Are religious doctors different?

You might think that doctors who consider themselves religious would be more likely to serve the needy.

But it’s not so, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune about a survey of 1,100 American physicians.

“I think it challenges the religious communities to think about whether they’re helping physicians make the connection between what religion teaches and how they practice medicine,” said Dr. Farr Curlin, lead author on the study, which the Annals of Family Medicine publishes today.

Read the Tribune report “here.”:,1,703849.story

Halal sex, anyone?

I remember when Shmuley Boteach’s book Kosher Sex came out several years ago. People were fascinated by the very idea of an Hasidic rabbi talking about the forbidden subject — sex — from a religious point of view.

Sex was a good thing (within limits, of course).

I was just thinking about Kosher Sex when I came across a feature in the LA Times about a Muslim sex therapist in Cairo. And she has a TV show.

31502569.jpg“I deal with pleasure, desire, orgasms, masturbation, sexual frequency and erection problems,” Heba Kotb told the Times.

Whether she knows it or not, she and Boteach are kindred spirits.

Read the story “here.”:,0,7141531.story?coll=la-home-center

Doing the Muslim math

So, there’s this math guru named Larry Shiller.

Apparently, he’s created a whole math curriculum to help school kids.

On his website, he also offers podcasts about “the math behind the news.” An interesting idea…

He’s done one on “Muslim math,” focusing on the fact that most countries are home to either many Muslims or very few. The effect, he points out, is that the amount of contact that Muslims have with others — in a worldwide sense — is not that great. And it’s hard to build relationships without day-to-day contact.

The U.S. is the place where this can change as the Muslim community grows.

Check out his “website”: and look for the podcasts on the right.

Big year for UJA-Fed of NY

The UJA-Federation of New York raised a “record $290 million”: during the fiscal year that ended June 30, the group has announced.

Westchester, one of eight counties that make up the group, kicked in $15.8 million, a local record that beat last year’s figure by 13%. (Don’t forget that Manhattan is one of the counties.)

Wayne K. Goldstein of Mamaroneck, chair of the Westchester annual campaign, said the county’s contribution “clearly demonstrates the growing awareness among our families of how blessed we are, and the responsibility we have in bringing caring and compassion to the less fortunate among us.â€?

The UJA-Federation of NY spreads the wealth to support the work of 100 health, human-service, educational, and community agencies across Greater New York.

When an Orthodox Jew marries “out”

Everyone knows that intermarriage has been a subject of grave concern in the Jewish community for decades.

The Reform Jewish world has worked hard to reach out to intermarried families and bring them into the fold. The Conservative world has been increasingly focused on outreach — and the gentle encouraging of non-Jewish spouses to consider conversion.

You would think that intermarriage would not be a big issue in the modern Orthodox world. But when an Orthodox Jew does marry “out,” how should his or her community react?

The Jewish Week’s always astute editor and publisher Gary Rosenblatt has a “column”: on this very subject in the new issue.

It was provoked by a long essay in last week’s NYT Magazine by Harvard Law prof Noah Feldman, who complained about his treatment from the modern Orthodox world after marrying a Korean-American woman. In particular, he claimed that his Yeshiva high school now acts as if he doesn’t exist.

Feldman’s essay is only available to subscribers.

But Rosenblatt’s column about how the modern Orthodox world should react to Jews who intermarry is quite interesting.

He says:

What Feldman’s essay points up is that intermarriage is the irreconcilable issue for those who argue that American and Jewish values are compatible. “We’ve sold a lot of Jews a bill of goods when we’ve told them there are no contradictions between being a good Jew and an American,� noted Jonathan Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University. “In America you are taught you can marry anyone you fall in love with, but Judaism argues that we are a minority culture and will only survive if Jews marry other Jews.�

Sarna chairs an American Jewish Committee task force on attitudes toward non-Jews in the community, and asserts that with an estimated 1.7 million non-Jews living in Jewish households — to put it another way, about 23 percent of those living in Jewish households are not Jewish — this is “a very important debate� for the community to engage in.

Citing the “magnitude� of the issue and the “bitterness that drips out� of Feldman’s essay, Sarna suggests that perhaps it is time for the community to reconsider ways to draw people in rather than ignore or shun them, especially when there are indications that many non-Jews are supportive of raising their children as Jews.

Others would argue that the community already has tilted so far toward outreach and acceptance of non-Jews that there is little incentive left for them to convert to Judaism.

What Noah Feldman has done, consciously or not, is raise some important issues, less about his old yeshiva and Modern Orthodoxy per se than about dealing with Jews who do not see marrying out as leaving the fold.

Report hits Salvation Army program

No one doubts that the Salvation Army has done tremendous work for the down-and-out for decades.

But a pretty shocking report in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle makes awful allegations about a Salvation Army drug rehab center there.

The article alleges, based on numerous interviews, that the center attracts addicts from as far as New Jersey and then uses them as “cheap labor” to transport donated clothes and furniture.

It’s supposed to be a Christian work/therapy program.

Read it “here.”:

Lindsay Lohan needs…

tjndc5-5ftkwt3m8ydstzdw9z5_layout.jpgJesus, according to Christian prison minister “Marty Angelo.”:

“Lindsay Lohan’s out of control lifestyle is only the tip of the iceberg,” Angelo said. “I feel Miss Lohan would benefit by enrolling into a yearlong faith-based program that allows God to get to the root of her real issues.

He’s also reached out to Paris Hilton.

That’s all I got.

I figure I should get these pop culture references in the blog when the opportunity arises.

A free Jewish education available in New Ro

A modern Orthodox synagogue in New Rochelle is offering a free Sunday morning religious program for youth this fall.

No tuition. No synagogue membership required.

“Congregation Anshe Sholom”: is promoting the move as a bold initiative — and it really is.

image3351.jpgThe general rule in the synagogue world is that a family must belong to a congregation in order to send its children to the congregational school. Then there is an additional tuition charge.

But Anshe Sholom says the goal of its “open doors” program is “to ensure that Jewish children develop a love for their Jewish heritage and identity.” The congregation wants to reach out to unaffiliated Jewish families in the New Rochelle area whose children might otherwise go without Jewish education.

Rabbi Ely J. Rosenzveig, Anshe Sholom’s spiritual leader, said:

“We like to view this as Anshe Sholom’s ‘gift’ of Torah and Jewish learning to the Jewish children of our community.”

The program will run, starting Sept. 9, on Sundays from 9:30 to noon for grades kindergarten to eight. Rosenzveig will lead a program from 10:30 to noon for high schooler.

For information, call 914-632-9220 or email the rabbi at

O’Shaughnessy questions the cardinal (gently)

Is Cardinal Egan venturing outside pastoral grounds on the SIRIUS/XM merger?

William O’Shaughnessy, Westchester’s own radio mogul, who is a very involved Catholic with friends across the archdiocese, sent out an intriguing, read-between-the-lines statement a few days back about Egan’s endorsement of the merger.

tjndc5-5b3d2lw15752r6386jt_layout.jpgIt read:

I try to stay on the good side of the cardinal archbishop in all matters — not alone those concerning faith and morals.

Cardinal Egan is my archbishop — and my friend.

But I was somewhat surprised than any ranking churchman would venture into an antitrust — and highly controversial — issue which is certainly not a pastoral matter.

Indeed, we have many friends on both sides of this merger question. And I’m sure the Cardinal does too.

Our local, community stations enjoy a wonderful relationship with His Eminence and we consider it a privilege to amplify his strong, clear, important voice.


O’Shaughnessy, the president of Whitney Radio (local stations WVOX and WVIP), doesn’t say where he stands on the proposed merger. And I wouldn’t guess after reading a “speech”: he gave a few years back about radio consolidation, in which he came down in favor of…the free market.

In case you missed it, here’s Egan’s NY Post “column”: about the proposed satellite radio merger.

LoHud missing from best church list

Sorry, Protestant churches of the Lower Hudson Valley.

None of you made made the Church Report’s list of the 50 most influential churches in America (they mean Protestant churches, although CR doesn’t bother to say it).

But don’t fret. The entire Northeast is hardly represented.

All we get is “Brooklyn Tabernacle,”: a diverse, fast-growing Pentecostal church, at 17 and “Redeemer Presbyterian”: in NYC, an active, church-planting, white-collar congregation, at 23.

Number 1? The granddaddy of megachurches, Willow Creek Community in South Barrington, Ill. Number 2 is Rick Warren’s Saddleback in Lake Forest, Calif.

Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston is number 7. T.D. Jakes’ Potter’s House in Dallas is 9.