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PASSION UPDATE

Now that Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” is actually playing in theaters (it opened Wednesday), Americans have the luxury of seeing the film before arguing about it. Perhaps the harshest newspaper review so far of the cinematic depiction of the final 12 hours of Jesus’ life came from Jami Bernard in the NewRead More


Same-Sex Weddings Elicit Little Community Reaction in Bay Area

By Josh Richman

SAN FRANCISCO — After Andy Birnbaum came out in 1995, his mother switched to a Reform congregation to find a spiritual home more accepting of her son’s homosexual orientation, while his father remained in their old Conservative congregation, determined to effect change from within.His father’s only request at the time was that AndyRead More


Order Emerges From the Chaos of the Primaries

By Gus Tyler

For a while there it looked as if the Democratic Party was committing suicide on television. A dozen or so aspirants repeatedly made public appearances during which they assailed one another with words that could come back to haunt their party’s ultimate candidate for president.The format in which they appeared encouraged such a bloodyRead More


CAMPAIGN CONFIDENTIAL

By E.J. Kessler

Edwards Opportunity?: The surprising late surge of North Carolina Senator John Edwards in the Wisconsin primary Tuesday makes the March 2 New York primary more interesting, but probably does not give Edwards the momentum he needs to take the Empire State, some local analystsRead More


Rabbis Denounce Sharon’s Plan for Disengagement

Former Israeli chief rabbi Avraham Shapira warned Tuesday night that any politicians who even considered “evacuating a flourishing part of the land and expelling Jews from their homes [would] lose their seat and power.” Shapira made his statement as several hundred rabbis convened in Jerusalem to denounce Prime Minister ArielRead More


U.S. Tries To Build Momentum for Peace

By Ori Nir

WASHINGTON — Faced with a deadlocked Israeli-Palestinian peace process and international pressure to demonstrate a commitment to resolving the conflict, the Bush administration is hoping to generate momentum — or at least the appearance of progress — with Israel’s unilateral separation initiative.“Instead of [the unilateral initiative]Read More


P.A. Set To Handle Gaza Pullout, Palestinian Security Chief Says

If Israel unilaterally withdraws from the Gaza Strip as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has suggested, no governmental vacuum would be formed, Jibril Rajoub, Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat’s national security advisor, said Tuesday in an unusual briefing with Israeli reporters.“We have a plan to handle the territory,” RajoubRead More


Orthodox Feminists Grapple With Issues of Sexuality

By Nacha Cattan

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 thatRead More


Discussion of Women Rabbis Causes Stir

By Nacha Cattan

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 calledRead More


Grasping for God With Arms Outstretched

By Nathaniel Popper

Most of the congregants who trickled in for Saturday services on a recent morning in Evanston, Ill., were wearing spandex. Warming up from the sub-freezing weather outside, they rolled out their blue plastic mats in preparation for the first prayer.When Rabbi Andrea London began the morning blessing, everyone assumed the lotus position, with backs…Read More


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