Saturday, August 30, 2014 Elul 4, 5774
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No longer able to draw a minyan on Shabbat -- let alone on weekdays -- Young Israel of Oxford Circle, founded 53 years ago, has decided to close its doors for good, making it the latest Northeast Philadelphia synagogue to fall victim to changing demographics and a worsening economic picture. "Fifty years ago, people never thought that the neighborhood would...
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By:
Laura Mass, JE Feature
I glanced around the room at the other students in the class, searching for body language that mirrored my own -- a hand raised in the air, or perhaps a look of confusion or even concern on their faces. It was September 2002, my first semester of a two-year master's program in historic preservation at the University of Pennsylvania. Our...
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Aaron Passman, JE Feature
Talk about your wake-up calls! On April 8, hundreds gathered atop the roof of the Fels Planetarium at the Franklin Institute, waiting under a pre-dawn sky to celebrate Birkat Hachammah, or the "Blessing Over the Sun," an obscure talmudic ritual that occurs only once every 28 years, when the sun is said to return to the same place as at...
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African-American shul dedicates new scroll
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Aaron Passman, JE Feature
At the start of the ceremony dedicating the congregation's new Sefer Torah, Rabbi Debra Bowen of Congregation Temple Beth'El in Philadelphia summed up the situation: "I'm beside myself, as are most of Congregation Temple Beth'El," she said. "We've been unable to sleep, unable to eat -- and our medical personnel have told us that we have 'Torah fever.' " When...
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Coming to a shul near you -- "Jihad Unveiled." The title doesn't refer to the latest cinematic spy thriller or to a secret government report that's just come to light. Instead, "Jihad Unveiled" is a regional, ongoing film-and-lecture series put together by the Zionist Organization of America's Greater Philadelphia District. As opposed to cultural programming, ZOA is best known for...
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