Jonathan Sarna, Mark Raider: Small-City Congregations Try to Preserve Rituals of Jewish Life

Roger Ackerman, 78, prodded his aging congregation at Temple Sinai in Sumter, S.C., to create a living will that includes a maintenance plan for its cemetery.

Source:  NYT, 12-1-10

…According to Jonathan D. Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University, most Jews in the United States have migrated from small communities to large cities: he estimates that 85 percent of the country’s 5.2 million Jews live in 20 metropolitan areas, primarily on the East and West Coasts and in Sun Belt states.

Mr. Sarna estimates there are 150 to 200 communities across the country that could benefit from the project’s help.

The process of dismantling a community, experts say, is fraught with potential tensions involving both purse and heartstrings. Mark A. Raider, a professor of modern Jewish history at the University of Cincinnati, cited disagreements over disposition of material assets.

“Where there’s money, real estate and other significant resources, there tends to be differing and often opposing views about who should control it,” Dr. Raider said.

Rabbi Mychal Springer, director of the Center for Pastoral Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary, says the project will have to deal with “extraordinary sensitivity on the part of all people involved.”

“When a community is shutting its doors and making decisions about what should be,” Rabbi Springer said, “some people let go sooner and others hold on longer. There can be a lot of angst, disagreement and regret….READ MORE

Mark Raider: University, Jewish studies prof settle dispute

University, Jewish studies prof settle dispute

Source: JTA, 8-17-09

The University of Cincinnati and a tenured professor of modern Jewish history settled their dispute.

The university has withdrawn its charges of misusing university funds for research and travel against Mark Raider following mediation, Raider said in a letter to supporters, and will not pursue further disciplinary action.

Raider will drop a lawsuit against the university and and keep his tenured full professor status while moving from the Judaic studies department to the history department.

Raider was removed as head of the Judaic studies department and from his endowed chair in the spring. The dean of the university’s McMicken College also had moved to fire Raider despite a vote against dismissal by the university grievance committee panel in March.

At the time, Jewish studies scholars from the United States and Israel accused the university of being hostile not only to Raider but also the field of Jewish studies.

An Ohio District Court judge, Arthur Spiegel, served as the mediator.