Nacha Cattan

Bridging Brooklyn’s Jewish Divide

Occasionally, I walk out of my present apartment and come face to face with my past. She’s wearing a long skirt and an I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-natural wig. If she’s a childhood friend, we probably chat politely about her kids and my job as a journalist. If I’m wearing pants, she’ll try not to look down (even if her

Sports

Pittsburgh may have been roundly beaten in a season-ending game of college basketball last week, but in the more hidebound world of Jewish organizational life, the city scored a stunning victory.Howard Rieger, 61, a longtime Jewish charity leader and top professional at the United Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, has been nominated

Activist Rabbi Group Ramps Up Efforts

Rabbis for Human Rights, a multi-denominational international group, is ramping up efforts to clear its Israeli executive director of charges for attempting to block the demolition of Palestinian homes.The group is running an advertising campaign in North American Jewish newspapers calling on Israel to rescind its “illegal and immoral”

Groups Say Ban on Gay Vows Breaches Religious Freedom

In an unusual move, a local prosecutor’s effort to stop ministers from performing same-sex marriages is drawing fire from Jewish civil rights agencies not only on grounds of privacy or gay rights, but also of religious freedom.Officials with the American Jewish Congress and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism charge that the district

Judge Decries ‘Frivolous’ Shoah Appeals

The federal judge overseeing a $1.25 billion Holocaust restitution settlement with Swiss banks is accusing an American survivor group of filing “frivolous” claims for more funds while survivors in the former Soviet Union live in abject poverty.Brooklyn federal judge Edward Korman filed a sharply worded memorandum this week, vividly detailing

Reform Rabbis Seek To Revive Food Laws

More than a century after the founders of Reform Judaism rejected kosher dietary laws as outdated practices likely to “obstruct” modern spiritual development, a growing cadre of the movement’s religious leaders are seeking to revive the practice.Discussion about resurrecting the observance of kosher laws, or kashrut, dominated the latest

‘Passion’ Critics Endanger Jews, Angry Rabbis Claim, Attacking Groups, Foxman

The debate within the Jewish community over the proper response to “The Passion of the Christ” was turned up a notch last week when an outspoken Orthodox rabbi declared the film’s Jewish critics can be placed in the religious category of rodef, or pursuer.The term is used in rabbinic jurisprudence to describe an assailant who threatens

Charity Giant Vows To Fight Barriers Facing Female Leaders

In a rare public self-rebuke, United Jewish Communities this week released a study outlining barriers that have prevented women from gaining top leadership positions at Jewish charitable federations, and vowed to take steps to close the gap.The study, conducted for UJC by the advocacy group Advancing Women Professionals and the Jewish Community,

Discussion of Women Rabbis Causes Stir

At this week’s gathering of Orthodox feminists, women read from the Torah and led the Kaddish prayer during mixed-gendered services. Still, at least one topic had the power to shock this crowd: women rabbis.At this annual conference of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, the subject was raised by two young women in the audience who called

Orthodox Feminists Grapple With Issues of Sexuality

Faced with lurid popular images like Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl striptease and the stark reality of sexually active adolescents, Orthodox girls would be expected to turn to rabbinic law for guidance. The problem, says Jewish educator Tova Hartman, is that in religious schools sexuality is either dealt with through an “oy vey” curriculum that