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Africa Aid

The pop charity bandwagon is rolling again. Scruffy old Irish pop singers are reviving their careers by going back to Africa and World Poverty and bringing the banality of pop lyric clichés to a very serious and heart rending problem. Anything that brings charity to the forefront of the public mind (which is usually hypnotized into throwing immoral sums of…

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Religious Gangsters

I am saddened but not surprised by the news that the son of the Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, Shlomo Amar, has been arrested for beating up an Orthodox young man who offended by communicating with Amar’s unmarried daughter “unofficially”. Meir Amar, the son, is something of a suspect character altogether, but the Chief Rabbi’s wife, Mazal, has also been…

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Pope John Paul

The papers have been full of the death of the Pope. Tributes from Jews have been flooding in. In Jewish terms, it could be argued he was the best and most pro-Jewish pope ever. He was, after all, the first pope to visit the Western Wall, to recognize the State of Israel, to visit the Synagogue in Rome (in four…

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Christo’s Spiritual Gates

It was a wonderful experience to be in New York in February to see the hundreds of saffron “gates” erected in Central Park by the Bulgarian-born, French-educated and now American artist Christo and his wife, Jeanne-Claude. He has previously covered the Reichstag building in Berlin and the Pont Neuf in Paris and set up visually stunning, temporary artistic artifacts all…

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Kiddush Clubs

The Orthodox Union (OU), which represents over 1,000 so-called Centrist or Modern Orthodox synagogues in North America, has decided to ban kiddush clubs! So what are kiddush clubs? Kiddush clubs are informal social gatherings in Orthodox synagogues on a Shabbat, that go on in rooms out of the main sanctuary during either the reading from the prophets, the rabbi’s sermon,…

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Follow-Up to “Doing It”

Regarding a previous post on the rabbinic response to premarital sex in the Orthodox community: Question:I’ve heard of a case in Baltimore where the rabbi of one shul gave a sermon that was directed (though I don’t believe he mentioned names) toward a couple who weren’t married. They, of course, were offended and left the shul; but the next shul…

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