Belief Beat

This is shaping up to be one of those religion news weeks where I have trouble remembering that Jewish Americans make up less than 3 percent of the U.S. population… even less, if you’re only counting those who attend synagogue more than a few times a year.

Yesterday, I wrote about Newsweek’s fourth annual (and admittedly “unscientific” and “mischievous”) 50 Most Influential Rabbis list, for Religion News Service. What stood out for me this year was the 36th place ranking of Orthodox “Rabba” Sara Hurwitz, given that the Orthodox clergy organization doesn’t accept the ordination of women.

Another story I’m working on relates to the historic gathering of LGBT Jews that just wrapped up in San Francisco. Two gay Jewish community leaders blogged about this for CNN today — check it out, and let me know what other questions you have for this emerging movement.

Last but not least for this Belief Beat edition of Jews on First, JTA has been reporting on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s nod to her Jewish roots during her confirmation hearings, including eating Chinese food on Christmas. (Speaking from personal experience, this is not just a Jewish tradition, at least not in the New York!)

For more Jewish news, check out JTA, The Forward, Beliefnet’s blogs by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and Rabbi Brad Hirschfield (44th on the Newsweek rankings this year) and the recently award-winning God Blog over at the L.A.-based Jewish Journal.

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