A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

Religion + Observance

Elke Bentley, 18, completed reading the Babylonian Talmud in just two-and-a-half years.(Courtesy Elke Bentley)

Meet the teenaged girl who read the Talmud in two-and-a-half years

Published July 19, 2024

(JTA) — When she was 14 years old, Elke Bentley could hear her father’s online Talmud classes through the wall between her bedroom and his home office in Brookline, Massachusetts. The 5 a.m. start time for the daily Talmud learning her father had...

Yael Jaffe, a member of Hadars first cohort of rabbinic ordinees, learns in the New York beit midrash, or study hall, of the Jewish learning and programming center. (Courtesy Hadar)

Hadar’s new plan has it minting rabbis, opening synagogues and sending teens to Israel. Is it a denomination now?

Jackie Hajdenberg, JTAPublished July 1, 2024

When the group that would become the Hadar Institute launched in 2006 with a study hall in a rented space on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, it aimed to combine two things that, outside of a few rabbinical schools, were rarely found in the same place:...

The Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak, Michigan on May 31, 2022, before a “discussion of the Jewish-Catholic Relationship”. This event was co-sponsored by the Detroit JCRC/AJC and the Archdiocese of Detroit. The Shrine was founded by Father Charles Coughlin, who had an antisemitic radio show in the 1930s. (Jeff Kowalsky/JTA)

Father Coughlin’s church will now teach visitors about his antisemitism

Andrew Lapin, JTAPublished June 25, 2024

During his Depression-era run as one of the country’s most popular radio personalities, Father Charles Coughlin spread antisemitic conspiracy theories, praised fascists and suggested Jews deserved the horrors of Nazi persecution. Now, nine decades...

Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religions main campus  is in New York Citys Greenwich Village. (Plexi Images/GHI/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Hebrew Union College to admit and ordain rabbinical students in interfaith relationships, ending longstanding ban

Philissa Cramer, JTAPublished June 20, 2024

Hebrew Union College, the Reform movement’s rabbinical seminary, will begin admitting and ordaining students who are in relationships with non-Jews, following a decision by its board to drop a longstanding ban on interfaith relationships for rabbinical...

Among the new haggadahs to be published in 2024 are several for families and one for Star Wars fans. (Collage by Mollie Suss)

Inside 10 new haggadahs for 2024: America and Israel take their places at the seder table

Philissa Cramer, Penny Schwartz, JTAPublished April 5, 2024

(JTA) — The creators of new Passover haggadahs focused on Zionism and American patriotism were working on their projects long before Oct. 7, when Hamas attacked Israel and triggered a war in Gaza and a broad reckoning over both Israel and the place...

A bas-relief of Maimonides, sculpted by Brenda Putnam, hangs in the U.S. House of Representatives among statues of historical lawmakers. Architect of the Capitol/Wikimedia

Unlocking and understanding Maimonides

Randy L. Friedman, Binghamton University, State University of New YorkPublished February 19, 2024

I teach a philosophy of religion seminar titled “Faith and Reason.” Most students who register arrive with a mistaken assumption: that the course explores the differences between the two. “Faith” is often defined as belief in a supernatural...

Ethan Smith participates in a live broadcast to fellow teens at the BBYO convention in Orlando, Florida, Feb. 16, 2024.

Today’s college hunt takes a twist for Jewish teens grappling with antisemitism

Jacob Gurvis, Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)Published February 16, 2024

ORLANDO (JTA) —  Ethan Smith ranks fifth in his New Jersey high school class, scored high on the SAT and aced a full slate of five Advanced Placement tests last year. On Oct. 1, he submitted his application to a nearby Ivy League school, the University...

Local rabbis react as Conservative Movement holds firm on intermarriage ban

Local rabbis react as Conservative Movement holds firm on intermarriage ban

Jordan Palmer, Chief Digital Content OfficerPublished January 30, 2024

  The Conservative movement is upholding its ban on rabbis officiating interfaith weddings, according to a new, 21-page report released this week. However, the report recommends various changes, such as introducing new rituals and updating...

Rabbi Ilan Glazer (drums) and his band, featuring wife Sherri on vocals, perform at the Gam Ki Elech album release show on Jan. 14, 2024.

When Judaism didn’t offer rituals for a stillbirth, a grieving couple created their own

Jackie Hajdenberg, JTAPublished January 30, 2024

(JTA) — On Nov. 29, 2021, Ilan and Sherri Glazer announced to the public that they were expecting a baby after three rounds of IVF. The following day, during their 20-week ultrasound, they learned that their baby’s brain wasn’t forming properly....

Joseph’s story amazes, with or without the dreamcoat

Joseph’s story amazes, with or without the dreamcoat

Rabbi Michael AlperPublished December 7, 2023

For the past 15 years, I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside my wife. People often ask us whether it’s difficult to live and work together, and the truth is I really can’t imagine it any other way. We both like to talk about everything from...

Joshua doing battle with the Gibeonites. (Getty Images)

Seeking justice for Israel’s slain and missing without losing our moral compass

Rabbi Justus Baird, JTAPublished October 20, 2023

This article initially appeared in My Jewish Learning’s Shabbat newsletter Recharge on Oct. 21, 2023. To sign up to receive Recharge each week in your inbox, click here. (JTA) — They say that while the Torah doesn’t change each year, we...

On Oct. 16, group of Chicago-area rabbis attended the funeral of Wadea al-Fayoume, a six-year-old Palestinian-American who was stabbed by his familys landlord, to pay their respects and condemn islamophobia in the wake of the 2023 Israel-Hamas war.

Chicago rabbis attend funeral of Palestinian-American child killed in alleged Islamophobic hate crime

Jackie Hajdenberg, JTAPublished October 17, 2023

(JTA) — Before he paid his respects at the funeral of Wadea al-Fayoume, the 6-year-old Palestinian-American boy stabbed to death in what police are calling a hate crime, Rabbi Ari Hart called the officiants of the funeral to make sure his presence would...

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