Ultra-Orthodox Jewish View of Elena Kagan

An interesting article caught the eye of RS member Matt Olesh.  A recent CNSNews.com piece, “Jewish Clergy Group: Elena Kagan Isn’t ‘Kosher’ to Serve on Supreme Court” reports on the views of the Rabbinical Alliance of America.  Although the title refers to “Jewish Clergy Group,” it’s important to understand that...

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Liberal Zionism in the Wake of the Flotilla

by Rabbi Jill Maderer In his recent New York Review of Books essay, “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment,” Peter Beinart, professor of journalism and political science at CUNY, captures his understanding of the status of American Zionism with these provocative words: “For several decades, the Jewish establishment has...

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Is the Torah true?

One of the most common questions I am asked: Is the Torah true?  Did it happen?  Our liberal Jewish community is compelled to seek meaning in the Torah and understand it as sacred text.  Yet, we don’t want to check our brains at the door or ignore biblical scholarship.  One...

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Open Tent Initiative

The “Open Tent Initiative” is a wonderful way to build a strong sense of community. Congregation Rodeph Shalom (RS) recently won an award given by the Union for Reform Judaism (the umbrella organization for all of the Reform Jewish congregations in North America) for our “Open Tent Initiative.” This initiative...

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(Another Reason) Why I love what I do.

Boy is it cold out there.  For me, a Miami boy, this is skin-peeling cold.  I know because I just walked four blocks up Broad Street in this wind.  I was walking to visit my friend Josh at the Red Shield Shelter.  Josh is the Business Manager at the shelter,...

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Welcoming You to the High Holy Days

Rabbi Jill L. Maderer At last night’s “Taste of the New Year,” Philadelphia’s wine-tasting and synagogue-matching program for young adults, I met many people who are seeking a congregation.  If you are a young adult (22-40), missed the event but would like an invitation to High Holy Day services (“High...

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Fasting for Darfur

On my door I have a "Stop the Genocide" sticker. It's been there for over three years now, and the war in Darfur drags on. So why am I fasting on what seems like a random day in August 2009 for this cause? Why not let it simmer on the...

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Torah Scroll-Writing Meets Technology…and Meets Women

By Rabbi Jill Maderer For generations and generations, Jewish communities have engaged a sofer (scribe) to pen a Torah scroll.  Each scribe follows extremely specific regulations in order to make the scroll, kosher, or fit.  Although nothing has changed about these regulations, a new initiative is underway, to help make us...

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