans To Hire Woman as Maharat

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 07:35

Congregation B’nai David-Judea, an Orthodox synagogue in Los Angeles, is planning to hire its first female clergy member by September, 2015.

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Groups working to prevent federal funding of anti-Israel activity on campus

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 06:32

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Ten organizations have announced a coordinated effort to convince Congress to reform the Higher Education Act to prevent federal funding of anti-American and anti-Israel activity.

Congress currently is considering the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, or HEA, which includes the allocation of federal funds to 129 international studies and foreign language centers at universities nationwide.

Most of the ten organizations working on the reform effort are Jewish.

Organizations involved in education, the Jewish community and civil rights are working together to ensure there is oversight of universities. The goal is to require recipients of federal funding to implement grievance procedures and for the Department of Education to include a complaint resolution process.

Rabbi Meyer May, executive director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, called upon Congress to press the Department of Education to demand that those who receive HEA funding “guarantee that the funds will not be used to stifle the free speech of Israel advocates or to foment anti-Semitism on campus.”

The organizations involved include Accuracy in Academia, AMCHA Initiative, American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, Endowment for Middle East Truth, The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, Middle East Forum, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, and Zionist Organization of America.

Meanwhile, the Anti-Defamation League is calling on university administrators to look out for the safety and well-being of Jewish students on campus due to a possible increase in anti-Israel activity around the High Holidays.

American Muslims for Palestine set Sept. 23, a day before the start of Rosh Hashanah, as International Day of Action on College Campuses. That group has called for the elimination of study abroad programs in Israel, a ban on university administrators traveling to Israel and an academic boycott of Israeli institutions.

“Such tactics disrupt campus life and stifle the ideals of inquiry, free expression and the civil exchange of ideas – precisely the foundation on which university communities are built,” said Abraham Foxman, ADL national director.

Orthodox synagogue ready to hire first female clergy member

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 06:27

(JTA) — Congregation B’nai David-Judea, an Orthodox synagogue in Los Angeles, is planning to hire its first female clergy member by September, 2015.

Such a hire would be a first among Orthodox synagogues in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Jewish Journal reported.

The congregation recently retained Alissa Newborn, 25, a student at the New York-based seminary Yeshivat Maharat, for a one-year “kehilla intern” position. The position involves addressing the full congregation on  Shabbat, and teaching at various events with different groups from within the congregation. In addition, Newborn will shadow B’nai David’s Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky in life-cycle events, according to  the Jewish Journal.

Newborn will complete her studies while interning in Los Angeles; upon graduation she will earn the title of “maharat”— an acronym  meaning female leader of Jewish law, spirit and Torah.

If the congregation benefits from the presence of a female religious leader, the synagogue’s board will put together a list of candidates for a permanent female clergy member position, Kanefsky told the Jewish Journal.

Kanefsky also said that the move could be controversial, and emphasized that the female clergy member will not be called by the title “rabbi.” He said he hopes that using an alternative title will ease concerns from Orthodox congregation members who would otherwise be resistant to introducing female clergy.

“The best way to derail a good idea is by moving too far, too fast,” Kanefsky told the  Jewish Journal. “If we want to continue advancing women’s participation in communal leadership, we have to have common communal sense.”

Orthodox groups have condemned ordaining female clergy members in the past. In 2010, the Rabbinical Council of America said in a statement that it “cannot accept either the ordination of women or the recognition of women as members of the Orthodox rabbinate, regardless of their title.”

Nonetheless, Yeshivat Maharat—the only Orthodox institution in the world with a female ordination program—has placed five of its graduates and eight of its current students, including Newborn, in jobs and internships at eight Orthodox synagogues in the United States and one in Montreal.