December 12, 2013 |
Now here's something you don't see every day: A circle of African men chanting Hebrew prayers while wearing tallitot (prayer shawls) and yarmulkes (skull caps) along with their dashikis - not to mention scenes of African women lighting Sabbath candles and diligently preparing a kosher meal using such native crops as yam and cassava. But for the estimated 3,000 Igbo people of Nigeria who practice Judaism, these are common sightings, all part of a unique way of life portrayed with joy and grace in the captivating documentary "Re-Emerging: The Jews of Nigeria.
December 6, 2013
Re "A struggle for Jewish artifacts from Iraq," Dec. 2 Thank you for the article about former Pentagon official Harold Rhode's efforts to prevent the return of Jewish artifacts to the Iraqi government that seized them. This is just one chapter in a remarkable but largely ignored story: the mass expulsion of Jews from Arab lands. In 1948, there were nearly 900,000 Jews in Arab countries. There are about 7,500 today, a reduction of more than 99%. In Iraq, the Jewish population has plunged from 135,000 in 1948 to almost none today.
November 15, 2013 |
More than 3 million Jews lived in pre-World War II Poland, making up 10% of the population. Today, the Jewish population is at best a tenth of a percent of what it was in 1939. Yet the world is not devoid of Polish Jews. As noted by Louise Steinman in "The Crooked Mirror," her firsthand report on what remains of Jewish life in contemporary Poland, four out of five American Jews are of Polish-Jewish descent - a diaspora within the diaspora. Steinman's previous book, "The Souvenir," was prompted by her discovery of a Japanese flag among her father's World War II effects and, among other things, details her subsequent trip to Japan to return this enigmatic trophy.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 8, 2013 |
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, one of Israel's most influential ultra-Orthodox spiritual leaders who presided over the Shas political party, has died. He was 93. Yosef died Monday at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem. He had been treated in recent weeks for a series of medical conditions, including problems with his back, heart, kidneys and lungs. Strict but pragmatic, the authoritative rabbi held sway over several hundred thousand observant Sephardic Jews, who adhered to his rulings and teachings on marriage, politics and other topics.
October 4, 2013
Re "Jewish secularism rising," Oct. 1 Jews are not merely a religion; Jews are a people. As a people, they have diverse backgrounds, and one can be Jewish without membership in a synagogue. However, synagogue membership helps bind one to the Jewish people. A problem for many Jews is the word "religious. " One can be a member of a synagogue and not be religious at all. Judaism's major problem today is presented in this article: what to do about women and men who marry non-Jews.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 30, 2013 |
Growing up Jewish, Marilyn McLaughlin loved lighting the braided candle and singing to mark the end of Shabbat. She relished studying the Talmud and weighing its ethical questions. But sitting in synagogue left her cold. "I was stuffed with religion," McLaughlin said. "But I had no deep connection to it. " A new study from the Pew Research Center finds that more than a fifth of Jewish Americans say they have no religion. Yet like McLaughlin, they still identify themselves as Jewish.