Tag: Judaism

First Spain-born Liberal rabbi ordained

(JTA) — The main rabbinical seminary in Europe for Reform and Masorti Jews ordained the first ever Spain-born Progressive rabbi, the seminary’s spokesperson said.

Rabbi Haim Casas, who was born and raised in Cordoba, was ordained at a ceremony in London last week along with six other rabbis of the Leo Baeck College, the institution said in a statement on Sunday.

Casas, who was born in 1981, plans to return to Spain, where he will be serving that…

UNESCO passes controversial motion calling Hebron ‘endangered heritage site in Palestine’

(JTA) — The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, passed in a secret ballot a Palestinian-led motion calling Hebron an “endangered heritage site” in “Palestine” despite protests by Israel and Jewish groups.

Critics of the resolution, passed in a vote in Krakow, Poland on Friday, said it accepts the Muslim and Palestinian version of the ancient city’s history and denies its historic and religious importance to Jews and Christians.

A UNESCO advisory panel also said the resolution gives “little recognition” to Hebron’s Jewish and Christian associations.

Before the vote, Israel’s foreign ministry and Jewish groups urged the members of UNESCO’s World…

UK synagogue membership at lowest since ’90

(JTA) — The United Kingdom has the largest number of synagogues in its history, but membership in those institutions is at its lowest in decades, according to a newly published report.

In its report titled “Synagogue membership in the United Kingdom in 2016,” the Institute for Jewish Policy Research counted 454 Jewish houses of worship with a combined membership of fewer than 80,000 households.

The report, which was published Tuesday, reveals that 79,597 Jewish households across the United Kingdom held synagogue membership in 2016, down from 99,763 in 1990 — a 20 percent decline over a quarter of a…

‘Orange is the New Black’ inspires Scottish prisoners to demand kosher food

(JTA) — Inmates at a Sottish prison are believed to have started asking for kosher food after watching “Orange is the New Black,” a Netflix television series set in a women’s prison.

In a 2015 episode of the series, a character known as “Black Cindy” converts to Judaism in order to receive “better quality food.”

Inspectors demanded an investigation into why the HM Prison in Edinburgh is serving kosher meals to more than 100 prisoners when hardly any of its inmates are Jewish, according to The Times of London.

It is thought that hundreds of prisoners across the United Kingdom have applied…

American Jews really care about pluralism. But it’s not just about pluralism.

(JTA) — The Great Jewish Revolt of 2017. The Bar Kotel Rebellion. The Diaspora Strikes Back.

Whatever you call it, last week’s clash between American Jewish leaders and the Netanyahu government felt louder, angrier and more significant than previous clashes over pluralism in Israel.

That may be because it wasn’t only about pluralism.

That’s not to say that pluralism isn’t important. The non-Orthodox Jewish groups who fought hard for a space and a say at the Western Wall — only to see the agreement frozen — want their versions of Judaism to be treated with respect in Israel. They knew that…