Judaism

Photo by Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

About 100 protesters marked a Jewish day of remembrance Sunday by calling for closure of federal detention facilities for undocumented immigrants and for an end to the separation of migrant families.

Short: Arguing Can Be Invigorating

Dec 5, 2018
Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

“The English word ‘rabbi’ is derived from the Hebrew word ‘rabi’ meaning, ‘my teacher,’” explains Rabbi Seth Adelson. On a recent afternoon, he gestured toward the bookshelves that line the back of his office and said Jews have traditionally been known as the people of the book. “We are committed to writing our tradition down. We're still arguing about our ancient books,” he said. “That is what has kept us alive.”

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Jews and non-Jews gathered Saturday at Rodef Shalom, a reform synagogue in Pittsburgh, one week after a shooting at nearby Tree of Life where 11 people were killed.

Usually, services are held in Rodef Shalom’s small chapel, but this week the synagogue used its larger sanctuary. More than half of the 1,100 seats were filled.

Squirrel Hill Rabbi: ‘We The Jews Provide Space For Grieving’

Oct 30, 2018
Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Rabbi Seth Adelson’s cell phone hasn’t stopped ringing since Saturday.

He leads the congregation Beth Shalom in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood. With 600 families, it’s one of the largest congregations in the city.

In addition to handling the everyday needs of his congregants, he’s also navigating their reactions to Saturday’s mass shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue, where 11 worshipers were killed, and some remain in the hospital.

Keith Srakocic / AP

A survey of greater Pittsburgh's Jewish population done by Brandeis University shows the community is highly educated and made up of nearly 50,000 people, one quarter of which live in Squirrel Hill.

Researchers said the population has grown since their last study in 2002. They said the recent abundance of young couples and children suggest the community's growth is likely to continue.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Four members of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church protested at Carnegie Mellon University Thursday afternoon. They were met by hundreds counter-protesters who tried to drown out the church’s singing with their own chants, bagpipes, noisemakers, and drums.

Jacqueline Larma / AP

Jewish centers in York and Harrisburg were among those affected by a wave of bomb threats in at least 11 states Monday. This came the day after more than 100 headstones were knocked over at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia police say approximately 100 headstones have been damaged at a Jewish cemetery in the northeastern part of the city. The vandalism occurred less than a week after a similar episode in a Jewish cemetery near St. Louis, where more than 150 graves were targeted.

Israel Tourism / flickr

In the months following the election of President Donald Trump, the Southern Poverty Law Center documented more than 1,000 incidents of harassment and intimidation across the country. Of the cases, more than 140 targeted Jewish people.

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

The first night of Hanukkah falls on Christmas Eve year this, a phenomenon some are dubbing Chrismukkah. In 2013, the second night of Hanukkah was on Thanksgiving and was dubbed Thanksgivukkah.

But why do the dates of Hanukkah vary so widely from year to year?

“The basic thing to know about the Hebrew calendar is that it’s a lunar calendar and not a solar calendar,” said Adam Shear, director of the Jewish Studies program at the University of Pittsburgh.

A Rosh Hashanah By The River

Sep 17, 2015
Lou Blouin / The Allegheny Front

A sign at the 18th Street boat launch near Pittsburgh’s Birmingham Bridge explicitly states “DO NOT FEED THE DUCKS AND GEESE.” And technically speaking, the 70 or so people gathered here tossing bread into the Monongahela River, triggering a feeding frenzy in the water, aren’t doing that.

The bread they’re throwing is just a symbol: a spiritual stand-in for the sins and baggage from the past year. And if the bread/sins can make it past the gauntlet of water fowl, the water, according to scripture, will carry them away.

Combating a Global Rise in Anti-Semitism

Sep 4, 2014
U.S. Department of State

Ira Forman joins us to talk about his work as Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism for the U.S. Department of State.

Throughout his career Forman has spoken and written extensively on Jewish history and public policy, and today he discusses the reported global rise in anti-Semitic sentiment and activity.