When Elliot Kukla, a Reform rabbi, came out as transgender six months before his ordination in 2006, he never imagined how openly the Jewish community would be addressing transgender issues just three years later. This month, he is poised to address a West Coast regional conference of Reform rabbis on the subject, and even the elderly Jews that he works with in the Bay Area are largely accepting of his identity.
When grandmaster Haim Gidon, a top-ranking practitioner of the Israeli martial art of Krav Maga, entered a studio in New Jersey on a recent Monday, the 20-odd people in the room stopped pummeling each other and lined up like soldiers standing at attention. Gidon was visiting from Israel to give them advanced training, and the students — who included law enforcement officers, military personnel and Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter John Mayer — treated him like a commanding officer.
In the wake of the ever-widening Madoff scandal, prominent Jewish fundraising experts are calling for a return to the days when Jewish charities engaged the entire community — not just an elite group of mega-donors.
Even as their surprise military campaign remained secret, Foreign Ministry officials scurried to put in place another dimension of modern warfare that they considered crucial to their success.
Breaking ranks with most Jewish organizations, several dovish pro-Israel groups have come out against Israel’s military operation in Gaza and called on the United States to push for an immediate cease-fire.