It's been a few decades since Americans were engaged in a back-of-the-bus controversy. Now a popular bus route between two New York City neighborhoods is reviving the issue.
Last Wednesday, Melissa Franchy boarded the B110 from Williamsburg to Boro Park, two Hasidic Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn. She was accompanying her friend, Sasha Chavkin, a reporter for The New York World, a Columbia Journalism School publication. Their mission: Find out what would happen if Franchy sat at the front of the bus.
Over the next two weeks, some 5,000 people will fill the sanctuaries at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C., to pray, worship and remember their spiritual roots.
"Rosh Hashana is a time of renewal, and it's a time of reconnecting with what really matters for us as a Jewish people," Rabbi Gil Steinlauf says.
The Jewish New Year is a time of spiritual awe — and practical considerations. Unlike churches, most synagogues charge membership dues to keep the lights on and fund the programs, because they are autonomous and do not receive funding from a national body.
For many couples, having a baby is a spiritual experience. For Jews, there's another, religious, element that is intrinsic to the Jewish identity. Nearly all Jewish parents have their baby boys circumcised, as commanded by God in the Bible. And yet, for some Jewish couples, whether to circumcise or not is becoming an agonizing decision.
Originally published on Wed April 13, 2011 6:43 am
Credit Alex Trimble for NPR
Toward the opening of the Passover Seder, participants point to the matzo on the table, and announce: "This is the bread of affliction that our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who are needy come and celebrate Passover." It's a lovely sentiment, remembering the struggles of previous generations of Jews, and opening your home to all those who suffer to this day. But bread of affliction? No more.