FOR THE GIRLS: New York Jewish Week editor Gary Rosenblatt recalls his first granddaughter’s simchat bat — and asks why ceremonies welcoming newborn girls haven’t caught on with his fellow Orthodox Jews.
Also in the Jewish Week: With synagogue dues rising and members fleeing, an article explores whether congregations need to find a new ways of funding their activities. And Jonathan Mark scores The New York Times’ coverage of a controversial American Muslim group.
MILLIONS FOR MUSEUM: Philadelphia’s Jewish Exponent reports that, with groundbreaking two weeks away, the National Museum of American Jewish History has raised $100 million of the $150 million needed to build its home. (Only a few weeks ago, in a biting column, Exponent executive editor Jonathan Tobin had — quite rightly — labeled the growing numbers of new Holocaust and Jewish history museums “monuments to our own colossal communal vanity.”)
REFORMATIVE YOUTH: In Santa Rosa, Calif., the struggling local Reform and Conservative youth groups merged — and found there’s strength in numbers, San Francisco’s J. reports.“Teens don’t think in terms of Reform and Conservative — they just want to be with other teens,” Rabbi George Gittleman of the Reform Congregation Shomrei Torah tells J.
Also in J.: Jewish life ain’t cheap.
MUSLIM BUILDS SHUL: The L.A. Jewish Journal reprints an article about a Palestinian contractor who donated his time to help build a synagogue in Fayetteville, Ark. “I’m hoping that what we’re doing here will be an example for others to follow around the U.S., and maybe this will be taken back to … Palestine and Israel,” said West Bank-born Fadil Bayyari, who has already built two churches and a mosque. “If we get along with each other here, respect each other, and have wonderful relationships, then maybe they want to do the same.”
Also in the Jewish Journal: Editor Rob Eshman relates the heartbreaking story of a long-lost friend.
WHEN ATHEISTS ATTACK: In London’s Jewish Chronicle, British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks takes on the new wave of anti-religion polemicists.
Also in the JC: British unions are growing weary of pro-Palestinian activists.
HOONS VS. JEWS: Australian Jews have recently come under attack from “hoons” and a “sledger.” Never let it be said that Australians and Americans speak the same language. (A “hoon,” apparently, is Aussie-speak for an anti-social driver, and, according to Wikipedia, is believed to be derived from “hooligan.” A “sledger,” it seems, is a trash-talking cricket player.)