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Menachem Wecker

Menachem Wecker is an author at Religion News Service.

All Stories by Menachem Wecker

This Yom Kippur, many Jews will wash their hands of a certain injunction

By Menachem Wecker — September 15, 2021
(RNS) — Those that cleanse themselves of sins thusly do so with a rabbinic stamp of kosher approval.

The painting behind Taliban fighters in Kabul presidential palace is worth a thousand words

By Menachem Wecker — September 9, 2021
(RNS) — The scene depicted in the enormous painting represents something of a mixed symbolic bag for the Taliban foot soldiers posed before it.

Game changer: How mahjong helped Jewish and Asian Americans overcome racism

By Menachem Wecker — July 13, 2021
(RNS) — Today, a new book on mahjong and its cultural journey in the US suggests that there is much to learn from the game’s history, particularly how to put the rising anti-Asian and anti-Jewish hatred of our time in context.

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

By Menachem Wecker — 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

By Menachem Wecker — 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

By Menachem Wecker — 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

By Menachem Wecker — 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

By Menachem Wecker, Jonathan Harounoff — 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

By Menachem Wecker — 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

By Menachem Wecker — 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

By Menachem Wecker — 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

By Menachem Wecker — 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

By Menachem Wecker — 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

By Menachem Wecker — 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

By Menachem Wecker — 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.
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