Miracle on Blanshard Street

by Alan Rutkowski   VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA in Canada, has a small Jewish community of around 3,000 and is home to Canada’s oldest continuously existing congregation, Congregation Emanu-El. The building that houses Congregation Emanu-El, which was built in 1863, is also the oldest synagogue building on the west coast of North America. Emanu-El is a Conservative […]

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November 9: Kristallnacht

The Nazis inaugurated the two-day rampage against Jews, Jewish businesses and homes, and synagogues known as Kristallnacht (The Night of the Broken Glass) in Germany, Austria, and the occupied part of Czechoslovakia on this date in 1938. The trigger was the November 7th assassination of Ernst von Rath, a German embassy official stationed in Paris, […]

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October 17: Spirit Day and Sojourn

Sojourn, the Southern Jewish Regional Network for Gender and Sexual Diversity, founded by Rabbi Joshua Lesser, the leader of Atlanta’s Reconstructionist Congregation Bet Haverim, is the sole Jewish organization among eighteen faith-based organizations listed at the website for this year’s Spirit Day, October 17th. Founded in 2010 by teenager Brittany McMillan to oppose bullying and […]

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April 8: The Oldest Congregation in America

Shearith Israel, a.k.a. the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, established as the first Jewish congregation in America in 1655 by Jewish settlers in New Amsterdam, dedicated its first synagogue building on this date in 1730, on Mill Street in lower Manhattan. The congregation has occupied a series of five buildings, including its present quarters on West […]

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What’s Missing in Secular Jewish Communities

by Julie Gamberg Adrienne is a secular Jewish community member who wants to talk about God — or god. She grew up in an observant Jewish home, which she left for a wild youth, during which she thought very little about her Jewish identity, and even less about the supernatural. She eventually settled down with […]

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January 9: Debbie Friedman

Debbie Friedman, who recorded 22 albums and composed Jewish liturgical and folk songs that are passionately spiritual, feminist, and progressive, died at 59 on this date in 2011. Friedman’s compositions included modern settings of traditional prayers as well as original songs in English. Her music, according to her New York Times obituary, is “sung by […]

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November 21: A Black Jewish Cop in South Carolina

One of the oldest synagogues in America, Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, founded in 1749 in Charleston, South Carolina, became the first to follow Reform practice on this date in 1824 when 47 congregants resigned from the community and organized “The Reformed Society of Israelites.” After nine years,  the members of this society rejoined the old […]

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