Menachem Wecker

Menachem Wecker is an author at Religion News Service.

All Stories by Menachem Wecker

Hasidic Jews feel like the only minority New York officials are comfortable targeting

October 19, 2020

(RNS) — ‘We’re an easy target. The last remaining group that it’s acceptable to target and vilify are Orthodox Jews,’ said Barry Spitzer, who represents the Brooklyn neighborhood Borough Park and is the first Hasidic district manager in the state.

High Holy Days during COVID-19 mean financial, spiritual challenges for synagogues

September 25, 2020

(RNS) — For synagogues, COVID-19 brings spiritual, technological and financial challenges for synagogues during the High Holy Days.

How the Black Plague turned the Shroud of Turin into a beloved relic

August 11, 2020

(RNS) — The Shroud of Turin and other relics have often provided comfort in times of great struggle.

Pandemic forces Jews to be flexible on ritual circumcisions

June 19, 2020

(RNS) — Finding someone to perform a bris during the coronavirus pandemic is a challenge. Some Jewish mohels say they are busier than ever; others have shut down their work.

Jews around the world prepare for a Passover different from any other

April 8, 2020

(RNS) — Despite the COVID-19 crisis, more Jewish households worldwide are now expected to host their own Seder — virtually or in person — than ever before.

Amid rising anti-Semitism, Orthodox Jews weigh safety with being conspicuously Jewish

January 27, 2020

(RNS) — For Orthodox Jews, the current wave of anti-Semitic attacks raises questions about how to keep safe while remaining identifiably Jewish.

Gottlieb’s triple self-portrait captures complexity of High Holidays services

October 8, 2019

(RNS) — An 1878 painting by Jewish Galician artist Maurycy Gottlieb captured the sometimes-tedium of being in synagogue on the High Holidays. It may also allude to emotional conflict that he was experiencing at the time.

The idea that God — or someone — is always watching comes to life with technology

October 3, 2019

(RNS) — Modern technology has brought the idea that a higher power is always watching — and has a recording device handy — to life.

Mister Rogers’ Jewish neighborhood

May 23, 2019

(RNS) — A new exhibit of photos of Fred Rogers is on display at the Pittsburgh Jewish Community Center, in the neighborhood where he made his home.

Is religious kitsch offensive? The answer is in the eye of the beholder

May 10, 2019

(RNS) — The line between well-intentioned kitsch and bad taste, experts in religious artwork say, can be blurry.

The Satanic Temple is a real religion, says IRS

April 25, 2019

(RNS) — The Satanic Temple says it was recently recognized as a church by the IRS. The group, which is nontheistic and argues religion can be ‘divorced’ from superstition, has said it should have the same rights and protections as other religious groups.

Cantor regains his lost voice by composing Jewish music

March 11, 2019

WASHINGTON (RNS) — When his singing voice failed, former cantor Arnold Saltzman reinvented himself as a composer and rabbi. His latest symphony recently debuted in the nation’s capital.

Video stokes fears of anti-Semitic backlash in N.J. suburb

February 1, 2019

(RNS) — A video from a group called Rise Up Ocean County that paints Orthodox Jews as invaders has raised concerns in suburban New Jersey communities where the Jewish population is increasing.

‘The Prophet,’ ‘10 Commandments’ and other religious works enter public domain

January 28, 2019

WASHINGTON (RNS) — A number of books and films with religious themes — like ‘The 10 Commandments’ and ‘The Prophet’ — entered their literary afterlife this month. Published in 1923, the works are now in the public domain.

Jews of African descent ‘unnerved’ by comparisons to viral video group

January 24, 2019

(RNS) — Many different groups and congregations around the country have taken on the term “Hebrew” or “Israelite.” Many are more mainstream and say they object to the angry street preaching shown in a viral video.

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