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There was a criminal attack on the Hand in Hand school in Jerusalem. When school principal Nadia Kinani arrived early one morning, she found “Death to Arabs” spray-painted in huge letters across the walls of the school. Close by, at the large Greek Orthodox Christian monastery, was scrawled “Death to Christians.” Jerusalem police suspect this […] Read More

(RNS) Before you meet your match, you’ve got to meet your matchmaker. That’s the new strategy of a group of rabbis who are launching a different kind of Jewish dating website called the “J sites”—JMontreal, JMiami, JBoston and, coming soon, JNew York, JLondon, JBerlin and JHong Kong. Like most dating sites, users pay a fee […] Read More

JERUSALEM (RNS/ENInews) Christians have the lowest growth rate among the Israeli population, according to a recent report from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics. According to the Jan. 6 report, the Christian growth rate of 0.9 percent lags behind the Jewish rate of 1.7 percent and the 2.7 percent growth rate among Muslims. Christian Arabs […] Read More

RUTHERFORD, N.J. (RNS) An attack early Wednesday (Jan. 11) on a New Jersey synagogue—the fourth such incident in a month—is being investigated as an attempted murder and a bias crime, leading to increased concern and security measures from Jewish leaders and law enforcement officials. Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said Congregation Beth El in […] Read More

LUEBECK, Germany (RNS) Yelizaveta Paliy arrived in this northern port city from Ukraine in 1995 on the second day of Hanukkah. After years of celebrating the Jewish festival of lights behind drawn curtains in her homeland, Paliy went to Luebeck’s historic synagogue and lit the candles in freedom for the first time. “I cried like […] Read More

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (RNS) President Obama told a supportive crowd of Reform Jews here on Friday (Dec. 16) that no other administration in U.S. history “has done more in support of Israel’s security.” “Don’t let anybody else tell you otherwise. It is a fact,” Obama told more than 4,500 people attending the biennial convention of […] Read More

WASHINGTON (RNS) Rabbi Richard Jacobs, who will soon head the congregational arm of the largest Jewish denomination in North America, understands why so many Jews avoid synagogues. His own experience growing up in a Reform synagogue in Southern California, he said, was “dreary” and “shallow.” Citing Jacobs’ willingness to experiment with new approaches to traditional […] Read More

(RNS) Matisyahu, the improbable but undeniable reggae star, announced on Twitter on Tuesday (Dec. 13) that he is shaving the beard that has long marked him as a Hasidic Jew. Fans are confused. Is he giving up the Orthodox brand of Judaism he adopted 10 years ago, and the ultra-religious persona that helped launch him […] Read More

(RNS) Put on your boogie shoes—the new Hanukkah songs are here! What last year seemed like a happy coincidence has become a hip new Hanukkah tradition: groups of harmonizing young Jews releasing seriously Jewish, yet seriously danceable, songs for the Festival of Lights. The Maccabeats, who scored more than 6 million hits on YouTube last […] Read More

JERUSALEM (RNS) With its department-store-sized windows, the Kolben Dance Company’s studio faces a busy downtown plaza, but few passers-by have ever glimpsed one of the troupe’s rehearsals inside. The studio’s shades were drawn three years ago, after extremists from the city’s large haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Jewish community threatened employees and defaced their ads. The fundamentalists called […] Read More