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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 8, 2008 / 9 Tishrei 5769

Many nonobservant Jews are finding religion

By Ana Veciana-Suarez



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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) MIAMI — Edgardo de la Vera rediscovered his Jewish roots and religion as a student at the University of Miami. He now observes the Sabbath, attends a weekly class with an Orthodox rabbi and vows to marry within his faith.

Phyllis Levy grew up in a secular home and never learned the prayers of her ancestors. But when their only son was born, she and her husband, Phil, decided "we wanted to raise him in a way that he would understand what it was like to be Jewish."

When Mitch Joseph was a child, his family displayed a Hanukkah bush and went caroling with friends at Christmas. But after years of studying Torah, he now keeps a kosher home, sends his children to Jewish day school and will walk, not drive, to his Plantation, Fla., for High Holy Day services.

During the 10-day period bookmarked by Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, which began Monday at sundown, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which begins tonight at sundown, many Jews will observe the High Holy Days in more traditional ways than their parents ever did. It's a trend, some say, that highlights a growing hunger for spiritual guidance, especially among the young.

"Before, when I used to go (to synagogue) for Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur, I thought of it as my one time to be Jewish and after that I was done for the year," recalls de la Vera, 22. "It was an obligation, but now it has a very special meaning for me. I feel excited, I feel renewed. This is exactly where I want to be, with G-d and with the Jewish people."

No one is quite sure how extensive this trend toward religiosity is. Quantifying it is difficult because levels of observance vary widely even within denominations.

Yitzchak Rosenbaum, a spokesman for the National Jewish Outreach Program, says America's "warm, welcoming society" translated into assimilation and intermarriage for many Jews who emigrated here in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

"We know that definitely there has been a trend, but how do you define it?" Rosenbaum says. "Are they doing one thing or two things, or are they totally religious and observant?"

Most experts do agree on one thing: The movement toward orthodoxy is pronounced among the young. Citing a study from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Nathan Katz, a professor of religious studies at Florida International University, says the Orthodox community is growing at a faster clip than demographic studies show — in large part because of a high birth rate.

Decades ago, the Orthodox were known for having the highest proportion of elderly among Jews. In 2001, they had the highest proportion of children — 39 percent, twice as high as the two other denominations.

Many rabbis cite religiosity among the young as a reason whole families become more observant. Elena Amsili is a teacher at the school at Temple Sinai, a reform synagogue in North Dade, Fla., but when her son, Jonathan, was preparing for his bar mitzvah, a rite of passage that welcomes Jewish boys into manhood at 13, he gravitated toward an Orthodox synagogue.

WHY THEY DO IT
"I felt an attraction (to the Orthodox way of life)," says Jonathan, now 14. "I'm proud to be Jewish and I want to lead a Jewish life."

The family's religious habits changed to accommodate him, including keeping kosher, lighting Sabbath candles and attending more services at the synagogue.

"Friends ask, 'How did this happen — you a teacher at a reform temple?'" Amsili says with a chuckle. "But I'm happy for him. I would rather he become more religious than have him go the other way."

De la Vera is considered a Baal Teshuva, a formerly secular Jew who has become stricter in his observance.

"I'm making more of a connection to G-d but also to the rest of the Jewish people," says the UM student, whose father is Christian and mother is a nonpracticing Jew. "Now I understand the stories my grandmother used to tell me about Jacob and Abraham and David. I can put things in context."

Other young people, like Amy Benjamin, 30, grow up fairly observant, rebel for a while, then come back. The South Beach therapist says she was "turned off" when her mom joined an Orthodox synagogue.

"I was 14 and overnight we had to make all these changes," she recalls. "There was a lot of resentment and I think part of it was that we didn't understand. There was no meaning behind what we did and it was just forced down our throats."

But after living for almost two years in Israel and attending Torah study classes with her mother, Benjamin felt "this deeper connection to a spirituality inside of me that I didn't know how to access before." She now considers herself "conserva-dox."

The increased observance, she says, has changed her life.

"It has given me a serenity and peace of mind I was trying to find in other venues."

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© 2008, The Miami Herald. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services