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Editor’s note: The remarks below are excerpted from a speech given by Bruce Prescott at a peace conference Sept. 14 in Ames, Iowa. Peace (shalom) in the Hebrew Bible means more than the mere absence of conflict and strife. It speaks about the joy, prosperity, well-being and wholeness of a life that exists when men […] Read More

I returned to Israel this month in the good company of David Coffey, now our BMS global ambassador, to join with Israel’s Baptists and celebrate their centenary. When I came here last year, most of my time was spent with Arab Christians and Muslims, both in Nazareth and on the West Bank. The visit made […] Read More

(RNS) An ultra-Orthodox Jewish newspaper in Brooklyn deleted Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton from aWhite House photograph of top officials monitoring the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The Yiddish-language Der Zeitung removed Clinton and Audrey Tomason, a top counter-terrorism adviser, from the photo, which is quickly becoming an iconic image. The photo shows […] Read More

JERUSALEM (RNS) Tova Hartman opens the door to her apartment with a warm smile, speaking softly and casually dressed. With her down-to-earth femininity, she doesn’t exactly look like a rabble-rouser within Orthodox Judaism. Which, perhaps, is precisely what makes her so effective. The 53-year old psychologist and Jewish scholar has used her decidedly feminist Orthodox […] Read More

I was asked recently to articulate why Judaism matters. Here is my reply: Now HaShem said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. [As a consequence of your going] I will make of you a people vital to life, and I […] Read More

I recently taught an adult class on the topic of miracles. In Judaism, some of the rabbis felt that miracles were supernatural events. Others, like Nachmanides, felt that miracles were natural occurrences and their timing made them special. In other words, when we needed such-and-such to happen, it happened. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch taught that […] Read More

(RNS) Veronika and Oleg Bilerman exchanged wedding vows a quarter of a century ago in an unremarkable civil ceremony in the former Soviet Union. Their Jewish faith was never acknowledged. It wasn’t until Sunday (Oct. 31) that the couple, who now live in Fair Lawn, N.J., with their two children, finally celebrated their marriage in […] Read More

(RNS) Russian and right-wing Jews make a splash in this year’s list of influential people compiled by The Forward, the country’s largest national Jewish weekly newspaper. Crowning the 2010 “Forward 50,” published Oct. 26, are: Google co-founder Sergey Brin; U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va.; Misha Galperin, head of Jewish Agency International Development; Supreme Court Justice […] Read More

TEANECK, N.J. (RNS) After enduring “a firestorm” of criticism from all factions of Judaism, New Jersey’s oldest Jewish newspaper says it overreacted in printing and then rescinding its first published same-sex wedding announcement. “We did not expect the heated response we got. We believe now that we may have acted too quickly in … responding […] Read More

Over the years, I have been given the honor of officiating the weddings of former students, family members and friends. Somewhere in that history the “unity candle” became a part of the ceremony – a beautiful symbol of two lives becoming one in marriage. The early practice I remember had the bride and groom using […] Read More