During a special meeting of its General Assembly on March 1, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) voted overwhelmingly to reverse their prohibition on granting membership to non-Jews.
The measure will have a sweeping impact on North American Conservative Jewish communities, 80 percent of which belong to the USCJ umbrella organization. Whereas synagogues were previously permitted only to allow non-Jews as guests, Conservative communities may now choose to endow non-Jewish attendees—often the non-Jewish spouse of a member—with full membership status. Read more about Conservative Jewish Assembly Votes to Allow Non-Jewish Synagogue Members
As feminist prayer group Women of the Wall arrived at the Western Wall in Jerusalem Monday for a bat mitzvah ceremony and their monthly prayer service, they found their way blocked by crowds of dissenters.
The Women of the Wall have sparked extreme backlash in Israel for their petitions to change gendered restrictions at the Kotel, or Western Wall. They seek a space at the wall for women and men to pray together—currently, the Western Wall has only sex-segregated spaces. The group has also advocated for women’s right to read Torah at the Kotel. Read more about Orthodox Worshipers Protest Bat Mitzvah at Western Wall
After over 150 gravestones were vandalized in a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri in mid-February, American Muslims have jumped to the Jewish community’s defense. In the wake of the vandalism, Muslim activists Linda Sarsour and Tarek El-Messidi set up a LaunchGood.com fundraiser to help the Chesed Shel Emeth Society restore the damaged gravestones. Read more about Muslim Americans Raise Funds for Vandalized Jewish Cemetery
Last Thursday while attending his first National Prayer Breakfast, Donald Trump reiterated his intention to “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment, thereby allowing houses of worship to engage in political endorsements. Read more about Trump Promises to “Destroy” Johnson Act
The United States Army will now allow soldiers to wear turbans, hijabs, and other religious markers, according to a new policy issued last week.
The new uniform regulations come after years of petitions from Sikhs, whose religious beliefs mandate them to grow their hair long and keep their heads covered with a turban. Army grooming standards compelling men to be clean-shaven particularly restricted Sikh men from enlisting, because to do so would require them violate the precepts of their faith. Read more about U.S. Army to Permit Religious Turbans, Beards, and Hijabs
Last week, politicians, pundits, pastors, and protestors gathered in Cleveland for the Republican National Convention.
The Convention’s purpose is to allow the Republican Party to nominate an official candidate for the upcoming presidential election. Because Donald Trump was the presumptive nominee, the event’s speakers focused heavily on the personage of Trump himself, who accepted the official nomination Thursday. Read more about Religious Voices of the Republican National Convention
Last week, a friendly competition in Tel Aviv, Israel brought together Christians, Orthodox Jews, and Muslims in ways that event coordinators believe showcased the groups’ potential for acceptance and coexistence. The event was the first of its kind: a transgender beauty pageant, held to kick off Tel Aviv’s LGBT Pride week.
For interfaith couples, deciding where and how to exchange wedding vows may be only the beginning of a lifelong negotiation between multiple faiths. With interfaith marriages on the rise in the United States, couples are increasingly facing daunting questions about how to pass on their religions to their children. Read more about Raising Multi-Faith Children
This week, the Israeli government approved the creation of an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall, a remnant of Herod the Great’s expansion of the Second Jewish Temple considered to be the holiest Jewish site.