Jewish religion – Jews For Morality http://www.jewsformorality.org/ Wed, 11 May 2022 21:57:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 http://www.jewsformorality.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/icon-2021-07-09T151402.937-150x150.png Jewish religion – Jews For Morality http://www.jewsformorality.org/ 32 32 Following Bat Sheva Marcus Allegations, Orthodox Feminist Group Will Face External Review http://www.jewsformorality.org/following-bat-sheva-marcus-allegations-orthodox-feminist-group-will-face-external-review/ Wed, 11 May 2022 21:57:12 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/following-bat-sheva-marcus-allegations-orthodox-feminist-group-will-face-external-review/ (JTA) – A struggling Orthodox feminist group has commissioned an external review of its “workplace and board culture,” weeks after several former employees have shared harassment allegations against a prominent sex therapist who was the former chairman of the group’s board of directors. The Orthodox Jewish Feminist Alliance said Wednesday it had hired an outside […]]]>

(JTA) – A struggling Orthodox feminist group has commissioned an external review of its “workplace and board culture,” weeks after several former employees have shared harassment allegations against a prominent sex therapist who was the former chairman of the group’s board of directors.

The Orthodox Jewish Feminist Alliance said Wednesday it had hired an outside firm to investigate its culture, as well as leadership responses to “concerns raised by former JOFA employees.” It will be the second independent investigation commissioned by the organization into allegations against Bat Sheva Marcus, following a previous one in 2018.

Two former executive directors had previously said they felt harassed by Marcus, the group’s co-founder and former board chairman who is also a well-known sex therapist with many Orthodox patients. They said JOFA’s practice of having former employees sign non-disclosure agreements hampered their ability to talk about their experiences sooner.

“Over the past few weeks, a number of individuals formerly affiliated with JOFA have raised concerns about sexual harassment, retaliation and our work environment, reads a joint statement signed by the Board Chair. administration of JOFA, Pam Scheininger, new president Mindy Feldman Hecht and executive director Daphne Lazar. Price. “These discussions sparked renewed introspection for all of us at JOFA.”

The heads of the organization did not name Marcus directly, but noted that there had been “very real criticism of the actions taken by our former chairman of the board and the way in which we, as as an organization, have reacted to these actions”.

Marcus has not been associated with JOFA since 2018, when she was asked to leave following the first independent investigation into her behavior; both investigations stemmed at least in part from complaints by the same former employee.

The new review will be conducted by Cozen O’Connor’s Institutional Response Group, which specializes in investigating allegations of institutional sex and gender-based discrimination. Make sure Independence, JOFA chose a subcommittee of three board members who were not implicated in any of the allegations to “facilitate” Cozen O’Connor’s work.

The latest assessment of the group was motivated by an essay that Marcus wrote in Tablet detailing the charges against her. Almost immediately, JOFA has released all former employees from their nondisclosure agreements. Mark too resigned from the board of a liberal Orthodox seminary in New York due to pressure from his former students. And a handful of people affiliated with JOFA have said they will withdraw from their involvement with the group.

Meanwhile, Elana Sztokman, one of the group’s former executive directors who made allegations against Marcus, is preparing to publish a new book, “When Rabbis Abuse: Power, Gender, and Status in the Dynamics of Sexuality.” . Abuse in Jewish culture.

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Jewish golfer Max Homa, former California player, enters the top 30 after his victory in the tournament – ​​J. http://www.jewsformorality.org/jewish-golfer-max-homa-former-california-player-enters-the-top-30-after-his-victory-in-the-tournament-j/ Mon, 09 May 2022 22:42:30 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/jewish-golfer-max-homa-former-california-player-enters-the-top-30-after-his-victory-in-the-tournament-j/ Jewish golfer and UC Berkeley graduate Max Homa won his fourth PGA Tour event on Sunday, which lifted him to No. 29 in the world — his first time in the top 30 in his nine-year professional career. The 31-year-old Burbank native won $1.62 million shooting at 8 under par, putting him two strokes ahead […]]]>

Jewish golfer and UC Berkeley graduate Max Homa won his fourth PGA Tour event on Sunday, which lifted him to No. 29 in the world — his first time in the top 30 in his nine-year professional career.

The 31-year-old Burbank native won $1.62 million shooting at 8 under par, putting him two strokes ahead of a trio of golfers at 6 under and four strokes ahead of four-time major champion Rory McIlroy , the seventh ranked player. in the world. Homa has now won two of the last three Wells Fargo Championships, which were contested for the first time on a course outside of Washington, DC.

Although Homa attended six years of Hebrew school and had a bar mitzvah, he maintains that he is not religious. One of his tweet from 2018 read in part: “The most Jewish I’ve ever felt came after looking at a house with extravagant Christmas lights and immediately thinking ‘this electric bill must be brutal’.”

At Cal, where he earned a degree in interdisciplinary studies, Homa became the only Golden Bear in history to place in the top 10 at both an NCAA Championship and an NCAA Regional in a single season. The highlight of his college career was winning the individual title at the 2013 NCAA Championship, shooting 9 under on a course in Atlanta.

Homa is among the top Jewish golfers in the world, alongside 29-year-old Daniel Berger, currently ranked 23rd in the world and also a four-time PGA Tour winner (including the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2021).

Homa, who attended Valencia High School north of Los Angeles, also had two wins on the PGA Tour development tour; his best finish in a major was in 2021, when he finished tied for 40th at the Open Championship (not to be confused with the US Open, for which he failed to make the cut in half tests).

Serious golf fans know Homa primarily for his goofy tweets and funny, humble, self-deprecating personality; for a while he co-hosted a podcast called “Get a Grip”. These days, fans are probably more likely to see him as someone who can compete in the biggest tournaments in the world.

About the upcoming PGA Championship in Tulsa, Oklahoma, starting May 19, Homa said during his victory press conference that he thought he had “a good chance of winning if I keep playing like this.”

Homa’s journey to the brink of stardom hasn’t been easy. It took him six years to win his first PGA Tour event, and he twice lost his PGA Tour card, which gives him automatic access to PGA Tour events.

“I saw $18,000 in a year here, he said at the press conference. “I saw myself feeling very, very small, literally having no hope.”

Homa’s victory on Mother’s Day was very special because his wife, Lacey Croom, is pregnant with the couple’s first child, a baby boy. That, along with pocketing a check for $1.62 million for the win, made Homa graciously reflect on his current situation.

“Sometimes my life is too good to be true,” he said.

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Is religion an exclusive club? http://www.jewsformorality.org/is-religion-an-exclusive-club/ Sat, 07 May 2022 18:00:00 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/is-religion-an-exclusive-club/ Do you like cookies? I love a nice soft cookie filled with nuts and chocolate. Oh, and it has to be gluten-free. My husband prefers shortbread, crispy and buttered and filled with gluten. Our girls have their own preferences. I remember when my eldest was about five years old, she went through a phase of […]]]>

Do you like cookies? I love a nice soft cookie filled with nuts and chocolate. Oh, and it has to be gluten-free. My husband prefers shortbread, crispy and buttered and filled with gluten. Our girls have their own preferences. I remember when my eldest was about five years old, she went through a phase of only one type of cookie and nothing else could satisfy her.

I’m sure if we were to do a survey in my local church to find the best cookie, I would get a wide range of responses. Now imagine if I suggested that this poll would be used to identify a winning cookie. This star of a sweet treat would be separated from the competition and elevated above all other cookies. “One cookie to rule them all.” We would make this winner the only cookie allowed to be brought to church luncheons and gatherings.

There would be outrage. How dare we make this cookie an exclusive sweet treat? What about all the other bits of delight? Is there no place for them on the church lunch table? Don’t they belong anymore?

Let’s face it, I’m a bit dumb, but I wanted to talk about belonging and one of the by-products that sometimes attaches to belonging: exclusivity.

Have you ever thought that in our desire to belong, to be accepted, we can put up some rather exclusive barriers? The more criteria that cement our place and our identity in this group, the higher the walls of exclusivity can rise. Consider for a moment membership in any club. There is usually a set of terms that you need to agree on before signing up. It can create a strong sense of belonging, camaraderie. However, if you deviate from these conditions, you will most likely be expelled. This is what can make clubs exclusive.

The Religion Club

Religion has been called an exclusive club. Considering the people you gather each Sabbath, do you agree that your place of worship (your religion) is exclusive?

Go further. Do you believe that God is exclusive?

How you answer this question will define not only your view of God, but more importantly how you treat those who are not quite like you.

Let’s take a brief look at someone who could not belong to God’s people, someone who had experienced religious exclusion under a law found in Deuteronomy 23:1. The NIV states, “No one who has been emasculated by crushing or cutting can enter into the assembly of the Lord. The CEV says it even more clearly: “If a man’s private parts have been crushed or cut off, he cannot fully belong to the people of the Eternal.

Let’s identify the type of excluded person in Deuteronomy 23:1. It refers to a eunuch, right? So, according to the scriptures, a eunuch cannot fully belong. He is excluded from the people of God. However, in Acts 8:26-40 we find a rather interesting story about a eunuch who visited Jerusalem.

In his home country, this eunuch is a legal officer in charge of all of Queen Candace’s treasury. The eunuch is a “someone” in his country. One thing we cannot escape in this passage is that he is a eunuch, although his name is never revealed. Instead, he is simply called the eunuch five times. Now, in case I was not clear enough, this eunuch who has no name, who cannot belong to the people of God according to Deuteronomy 23:1, came to Jerusalem to worship (Acts 8:27 ).

Do you see the tension in this story? The original listeners would have felt it. What is he (the eunuch) doing there? He’s not one of us; he is different. His customs, culture, dress, masculinity are all different, and “our law” states that he (as a eunuch) is not welcome among our people.

But what about God? We must ask ourselves the question: does God exclude the eunuch? Does he feel the same about who can and cannot belong?

We have often seen the story of the Ethiopian eunuch as a beautiful account of conversion and baptism. I invite you today to see this story from a different angle. Look and you will see an image of God. His love is on display as he pursues this eunuch and welcomes him into his family, giving him a place to belong.

Do you see how God sends Philip to the place where he can cross paths with the eunuch (Acts 8:26)? Then watch carefully as God commands Philip to join the chariot. He starts running. I don’t know how fast he can go, but he chases the chariot and overtakes it (Acts 8:29).

This eunuch is reading the scroll of Isaiah. Perhaps he seeks to understand and discover, Who is God? We do not know what questions went through the eunuch’s heart, only that he sought to understand the scriptures. God’s answer is to send Philip. As Philip shares the good news of Jesus (Acts 8:35), the eunuch asks an important question about membership in God’s family, a place of belonging.

“What prevents me from being baptized? ” He asked. Pause here and consider: Do you see an obstacle that prevents baptism? Does God? Acts 8:35 gives us an answer. The chariot is stopped and the eunuch is adopted into the family of God.

This beautiful passage is more than a beautiful story of baptism. It is a picture of God’s heart of love for every person. No matter who they are, He pursues and invites even those who may, at first glance, seem too different to really belong.

God invites everyone to come. He loves everyone, the whole world, says John 3:16, and Jesus chose to die for every person, yes, even those who are not like me.

The eunuch was not accepted by the Jewish religious system. But he came looking for it anyway.

And that concerns me today. If someone else entered where my local church meets weekly, what would they find? Would they find a group of people saying, “Are you looking for Jesus?” Come sit down, you’ve come to the right place. Tell me your story.

Recently I read this quote from Bob Goff: “We shouldn’t say everyone is invited if we’re going to act like they’re not welcome when they come.”

This is a wake up call statement. Have you felt its impact? We encourage people to invite their friends over on Saturday (Sabbath), but if when they arrive we ignore them and exclude them because we have nothing in common or they are just too different, that’s a problem. The truth is, interacting with new people can be difficult. We have to work harder and our comfort zone is just out of reach. It’s so much easier to talk and interact with people I know who are like me. But is this what we are called to?

We must honestly ask ourselves for whom we could exclude the death of Jesus. Moreover, we should ask ourselves if we have the right to do so.

In Matthew 7:7, 8 we read how those who ask, seek, and knock will receive, find, and the door will be opened. Serious seekers will not be rejected by God, because that is what God is. He is a God of love, who pursues all men. He has launched an invitation to all and awaits our response.

Our God is not exclusive. It breaks down barriers and gives us a family, a place to belong.

Maybe we need to see that God’s family was never meant to be just shortbread cookies. It includes chocolate chip, double fudge, macadamia, gluten-free, vegan, and dotted (that’s one thing). Perhaps, rather than building barriers that exclude dissent, we need to set bigger tables for all those cookies to create a wonderful platter of deliciousness.

the original version of this comment was posted by Adventist Registry. Sylvia Mendez is Director of Women’s and Family Ministries at the Australian Union Conference and pastor of Bayles and Berwick Adventist Churches in Victoria.

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The inevitable tragic outcome of the problem of Jerusalem’s sacred space? http://www.jewsformorality.org/the-inevitable-tragic-outcome-of-the-problem-of-jerusalems-sacred-space/ Thu, 05 May 2022 19:02:00 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/the-inevitable-tragic-outcome-of-the-problem-of-jerusalems-sacred-space/ There are humans who claim that certain real estate parcels are special. They call them “Blessed” in English, “Qadosh” in Hebrew or “Muqadas” in Arabic; they all mean meaning sacred, holy, spiritual, inviolable. The sanctity of the designated space sets it apart from nearby secular surroundings. Often in our human societies, groups of like-minded people, […]]]>

There are humans who claim that certain real estate parcels are special. They call them “Blessed” in English, “Qadosh” in Hebrew or “Muqadas” in Arabic; they all mean meaning sacred, holy, spiritual, inviolable. The sanctity of the designated space sets it apart from nearby secular surroundings.

Often in our human societies, groups of like-minded people, tribes of believers, gather at the sites to perform rituals, animal or grain sacrifices, inspiring chanting of psalms, bows and prayers. prostrations, and to hear the prayers of the ancient sages.

The faithful declare that the soils, stones and structures of these places are holy to them and that all who believe like them can come and perform the sacred acts with them. Those who don’t believe in the inherent uniqueness of the space are usually not invited and sometimes they are barred from entering.

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These “sacred spaces” are then exclusive club houses reserved for members. In our American South, it may be buildings called Protestant churches. In the northeast, they may be called Catholic cathedrals. In some parts of the country they may be called country clubs, maintaining exclusivity of membership without the superimposition of claims of (too) sanctity.

Generally, this idea that an address is sacred and reserved for members, while others are profane and open to the public, is not a dangerous or harmful notion. In fact, the idea of ​​separating amusement parks and calling them “magical kingdoms” or inviting people to join in and have fun – so come” is an enterprising American twist on the notion. special spaces.

One would think that the world is a place large enough to accommodate many distinct designated places of numinous holiness for those who want to set them up, fence them off and gather in place around sacred grounds, stones, trees, walls and altars. , and to bow and sing and sway and sing constantly or daily or seasonally, in peace and harmony with their neighbours.

We Americans are heirs to the idea of ​​the great frontier – the notion that there is space out there for anyone who wants it. “Space – the final frontier” was the tagline for Star Trek, our greatest science fiction television series.

So, we Yankees are thinking, what problem can there be in space?

The tragic fact is that in many places in our wide world people have decided that this is not a big enough place to worship side by side in peace. Their claims for the same space clash. Tragically, this plays out in two bad scenarios. First, when each of two or more stubborn tribes decides that a place belongs to them – and exclusively to them. Second, and more dangerous, when angry warriors take control of the tribe and decide to use the sacred space as a battleground, a launching pad for conflict instead of a sanctuary of sanctuary.

Then, as they say in this totally different space program, “Houston, we have a problem.”

We have such a problem now at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem Israel.

This is not a new problem. Two thousand years ago, competing Jewish religious tribes with conflicting claims over who controls its sanctity fought at this holy site.

Let us return briefly to the history of the conflict. It didn’t end well. To quell the unrest, the Roman government made numerous arrests and inflicted vicious punishments – first by the crucifixion of some loud (and famous) rulers. Later, when years and decades of struggle did not end, they continued the reprisals by expelling the entire population of the “sacred” city. Jerusalem – a city which linguistically means “legacy of peace” – has been emptied of its exiled population. The temple and the city were destroyed and the area plowed up.

After more than 100 years of conflict, rebellion and insurrection, Roman Emperor Hadrian (d. 138 CE) razed the ruins of Jerusalem and sowed the land with salt. He maintained the sanctity of the city with the ultimate irony. He built on the site a Roman city called “Aelia Capitolina” in honor of the imperial family and the Roman god Jupiter Capitolina.

My friends, it seems so hollow and trivial to say that we must learn from history so as not to repeat its tragedies. Civilization has progressed over the past two millennia and we have learned many positive lessons. To the right?

We should have learned that storing stones and arguing over a small plot of land is not a productive path. We should have concluded that tear gas and rubber bullets are not helpful answers.

Our lessons in history and our inherent sanity must have taught us not to rush sadly towards the closure of all – Jews, Christians, Muslims and others – of Jerusalem’s “sacred spaces” by secular authorities.

But it seems to me that we have not learned — that they too will have to close everything and sow the ground with salt. Because we still haven’t learned that what is sacred and special to humanity is not such and such a rock or wall or clod.

It is stability and peace.

Tzvee Zahavy de Teaneck was professor of Near Eastern studies at the University of Minnesota, where he won the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1985. He is the author of more than a dozen books on history and the sacred texts of Judaism.

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New book stops ‘exit by exit’ along I-5 to chronicle Jewish experience in San Diego http://www.jewsformorality.org/new-book-stops-exit-by-exit-along-i-5-to-chronicle-jewish-experience-in-san-diego/ Wed, 04 May 2022 00:56:52 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/new-book-stops-exit-by-exit-along-i-5-to-chronicle-jewish-experience-in-san-diego/ AuthorDonald Harrison. Photo by Sandi Masori Finding at least one Jewish story every time you exit the Mexican border into Old Town San Diego, veteran journalist Donald H. Harrison’s book Schlepping and Schmoozing along Interstate 5 transforms the main north-south West Coast highway into a treasure trove of Jewish experience. The recently released first volume […]]]>
Don Harrison
AuthorDonald Harrison. Photo by Sandi Masori

Finding at least one Jewish story every time you exit the Mexican border into Old Town San Diego, veteran journalist Donald H. Harrison’s book Schlepping and Schmoozing along Interstate 5 transforms the main north-south West Coast highway into a treasure trove of Jewish experience.

The recently released first volume in Harrison’s three-volume series tells 30 stories from approximately 20 miles of Interstate 5 exits from the US-Mexico border to the Old Town neighborhood of San Diego. The three-volume set will eventually cover a total of 72 miles, reaching the Orange County line.

But in Harrison’s estimation, the book provides an important message for Jewish readers far beyond that geographic area as well as a blueprint for profiling Jewish communities nationally.

“Readers can learn that the mosaic of the Jewish experience can be represented exit by exit along a major highway, whether here or in their own cities,” Harrison said. San Diego weather. “This type of reporting can also be used to tell the stories of other ethnic and religious communities in the United States. As someone who is fascinated by the stories of others, I hope that one day I will see similar efforts from representatives of other groups.

Harrison’s fascination is also evident through her previous series of books, Schlepping and Schmoozing through San Diego County, a similar compilation of Jewish-themed news stories. He spent the first phase of his journalistic career in mainstream media (including The Associated Press), then worked in public relations before returning to journalism running several Jewish publications in San Diego, most recently the San Diego Jewish World website. (Full disclosure: I acquired the San Diego Jewish World of Harrison.) Harrison’s journey has been continuously shaped by his belief that “there is Jewish history everywhere”, a philosophy that once again shines in Schlepping and Schmoozing along Interstate 5.

What follows is the rest of the Times of San Diego interview with Harrison.

Q: After posting Schlepping and Schmoozing through San Diego Countywhat specifically inspired you to make Interstate 5 the coverage area of ​​this book?

A: This Interstate 5 book, with new stories, is based on a lesson I learned in 1989 when I helped found Old Town Trolley Tours of San Diego. People tend to remember stories related to physical places. Interstate 5 is the backbone of California, with most of our state’s population living or working within 10 miles of this highway, so it’s a route to an incredible variety of stories.

Q: Why should readers outside of Southern California care about these Jewish stories along Interstate 5?

A: Some of the stories in this book are strictly local, while others are national or even international in scope. Here are just three examples of national stories: the brothers who founded the Simon Property Group, which owns hundreds of malls across the United States; the Tisch family, which has sports, philanthropic and real estate interests throughout the United States; and the creation of sesame street television show, which in turn led to the development of the new Sesame Place San Diego amusement park.

In addition to learning about businesses and programs that may be represented in their own cities, outside readers can also gain insight into some local Jewish aspects of San Diego, which is one of the most popular vacation spots. popular in the country. Wherever I travel, I like to find Jewish connections, and I think visitors to San Diego will too. One chapter offers a Jewish tour of Balboa Park. Another talks about Jews who played for the San Diego Padres.

Q: What story or two do you find unique in this book?

A: From a personal perspective, I enjoyed telling the stories of personal friends such as symphonic musician Eileen Wingard and the late San Diego County Sheriff Bill Kolender. One of the funniest stories to write is about the mishaps that attended the City of San Diego reception for Queen Elizabeth II in 1983, which I had the opportunity to observe up close.

Q: What is unique about the Jewish history of San Diego and Southern California compared to other parts of the country?

A: Each region of the country is influenced by its geography. San Diego County occupies the southwest corner of the continental United States. It is bounded to the south by Mexico and to the west by the Pacific Ocean. Some of the stories, charged with the Jewish experience, reflect this particular heritage. This book examines Jewish life across the border in Tijuana and chronicles the murals in Chicano Park. It also tells Jewish stories about the US Navy and the Port of San Diego.

Q: Why do you think it is important to find Jewish history everywhere?

A: There are two different audiences for this type of book: Jews and non-Jews. For my fellow Jews, the book is a reminder of the many things we have contributed to the tapestry of American life. It also recounts some of the biases and prejudices that we had to overcome. For non-Jews, it is an introduction to Jews in various activities: as businessmen, farmers, environmentalists, artists, historians, philosophers, teachers, journalists, politicians, civil rights leaders, spiritual leaders and law enforcement officials. In other words, the book offers them the opportunity to meet Jews in areas of common interest.

Jacob Kamaras is editor and publisher of the San Diego Jewish World, which was founded by Donald Harrison.

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Protecting Orthodox Jewish Schools | Rabbi Moshe Hauer and Michael A. Helfand http://www.jewsformorality.org/protecting-orthodox-jewish-schools-rabbi-moshe-hauer-and-michael-a-helfand/ Mon, 02 May 2022 10:00:00 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/protecting-orthodox-jewish-schools-rabbi-moshe-hauer-and-michael-a-helfand/ In the 1972 Supreme Court case Wisconsin v. Yoder, Amish Americans challenged Wisconsin’s Compulsory Education Law, which required children to attend public or private school until age sixteen. They argued the law threatened their religious way of life because traditional Amish families typically pull children out of school after eighth grade. In their view, home-based […]]]>

In the 1972 Supreme Court case Wisconsin v. Yoder, Amish Americans challenged Wisconsin’s Compulsory Education Law, which required children to attend public or private school until age sixteen. They argued the law threatened their religious way of life because traditional Amish families typically pull children out of school after eighth grade. In their view, home-based Amish vocational education could prepare minors for full and productive lives as democratic citizens while upholding Amish religious principles. At the time, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America—along with a wide range of other Jewish organizations from across the denominational spectrum—joined a brief in favor of the Amish that echoed those two core tenets. “The American Jewish community,” the memoir explains, “has a strong interest in universal secular education for children,” but also a “strong interest in religious freedom and in a religiously and culturally pluralistic America.” To balance the two, it would be necessary to “resolve[ing] a conflict of competing interests, all occupying high places in our democratic scales of justice.

This shock remains as important today as it was fifty years ago. For the third time in five years, the New York State Department of Education (NYSED) is proposing new rules for evaluating nonpublic schools. The state alleges that a small cluster of Orthodox Jewish schools provide substandard education in basic general education classes. For more than a century, New York law has required that students in nonpublic schools receive an education “substantially equivalent” to that of a public school. Orthodox Jewish schools, or yeshivas, overwhelmingly meet this standard through a dual curriculum, including both Jewish studies and general studies. Overall, these schools have an excellent history of raising their students to become responsible and productive citizens dedicated to family and community.

The government, of course, has a responsibility to ensure that all minors receive an adequate education so that they can be full and productive members of democratic society. But in discharging this responsibility, the state must ensure that its rules do not go too far. It must take due account of the dual curriculum model specific to Orthodox Jewish schools and respect the religious way of life that these schools perpetuate. New York’s proposed new rules fail in this regard and would compromise the ability of some Orthodox Jewish communities to pass on their faith to the next generation.

In 2019, the NYSED proposed sweeping regulations that imposed a host of requirements on non-public schools, threatening schools with closure if they failed to meet rules that went beyond reasonable substantial equivalency requirements. The proposed new regulations are a step forward as they mostly avoid bureaucratic excesses, emphasizing core subjects such as science, math, social studies and language arts. They also create several “pathways” for schools to demonstrate that their education is, in fact, substantially equivalent, including registration with the New York Board of Regents, accreditation by a licensed accreditor, or use of NYSED-approved ratings.

That being said, the proposed regulations require significant work if they are to properly balance the values ​​at the heart of religious education. First, they still go too far in terms of requirements. The proposed list of required fields of study goes beyond general subjects to include courses in physical education and “related subjects”, patriotism and citizenship, road safety and traffic regulations, and prevention fires and arson. While these are all valuable topics, this list strays from the basic requirements that should be legally necessary for a school to keep its doors open. And it sets a dangerous precedent: if Jewish schools are to embrace government oversight to ensure substantial equivalence, they need safeguards, built into the regulations themselves, that future bureaucrats won’t just keep adding to that list, using this proposed framework to incorporate even more peripheral educational requirements into the investigation of substantial equivalence.

Second, the proposed rules must not open the floodgates to litigation against non-public schools. It is one thing to allow the NYSED and local school authorities to assess the substantial equivalence of non-public schools. It is quite another, as the proposed rules currently do, to allow the broad class of “grieves” to appeal to the commissioner. Such authority to file a grievance could, if not further restrict, put non-public schools in the position of repeatedly defending the quality of their education even after the government has approved it. The costs for Jewish schools could be significant and the uncertainty could leave schools in an untenable state of bureaucratic purgatory, diverting energy and resources from the core educational mission.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, NYSED must, in conjunction with Jewish schools and other Jewish institutions, ensure that there are accreditors and assessors sufficiently familiar with the distinctive qualities of Jewish education. to properly assess Jewish schools for substantial equivalence. The importance of culturally sensitive assessments stems directly from the central feature of Jewish day schools – their dual curriculum – which includes both Jewish studies (such as the Bible and Talmud) and general studies (such as math, science and English). For many Jewish educational institutions, these two fields of study are not meant to be isolated from each other, but integrated. As a result, learning goals typically associated with general studies – such as language arts or social studies – are often pursued under the umbrella of Jewish studies. To propose assessment rules without a culturally sensitive assessment infrastructure is to doom the process from the start.

Some Jewish schools, and the people who teach and learn there, do not match the images of education in the minds of most 21st-century Americans. But our society should support these minority communities in pursuing their way of life. Majority notions can too easily, without proper verification, produce evaluations that fail to recognize the benefits of an integrated educational program. In 1972, navigating very similar concerns in Wisconsin v. Yoderthe Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Amish, noting “[t]States have long enjoyed a friendly and effective relationship with Church-sponsored schools, and there is no reason to assume that in this related context reasonable standards cannot be established. What was true then remains true now. The proposed regulations have a long way to go to best protect the religious commitments at the heart of the Orthodox Jewish community.

Rabbi Moshe Hauer is the executive vice president of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America.

Michael A. Helfand is the Brenden Mann Foundation Chair in Law and Religion at the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law and Visiting Professor at Yale Law School.

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Faith Matters: Two Religious Perspectives on the State of Israel http://www.jewsformorality.org/faith-matters-two-religious-perspectives-on-the-state-of-israel/ Sat, 30 Apr 2022 16:16:00 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/faith-matters-two-religious-perspectives-on-the-state-of-israel/ On May 5, 2022, the modern Jewish state of Israel will celebrate its 74th anniversary. From this momentous historical event, at least two religious ideologies emerge reflecting the notion of ‘Geulah-Redemption.’ This theological concept is grounded in 1) the opening words of the Decalogue in Exodus 20: “I am the Lord your God” and 2) […]]]>

On May 5, 2022, the modern Jewish state of Israel will celebrate its 74th anniversary.

From this momentous historical event, at least two religious ideologies emerge reflecting the notion of ‘Geulah-Redemption.’ This theological concept is grounded in 1) the opening words of the Decalogue in Exodus 20: “I am the Lord your God” and 2) the phrase “the beginning of the dawn of our redemption” rooted in the official prayer for Peace Composed by Israel’s Chief Rabbinate.

These two sentiments can serve as markers related not only to the creation of the state in 1948, but also to the Six Day War in June 1967 and its aftermath.

Both perspectives challenge us to assess a deeper appreciation and understanding of ‘Guulah-Redemption.’

Emerging from the euphoric atmosphere that followed Israel’s astonishing victory in 1967 after surviving the onslaught of the United Arab Republic seeking the destruction of the Jewish state, many religious Zionists perceived the victory as pyrrhic of Israel as nothing less than “the birth pangs of the Messianic age”. Yet with the surprise attack of the Yom Kippur War just six years later, the balloon that held this messianic dream for so many was burst, leading to a new national self-assessment.

To this end, Rabbi David Hartman (1931-2013) articulated two historical and religious paradigms that could potentially offer spiritual insight into how Israelis and Diaspora Jewry might view the contemporary state of Israeli affairs.

The first ideology emerges from the writings of 11th century Jewish philosopher Yehuda Halevi who formulated a messianic belief that the God of history who freed the Israelites from slavery is the same god who will ultimately establish messianic redemption for all. ‘humanity. We can label this as the ‘Exodus‘ model.

It is this powerful religious perspective that became the cornerstone of messianism for so many religious Zionists, especially after the Six Day War. As Hartman confirms: “In Israel today…religious nationalists regard Halevi…as the spiritual forerunner of religious Zionism”.

A second ideology focuses on the writings of Maimonides, (1138-1204) rabbinical scholar and physician to Saladin, who taught that from the creation story we learned that mankind was given the gift of intellect, c ie the ability to reason. It is this unique quality of reason that can truly explain Jewish survival.

How? Because Maimonides pointed out that to truly understand the biblical record, we needed to shift the focus from an event-based theology to a text-centered paradigm where we see the gradual implementation of a new doctrine of salvation: “Human initiative! We can call this the “Sinai model”.

Thus, Maimonides quotes the first words of the Decalogue (Exodus 20): “I am the Lord your God”. Period! Here, God is portrayed in dialogue with his chosen nation, a people who can help shape their own destiny.

Simply put: the “Exodus” model relies on God to actively intervene in the course of human affairs; the ‘Sinai’ model highlights the Jewish people taking the ‘bull by the horns’, using the human intellect to take their destiny into their own hands.

Yet most poignantly, in the final analysis, Rabbi Hartman makes a bold and unifying statement: “Tradition was wise in encouraging many different voices to speak within it…and any attempt by scholars to decide whether Halevi or Maimonides truly reflect Jewish tradition becomes incongruous. the end a confused and misguided enterprise.

So, reflecting on Hartman’s compelling analysis and using both the “Exodus” and “Sinai” models, I conclude with a story that emerged from those euphoric days of the Six Day War.

“It was a year later, in the summer of 1968, that I served as a counselor at Camp Ramah in California. As was the custom, all Ramah camps invited Israelis to serve in a variety of roles That summer, a young Israeli Defense (IDF) soldier named David, who had fought in the Six Day War, came to Ramah and served as a guard for the camp, and like so many others , we were eager to hear a first-hand account of his experiences the previous year in the Six Day War.

“He shared the following story stating from the start, a startling remark: ‘I’m not religious, I’m not religious! I was stationed in the Sinai desert and it was my squad’s responsibility to clear the abandoned Egyptian bunkers. As I approached a bunker I suddenly tripped and fell, and as soon as I stood up there was an Egyptian soldier in front of me with his gun pointed at me. I felt at that moment that my life was over and I heard the shot. The Egyptian soldier fell to the ground. My IDF comrade had killed the enemy soldier.

“’At that time we heard of the liberation of the Old City of Jerusalem and the capture of the Kotel, the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site. Everyone was eager to get there as soon as possible. David looked at me directly and said: I was standing in front of the Kotel in my military uniform with my Uzi over my shoulder and I felt the presence of God envelop me and I cried. I cried from the bottom of my soul because I had never felt this feeling in my life.

As I look back now and reflect on this pivotal spiritual moment in the life of this secular Israeli soldier, the two religious paradigms emerging from the writings of Yehuda Halevi and Maimonides resonate with greater clarity. Torn from the jaws of death, for this young, non-practising Israeli soldier, it was God’s intervention that touched his soul with the gift of life.

Halevi was right! There is truth in the “Exodus” model if we allow ourselves, as so many of our ancestors did, to see the hand of God in history.

Yet Maimonides is also right. To materialize the abstract, this soldier used his intellect and free will to turn to worship allowing himself for the very first time to engage in spiritual dialogue with the ineffable, to connect to this miraculous moment that changes life.

As it was for him, it is also for us. God is the God of history who is transcendent, distant and miraculous. God is also personal and immanent, a God with whom I can connect with my intellect, and yet feel the warmth and beauty of the presence of the Almighty.

As rabbinical tradition relates: “Both perspectives are the words of the living God!

Moshe Meirovich is Rabbi of Congregation B’nai Israel in St. Catharines

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Interfaith Trolley offers a tour of religion in America http://www.jewsformorality.org/interfaith-trolley-offers-a-tour-of-religion-in-america/ Thu, 28 Apr 2022 17:56:45 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/interfaith-trolley-offers-a-tour-of-religion-in-america/ CHICAGO (RNS) – In America’s third-largest city, it’s possible to take a crash course in world religions in just a few miles – from the majestic and ecumenical Christian Rockefeller Memorial Chapel at the University of Chicago on the Chicago’s south side at the humble Masjid Al-Taqwa, which meets in a converted stable, still under […]]]>

CHICAGO (RNS) – In America’s third-largest city, it’s possible to take a crash course in world religions in just a few miles – from the majestic and ecumenical Christian Rockefeller Memorial Chapel at the University of Chicago on the Chicago’s south side at the humble Masjid Al-Taqwa, which meets in a converted stable, still under renovation, a 15-minute ride south.

On Orthodox Christian Easter (April 24), about 70 passengers took this ride on the Interfaith Carriage, a tour of sacred spaces inspired by this month’s convergence of Ramadan, Passover, Easter, Vaisakhi (celebrated by the Sikhs), Ridvan (observed by Baha’ is) and Ram Navami (a Hindu festival).

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Perhaps more reminiscent of speed-dating than a class in comparative religion, the tour made brief stops at five religious sites in southeast Chicago, hearing from a range of religious leaders and lay people from different religious groups.

Sponsored by local faith-based institutions such as the American Islamic College, Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago Theological Seminary, Parliament of the World’s Religions, and Hyde Park & ​​Kenwood Interfaith Council, the cart was intended to promote understanding and interreligious cooperation.

“It was a beautiful event, much more beautiful than I expected, said Kim Schultz, creative initiatives coordinator at the InterReligious Institute, part of Chicago Theological Seminary. “The shared words and the shared community really hit my heart.”

“This is an incredible opportunity to come together to educate our communities and shape public discourse on what it means to live well together amid our diversity and our religious and cultural differences,” organizers said when announcing the event. the event.

At the Rockefeller Chapel, Mayher Kaur, the head of the Sikh Student Association gave an overview of Sikh practices and explained that Sikh gurus work to overcome the caste system in India. A Hindu student told attendees about Ram Navami, a Hindu festival that falls on April 10 and celebrates the birth of Lord Rama, whose story is told in the Ramayana. Shradha Jain, a Jain student, spoke about the beliefs of her faith and the April 14 festival of Mahavir Jayanti, marking the birth of the founder of Jainism.

At Ebenezer Baptist Church, Patricia Butts, the church clerk, told the musical history of the congregation – Thomas Dorsey, composer of “Take My Hand, Precious Lord”, founded a gospel choir there in the early 1930s before moving to Pilgrim Baptist Church, where the former bluesman served as musical director for half a century. Meeting in a former synagogue, Ebenezer remains known for its gospel music and annual performance of Handel’s “Messiah.”

Butts also spoke to visitors about the church’s Easter celebrations, including the Seven Last Words of Jesus, and its vibrant and dedicated congregation.

“Our senior deacon is 102 and still going strong,” she said.

At the Claret Center, which offers “resources for the human journey,” passengers learned about the center’s offerings in spiritual direction, meditation and acupuncture, then heard a brief meditation from Heiwa no Bushi, a Bodhi Christo teacher. of North Carolina, whose spiritual teaching merges Buddhism and Christianity. Bushi encouraged his listeners to “uselessly love” rather than fill their minds with worry.

“If you love unnecessarily, you live fully,” he said.

At KAM Isaiah Israel, a Reform Jewish congregation whose Hyde Park neighbors include President Barack Obama, Rabbi Frederick Reeves explained how the congregation formed over decades as several Jewish synagogues – one of them they the oldest in the state of Illinois – merged, gathering in their current 1920s building. He also spoke to visitors about the Jewish observance of Passover, noting that one of its key elements is that it is celebrated at home, which means that each family makes Passover its own.

“If you go to two Seders in two different houses, you will have two different experiences,” he said.

The tour ended at the Masjid Al-Taqwa, a predominantly black mosque whose members are renovating their own building after worshiping in rented space for years. Most of the renovation is done by members of the community.

“You have to dig deep. And then you have to roll up your sleeves,” Imam Tariq El-Amin told his guests.

On the way back to Chicago Theological Seminary for an interfaith iftar, Saba Ayman-Nolley, retired professor and president of the Hyde Park & ​​Kenwood Interfaith Council, gave an overview of the Baha’i celebration of Ridvan and activities charities of the interfaith council. work. This work includes food pantries, homelessness assistance and refugee resettlement.

In a lecture interrupted by a sidewalk hip-hop group who began chanting about ‘divine prophecy’ as the streetcar stopped at a red light, Ayman-Nolley said Ridvan was celebrating the ‘springtime awakening of humans’ , where people can lay down their arms and embrace a message of love and brotherhood.

Back at the seminar, Timothy Gianotti, president of the American Islamic College, gave a brief meditation on the meaning of Ramadan before an interfaith iftar dinner, where he and other Muslims broke their fast by gathering with those of other denominations.

Ramadan is a time of revelation and a time of disruption, he said, in which Muslims draw closer to God by breaking away from the distractions of the world.

“We fast from all the things that get in our way,” he said. “We fast from our own sense of self-centered centrality in the universe. We fast from habits of mind and habits of being that get in the way of us – or in the way of others – in terms of spiritual living.”

Among the passengers on the wagon were Emily Heitzmann, a Lutheran minister from the North Side of Chicago, and her mother, Barbara Heitzmann, who came from Dubuque, Iowa. Emily Heitzmann said the event was a reminder of our common humanity and that people of different faiths still have a lot in common. Her mother agreed.

“We all yearn for peace, centeredness and holiness,” said Barbara Heitzmann, who said she only wished each religious site visit was longer.

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A Jewish conception of conversion http://www.jewsformorality.org/a-jewish-conception-of-conversion/ Mon, 25 Apr 2022 07:22:22 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/a-jewish-conception-of-conversion/ (Photo: Getty/iStock) Hebrew scholar Irene Lancaster examines Jewish approaches to conversion and how new believers are welcomed into the fold. On the second day of Passover, we begin counting the Omer, which lasts 49 days until the next major biblical holiday of Shavuot (Pentacost). The Omer reminds us of steps or stages on the path […]]]>
(Photo: Getty/iStock)

Hebrew scholar Irene Lancaster examines Jewish approaches to conversion and how new believers are welcomed into the fold.

On the second day of Passover, we begin counting the Omer, which lasts 49 days until the next major biblical holiday of Shavuot (Pentacost).

The Omer reminds us of steps or stages on the path of Exodus out of Egypt and through the Sea of ​​Reeds, followed by the journey through the desert until the Torah is received at Sinai.

But given the miracle of the founding of the State of Israel, celebrated immediately in May 1948 by ultra-Orthodox rabbis of the Old City of Jerusalem (committed to the struggle for their own lives) in a religious service of resurrection and revival, similar in their In view of the recent Passover Exodus festival, this bold act, which takes place in an underground synagogue, sparked a number of other annual celebrations that are now celebrated every year for this period.

First, of course, we remember Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), which this year takes place on April 28. Much learning and study takes place before and on this date, in which we remember the extermination of two-thirds of the Jews of Europe.

Then, on May 4 and 5, the Day of Remembrance of Fallen Soldiers and Other Victims of Terrorism effortlessly turns into Israel’s Independence Day, to mark the date mentioned above when the first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, announced the establishment of the State of Israel, which despite all odds survived for 74 years.

But there is still nearly a month to go until the next big Shavuot holiday, when we not only celebrate the giving of the Torah on Sinai, but also the book of Ruth, which we are also beginning to study at this time.

More of that closer in time – and it’s worth noting in passing that this year’s peak Shavuot festival coincides with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. No doubt, also more of that in June.

It is strangely strange to count the Omer for 49 days while being aware that Europe is once again fighting against a war, while the glorious imperial music, written especially by British composers for the previous great royal and patriotic events, strikes waves.

Does Handel count as an English composer? I hope so. Living in this country, Handel wrote so many oratorios celebrating biblical stories, including those of King Solomon and Queen Esther, not to mention the arrival of the Queen of Sheba and Zadok the priest, both based on the biblical books of samuel and kings. But many other great English composers also write in this vein – in no particular order: Thomas Tallis, Henry Purcell, William Walton, Hubert Parry, Arthur Bliss, Malcolm Arnold, Eric Coates, Vaughn Williams and the great Edward Elgar, who is particularly beloved in Israel for his cello concerto played during the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967 during the Six Day War, by Jacqueline du Pré and her husband Daniel Barenboim.

This year, for the first time under Covid conditions, I went out for the Seder and was even asked to read a passage from the Passover Haggadah. The passage I was asked to read is from Genesis 15, and is known in English as the “covenant of coins” passage. It was the covenant made between Gd and Abraham, the father of the Jewish people, who was the first to recognize that there is only one Gd and that conversion is not about being coercive but to influence our neighbors by personal example.

Recently, after listening to and reading the headlines doing the rounds in the media, I couldn’t help but compare the Jewish attitude towards conversion to that of other very powerful religions, which take a different approach.

Over the past few days, we have been studying what to say to someone who wants to convert to Judaism. The Talmud states the following, which has become the paradigmatic approach of candidates for conversion to Judaism:

“Do you not know that at present the Jewish people are anguished, repressed, despised and harassed, and that trials are inflicted upon them?

If the candidate for conversion answers: “I know, and although I am unworthy (to join the Jewish people and share their pain, I nevertheless desire to do so”), then he is immediately accepted.

There is here a presumption of endless oppression, which should continue, and it is therefore at the very least curious that anyone wants to link his fate with that of the Jewish people.

And the court continues to inform the future convert of some of the lenient mizvot (commandments) and some of the strict mitzvot: the obligation to leave gleanings for the poor in the corner of his field, for example.

The court wants to make sure that the potential convert is truly aware of the real difficulty of things, by exposing the specific religious restrictions supported by Jews and the consequences of their transgression.

Only after this does the court finally outline some of the benefits of being Jewish.

They say to the candidate for conversion, “Know that the world to come is made only for the righteous, and if you observe the mitzvot, you will deserve it. Know also that the Jewish people at the present time are unable to receive their full reward in this world.’

In other words, there are good things about being Jewish, at least ultimately. And if you can handle a little delayed gratification, there is a reward in the end, but probably not in this world.

So what are we to make of this half-hearted embrace of people wanting to join the Jewish fold?

A religion of pessimism? Probably not. More like a religion of seeing things as they really are in the world as it really is, and therefore not wanting to inflict Jewish suffering on other people.

But here’s the thing! Despite all of the above, there has actually been a huge influx of converts into my own Shul, and I think this phenomenon needs to be replicated all over the world. What the reason is, I have no idea, but I think one of the main reasons may be the non-coercive nature of relations between Jews and their neighbors, and even towards those neighbors who show a keen interest in the Jewish religion for good or for bad.

Some may think that this is a mature way of going about life and that forced conversions or even self-righteous evangelism, exemplified today, for example, by religious leaders declaring as fact that they know the mind of Gd, can certainly make a statement at the time, but such an example usually proves harmful in the long run, both to others and to the religion itself.

Because no one knows the mind of God and all we can do is the best we can.

So as we ascend the little hill called Sinai (not at all tall or attractive), let us constantly keep in mind the longest reign this country has ever known, ruled by a monarch who herself gave the example and of which The next Platinum Jubilee coincides with the Jewish feast of Shavuot, the feast of conversion, the feast of second chances, the feast of new beginnings for all.

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The Jewish tradition of reverence for sacred texts offers a view of the lost world http://www.jewsformorality.org/the-jewish-tradition-of-reverence-for-sacred-texts-offers-a-view-of-the-lost-world/ Thu, 21 Apr 2022 03:00:33 +0000 http://www.jewsformorality.org/the-jewish-tradition-of-reverence-for-sacred-texts-offers-a-view-of-the-lost-world/ From prayer notes in the Western Wall to texts in synagogues, the Jewish tradition of safeguarding sacred scripture can provide a window into life through the ages. At Jerusalem’s Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, pieces of paper are lodged between ancient stones. But twice a year, Jewish men carrying sticks pushed […]]]>

From prayer notes in the Western Wall to texts in synagogues, the Jewish tradition of safeguarding sacred scripture can provide a window into life through the ages.

At Jerusalem’s Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, pieces of paper are lodged between ancient stones.

But twice a year, Jewish men carrying sticks pushed the prayers out of the crevices.

Below them, the papers filled boxes marked “Genizah.”

The word refers to a place where Jews store worn religious writings, before they are gathered and buried.

Rabbi Michael Marmur, an associate professor at the Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem (HUC-JIR), said the tradition of Genizah dates back around 2,000 years.

“Judaism has always been a strongly textual and text-centric religion, and the text itself, especially once it bears the name of God, the text becomes something to be defended and preserved,” said he declared.

Although not all synagogues contain a dedicated Genizah, places of worship and religious study will have provisions for the obsolescence of sacred texts.

In the wider Jewish community, there are public depositories that worshipers can use, sometimes with a place to donate.

If the space used to contain religious texts may vary, the principle remains the same.

“The same kind of attention is given to the human body before burial, the idea is that it should be treated with the utmost reverence,” Rabbi Marmur said.

The vast majority of writings placed in a Genizah are dedicated to the earth every few years, never to be seen again.

But once a Genizah was left to fill for almost a thousand years.

The vast hall of a Cairo synagogue was eventually filled with hundreds of thousands of manuscripts, which scholars began studying more than a century ago.

“You just accessed it through a small window,” explained Melonie Schmierer-Lee, a research associate at the Genizah research unit at the University of Cambridge Library.

“They ended up putting their Genizah items in that room, and they didn’t really empty it,” said Ms. Schmierer-Lee from Cambridge, where most of the collection is.

Hole in the Wall' - the entrance to the Genizah Chamber of the Ben Ezra Synagogue.  © University of Cambridge, used with permission from the Trustees of Cambridge University Library

While traditionally religious texts must be properly disposed of, the Cairo collection contains all kinds of writings.

“Its real significance is that it was the writings of the community for a long time, and you can see people’s daily lives,” Ms. Schmierer-Lee said.

“You get all these people that don’t usually appear in historical records,” she added, such as details about the lives of women, the poor and slaves.

The Cairo Genizah contained everything from shopping lists to Arabic fabes and prenuptial agreements detailing agreed upon behavior during marriage.

“There’s a pretty funny one,” Ms. Schmierer-Lee said. “The future groom promises that in marriage he will not hang out with his drunken and dissolute friends.”

Overall, the Egyptian texts depict a thriving Jewish community during a time when the Holy Land was marked by the Crusades.

While the Cairo collection is the most famous of its kind, others provide invaluable insight into Jewish life around the world.

The Afghan Genizah, housed in the National Library of Israel, details the lives of Jewish traders between the 11th and 13th centuries.

While scholars knew that Jews were present in the Persian-speaking world, the collection of around 250 documents provides rare evidence.

“Before these documents were studied and unearthed, there was almost no evidence of a Jewish community,” said Samuel Thrope, curator of the library’s Islam and Middle East collection.

Although described as a Genizah, many of the documents are thought to come from the records of a local administrator rather than a place of worship.

Documents from a collection of discarded <a class=religious Jews discovered in caves in a Taliban stronghold in northern Afghanistan that date back to the 10th century. The National Library has acquired 29 items from the collection, or Genizah, which contains the earliest documentation of the religious, cultural and commercial life of the Jewish community at that time and in this region. ” src=”https://thenational-the-national-prod.cdn.arcpublishing.com/resizer/wqsbzilYaxaV4VM0N-Bo30LjEtc=/1440×0/filters:format(jpg):quality(70)/cloudfront-eu-central-1.images.arcpublishing.com/thenational/RMI5LL24J5EMPOIG7NLF433RZU.jpg” width=”1440″ height=”0″ loading=”lazy”/>

“The Afghan Genizah lets us see what life was really like” at the time, with letters, Jewish legal texts and poetry included in the collection.

Some Jews may object to the study of texts that were intended for burial.

But for Rabbi Marmur, the unveiling of a Genizah can create an important historical record if the texts are treated with respect.

“[The fact that] they give us a window into a lost world is a fantastic added blessing,” he said.

Updated: April 21, 2022, 03:00

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