Alison Kaplan Sommer


Reality TV Star's Conversion Plight Reveals Orthodox Rabbinate's Kafkaesque Grip

By Alison Kaplan Sommer

Reality TV Star's Conversion Plight Reveals Orthodox Rabbinate's Kafkaesque Grip
Israel’s Orthodox rabbis have told reality TV star Alin Levy she cannot complete the process of converting to Judaism —because she is an actress.Read More


Too Sexy for Purim?

By Alison Kaplan Sommer

Too Sexy for Purim?
Purim costumes and the hot-button issues surrounding women’s’ and girls’ bodies have become increasingly intertwined in recent years.Read More


'Shul on the Beach' Makes Orthodox Waves in Los Angeles

By Alison Kaplan Sommer

'Shul on the Beach' Makes Orthodox Waves in Los Angeles
Did you hear the one about the Los Angeles shul located between a rehab center and a sex shop, with a view of a beach where bikini-clad sun worshippers frolic?Read More






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    • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
    • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
    • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
    • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
    • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
    • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
    • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
    • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
    • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
    • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
    • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
    • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
    • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
    • "I feel great sorrow about the fact that you decided to return the honor and recognition that you so greatly deserve." Rivka Ben-Pazi, who got Dutchman Henk Zanoli recognized as a "Righteous Gentile," has written him an open letter.
    • Is there a right way to criticize Israel?
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