Wednesday, September 2, 2015 Elul 18, 5775

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With U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) trailing his erstwhile GOP primary opponent Pat Toomey in several recent polls and seemingly facing a difficult path to re-election in 2010, a number of longtime Jewish backers are vowing to stand by their man. They are actively raising funds for Specter, whom they hail as a stalwart supporter of Israel and one of...
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By:
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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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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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:
Aaron Passman, JE Feature
A quiz on the popular social-networking site Facebook asking "What Religion Are You?" contains results for Jews that could be labeled offensive and anti-Semitic. Respondents can fall into one of seven "faith" categories, including Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Atheist, Buddhist or Wiccan. The quiz contains seven multiple-choice questions, many of which have the option of anti-Semitic responses. For example, one question...
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