judaism

Updated at 6:18 p.m. ET

President Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday that will make Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act apply to anti-Semitic acts. The order is generating concern that it will stifle free speech by those who oppose Israel's policy toward the Palestinians.

The executive order takes indirect aim at the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that has generated intense controversy on college campuses.

Before Yom Kippur begins at sundown Tuesday, members of Uganda's Namutumba synagogue will sit down to a festive meal to prepare themselves physically and spiritually for the Day of Atonement.

This Jewish custom of the seuda hamafseket is new for this community, whose members have often entered the 25-hour-long fast on empty stomachs owing to drought and food shortages.

As some may know, Cincinnati is the birthplace of Reform Judaism. In 1853, Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise came here and enacted changes that drastically altered Jewish life, such as choral singing and seating men and women together in pews. His temple – now his namesake – still stands Downtown on Plum Street. In 1888, Rabbi Dov Behr Manischewitz started Manischewitz in Cincinnati, the famous kosher brand whose square matzoh (an unleavened bread) was revolutionary because it was made by machine (and thus no longer round). Manischewitz was based here until the 1930s, when it moved to New Jersey. 

When a journalist and chef made the decision to host a dinner party and invite members of the Illuminoshi (a not-so-secret society of San Francisco Bay Area Jewish food professionals) to eat a meal of pork and shellfish-filled dishes in the name of education, she knew that more than a few people would have some beef with the menu.

An event like that takes lots of, as the Jews say, chutzpah to put on. Which is why Alix Wall prefaced the announcement of Trefa Banquet 2.0 with an apology.

On Yom Kippur — which begins Friday night — over half of American Jews will fast (according to a recent survey). Whether in temple or at their workday desk, many will use the opportunity to reflect on their individual and collective actions over the past year, and their hope for the coming year. After the sun sets, they'll break their fast. And a lot of people will really break their fast.

The idea of giving up food for 25 hours for the Yom Kippur fast can seem daunting.

But for Shadrach Mugoya Levi, it's not so unusual. In his impoverished village of Magada, Uganda, there are many days when there's not enough food to eat.

"On Yom Kippur I am asking God to pardon me," Levi says of the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. "On other days when I don't have food, I still pray. I pray that I get what to eat, so that I can continue to live."

Editor's note: This story was originally published in 2006.

It's all about the oil.

Through the eight days of Hanukkah, it almost doesn't matter what you eat, as long as it's cooked in oil. A good case could be made for eating potato chips with every meal throughout the holiday.

Hanukkah in America

Dec 4, 2013

10:00 Hanukkah received more attention than usual this year when the first full day of the Jewish Festival of Lights began on Thanksgiving. Now, pretty much everyone has heard of "Thanksgivukkah." But for many Americans, Hanukkah is still something of a mystery, and, at the same time, one of the most familiar Jewish holidays, although it's far from the most important. This hour, we'll talk to a Jewish religion expert about Hanukkah in the U.S. and how the minority status of Jewish Americans has changed the status of the holiday. Guest