National

At GOP convention, Jewish delegates cite Israel and style in backing Trump

Marc Zell, vice president of Republicans Overseas, opposed Trump as recently as May. But Trump's pro-Israel stance has changed his mind. (Ben Sales)Marc Zell, vice president of Republicans Overseas, opposed Trump as recently as May. But Trump's pro-Israel stance has changed his mind. (Ben Sales)

CLEVELAND (JTA) — On the day Donald Trump wrapped up the Republican primaries, Marc Zell was ready to resign his position as vice president of Republicans Overseas, the party’s expatriate group. Zell, who lives in Israel, was put off by Trump’s inconsistent statements regarding the country. In particular, he… Read more »

Analysis: Jewish Republicans wonder how to vouch for Trump when he won’t help out

Jason Dov Greenblatt, Donald Trump's top real estate lawyer and an Orthodox Jew, is one of three members on the Republican nominee's Israel Advisory Committee. (Uriel Heilman)Jason Dov Greenblatt, Donald Trump's top real estate lawyer and an Orthodox Jew, is one of three members on the Republican nominee's Israel Advisory Committee. (Uriel Heilman)

CLEVELAND (JTA) – Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency rolled out its Israel Advisory Committee last week — no one noticed. Blame the unrelenting news cycle, if you will: July 14 was the day of the hideous mass killing in Nice, France. But also, his Israel Advisory Committee consists of… Read more »

What was Ruth Bader Ginsburg thinking in criticizing Donald Trump?

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at The Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C., Dec. 6, 2015. (Chris Kleponis/AFP/Getty Images)Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at The Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C., Dec. 6, 2015. (Chris Kleponis/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — What was RBG thinking? U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg launched a broadside against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump over the the last week, calling him unfit for office. She subsequently apologized, but not before voices on the right and left criticized her for seeming to compromise the… Read more »

Republican convention will be short on Jews, long on mystery

Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland is decorated to welcome the Republican National Convention, July 11, 2016. (Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland is decorated to welcome the Republican National Convention, July 11, 2016. (Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – They’re elusive, but show up in the right place at the right time — and you might find one! No, we’re not talking about the latest iteration of Pokemon Go. This is about tracking prominent Jewish GOPers and Jewish organizational representatives attending the Republican National Convention next… Read more »

After Elie Wiesel, can anyone unite American Jews?

Elie Wiesel arriving for a roundtable discussion on the Iran nuclear deal on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., March 2, 2015. (Win McNamee/Getty Images) Elie Wiesel arriving for a roundtable discussion on the Iran nuclear deal on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., March 2, 2015. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Being an American Jew, more than anything else, means remembering the Holocaust. That’s what nearly three quarters of Jewish Americans said, according to the Pew Research Center’s landmark 2013 study on American Jewry. Asked to pick attributes “essential” to being Jewish, more Jews said Holocaust remembrance than leading an ethical… Read more »

Wedding of lesbian firebrands, both 76, is a celebration of Jewish and ‘Aquarian’ traditions

At 76, longtime activists Shoshana Dembitz, seated, center left, and Abigail Grafton, seated, center right, married in El Cerrito, Calif., on June 27, 2016. The ceremony was officiated by Rabbi Diane Elliot, seated left, and her husband, Rabbi Burt Jacobson. (Lea Delson)At 76, longtime activists Shoshana Dembitz, seated, center left, and Abigail Grafton, seated, center right, married in El Cerrito, Calif., on June 27, 2016. The ceremony was officiated by Rabbi Diane Elliot, seated left, and her husband, Rabbi Burt Jacobson. (Lea Delson)

  BERKELEY, Calif. (JTA) – When Shoshana Dembitz and Abigail Grafton first met, they spent several long moments gazing into each others’ eyes. But this wasn’t a love-at-first-sight occurrence. Rather, the two were attending a Shabbat service in which participants were split into pairs to look into each others’… Read more »

BLOG 7 Elie Wiesel books that show the range of his influence

Elie Wiesel, the author of over 50 books, in the study of his New York City home, Oct. 14, 1986. (Allan Tannenbaum/Getty Images)Elie Wiesel, the author of over 50 books, in the study of his New York City home, Oct. 14, 1986. (Allan Tannenbaum/Getty Images)

  (JTA) — Most people know Elie Wiesel as the author of “Night,” one of the first published autobiographical accounts of what life was like inside Nazi concentration camps. The book, which helped shape the American understanding of the effects of the Holocaust, has since become a staple on high… Read more »

Elie Wiesel gave the Holocaust a face and the world a conscience

Elie Wiesel poses with students in Tucson on March 1, 1993, when he gave the concluding lecture in the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s “Discovery IV” series. Over the years Wiesel visited Tucson several times, including in 2005, when he gave the inaugural University of Arizona Presidential Lecture, speaking on “Confronting Fanaticism: Building Moral Unity in a Diverse Society.”Elie Wiesel poses with students in Tucson on March 1, 1993, when he gave the concluding lecture in the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s “Discovery IV” series. Over the years Wiesel visited Tucson several times, including in 2005, when he gave the inaugural University of Arizona Presidential Lecture, speaking on “Confronting Fanaticism: Building Moral Unity in a Diverse Society.”

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate who became a leading icon of Holocaust remembrance and a global symbol of conscience, died on Saturday at 87. His death was the result of natural causes, the World Jewish Congress said in a statement. A philosopher, professor… Read more »

BLOG Why not Al Franken? Some think the senator and former comic could be Hillary’s VP

Sen.Al Franken attending the 68th Annual Writers Guild Awards in New York City, Feb. 13, 2016. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images For The Writers Guild Of America)Sen.Al Franken attending the 68th Annual Writers Guild Awards in New York City, Feb. 13, 2016. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images For The Writers Guild Of America)

  (JTA) — Last week Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said that if Hillary Clinton asked him to be her running mate, he’d take the job. “If Hillary Clinton came to me and said, ‘Al, I really need you to be my vice president, to run with me,’ I would… Read more »

Summer camps open bunks to transgender Jews

Camp JRF has embraced inclusivity since its founding, with activities that rarely divide up the boys and the girls. (Courtesy of Camp JRF)Camp JRF has embraced inclusivity since its founding, with activities that rarely divide up the boys and the girls. (Courtesy of Camp JRF)

WHIPPANY, N.J. (New Jersey Jewish News via JTA) — Bathrooms accessible for transgender children and staff are old news at Camp JRF, the Reconstructionist movement’s summer camp in South Sterling, Pa. Five years ago the camp posted signs on bathroom doors stating “This bathroom may be used by any… Read more »

A reflective Bernie Sanders, acknowledging Clinton as nominee, talks Trump, Larry David and what moved him to tears

Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders greet each other at the CNN presidential debate in Brooklyn, N.Y., April 14, 2016. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders greet each other at the CNN presidential debate in Brooklyn, N.Y., April 14, 2016. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Acknowledging for the first time that he will not be the Democratic presidential nominee, Bernie Sanders said he was not yet ready to endorse Hillary Clinton. In an expansive interview aired June 22 on C-Span, Sanders said he hoped to speak at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia… Read more »

Writer Calvin Trillin dishes about civil rights, Judaism and the art of reporting

Writer Calvin Trillin, center, interviewing John Lewis in Birmingham, Ala., as the Freedom Riders were boarding the bus for Montgomery in 1961. (LIFE Images Collection)Writer Calvin Trillin, center, interviewing John Lewis in Birmingham, Ala., as the Freedom Riders were boarding the bus for Montgomery in 1961. (LIFE Images Collection)

(JTA) — Writer Calvin Trillin may be most famous today for his humorous musings on food, family, travel and love. But before he won the Thurber Prize for Humor in 2013; before “Uncivil Liberties,” his humor column for The Nation — he has lovingly called it “a pinko magazine published… Read more »

In New York race, a gay religious Jewish upstart challenges a 12-term incumbent

Rep. Jerry Nadler speaking at a town hall in New York City, Oct. 14, 2015. (Mike Coppola/WireImage for NARAS)Rep. Jerry Nadler speaking at a town hall in New York City, Oct. 14, 2015. (Mike Coppola/WireImage for NARAS)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Rep. Jerry Nadler, a graduate of the Crown Heights Yeshiva who represents one of the country’s most Jewish congressional districts and is the co-founder of the congressional Israel Working Group, likely never expected to be called anti-Israel. But the 12-term incumbent’s Democratic primary challenger, Oliver… Read more »

Jewish groups putting up a fight against growing opioid epidemic

Eve Goldberg, whose son died of an opioid overdose in 2013, now runs an organization in his memory that seeks to create a community of young adults recovering from addiction. (Ben Sales)Eve Goldberg, whose son died of an opioid overdose in 2013, now runs an organization in his memory that seeks to create a community of young adults recovering from addiction. (Ben Sales)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Eve Goldberg’s son, Isaac, was in a panic. He had to get out of college. Isaac Goldberg Volkmar had been at the University of Rhode Island for less than a semester in 2009 when he called his mother desperate to escape. He had joined a… Read more »

Praised and reviled, Cuomo’s anti-BDS order seen as game changer by both sides

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signing an executive order directing the divestment of public funds supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel, at the Harvard Club in New York City, June 5, 2016. (Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signing an executive order directing the divestment of public funds supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel, at the Harvard Club in New York City, June 5, 2016. (Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

NEW YORK (JTA) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order opposing BDS shouldn’t have made a splash — but it did. A handful of states had already passed similar measures opposing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. So had the New York State Senate — though… Read more »

Meet the Orthodox ‘American Ninja Warrior’ training to be a rabbi

Akiva Neuman, an Orthodox Jew who is studying to be a rabbi, competes in the Philadelphia qualifying round of “American Ninja Warrior.” (Mitchell Leff/NBC)Akiva Neuman, an Orthodox Jew who is studying to be a rabbi, competes in the Philadelphia qualifying round of “American Ninja Warrior.” (Mitchell Leff/NBC)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Like his fellow competitors on “American Ninja Warrior,” 25-year-old Akiva Neuman pushed himself to his physical limits — climbing, jumping and running through an intense obstacle course — in the hopes of making it to the national finals in Las Vegas. But unlike the dozens… Read more »

$20 million gift to help revitalize US Holocaust museum

A view of the interior of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., in 2010. (Wikimedia Commons)A view of the interior of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., in 2010. (Wikimedia Commons)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — An exhibit over 20 years old against an iPhone: Docents at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum are increasingly noting the battle with hand-held devices to keep the interest of young people. Now a $20 million gift to help revitalize the Washington, D.C., museum will aim to… Read more »

New head of Anne Frank Center wants a rights agenda as aggressive as he is

Steven Goldstein, shown in 2014 with Loretta Weinberg, the majority leader of the New Jersey state Senate, is the new executive director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect. (Facebook)Steven Goldstein, shown in 2014 with Loretta Weinberg, the majority leader of the New Jersey state Senate, is the new executive director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect. (Facebook)

NEW YORK (JTA) — When the 2015 movie “Freeheld” came out, featuring Steve Carell as the real-life LGBT rights activist Steven Goldstein, Goldstein sang its praises to publication after publication. How did he really feel? “It was painful to watch,” he told JTA last week. “I detested the movie… Read more »

Slamming Muslim ban, Jewish Republicans still split on Trump

Donald Trump addressing the Republican Jewish Coalition in Washington, D.C., Dec. 3, 2015. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)Donald Trump addressing the Republican Jewish Coalition in Washington, D.C., Dec. 3, 2015. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Jewish Republicans are criticizing Donald Trump for his renewed call to ban Muslim immigration, although few of his Jewish supporters seem to be reconsidering their endorsement of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. But at least one, celebrity Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, rescinded his apparent backing of Trump… Read more »