National

As president, Trump less gung-ho about dramatic changes in Israel policy

President Donald Trump speaking at a luncheon at the Congress of Tomorrow Republican Member Retreat in Philadelphia, Jan. 26, 2017. In the background are Senate Majority Whip John Cronyn, left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)President Donald Trump speaking at a luncheon at the Congress of Tomorrow Republican Member Retreat in Philadelphia, Jan. 26, 2017. In the background are Senate Majority Whip John Cronyn, left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

  WASHINGTON (JTA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump have been talking each other up plenty since the latter’s election upset in November. But those expecting Trump to turn his kind words and pledges on Israel into fast action may have to be patient. The… Read more »

For Jewish groups in Women’s March, many causes to fight for and a long road ahead

From left to right: Nancy Kaufman, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women; Rabbi Tamara Cohen, chief of innovation at Moving Traditions, and Debbie Hoffmann, NCJW's board president, at the National Mall for the Women's March on Washington, Jan. 21, 2017. (Ron Sachs)From left to right: Nancy Kaufman, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women; Rabbi Tamara Cohen, chief of innovation at Moving Traditions, and Debbie Hoffmann, NCJW's board president, at the National Mall for the Women's March on Washington, Jan. 21, 2017. (Ron Sachs)

(JTA) — One Jewish group that joined the Women’s March on Washington has seen its online donations double since the election of Donald Trump as president. Another has twice as many guests as usual attending its annual conference. A third has seen its social media engagement skyrocket. And after… Read more »

ANALYSIS Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and the halacha police

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner leave the presidential inauguration at the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 20, 2017. (Saul Loeb/Pool/Getty Images)Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner leave the presidential inauguration at the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 20, 2017. (Saul Loeb/Pool/Getty Images)

(JTA) — President-elect Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, attended the Inauguration Day service Friday at St. John’s Episcopal Church, a tradition that goes back to 1933. The live video showed the Trumps shaking hands with the pastor and entering the church, followed immediately by his daughter Ivanka and her… Read more »

ANALYSIS Obama was, for better or worse, the face of liberal Zionism

President Barack Obama delivers a speech at the Jerusalem Convention Center, March 21, 2013. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)President Barack Obama delivers a speech at the Jerusalem Convention Center, March 21, 2013. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

    (JTA) — During his campaign for president in 2008, I wrote a column suggesting that Barack Obama was struggling to connect with Jews because they weren’t sure that he supported Israel’s cause in his gut — that is, in his kishkes. I may have been the first… Read more »

Facing inauguration and women’s march, DC synagogues split on entering the fray

Sixth and I, a nondenominational synagogue, has planned a Shabbat of programming around the Women's March on Washington, including meals, lectures, meditation and yoga. (Courtesy of Sixth and I)Sixth and I, a nondenominational synagogue, has planned a Shabbat of programming around the Women's March on Washington, including meals, lectures, meditation and yoga. (Courtesy of Sixth and I)

  (JTA) — On Friday, the United States will inaugurate a new president and usher in an era of new policies and rhetoric. But at the Sixth and I synagogue in Washington, D.C., eyes are on the day after, when some 200,000 marchers will gather to reassert support for… Read more »

Obama won the Jewish vote without winning over the pro-Israel mainstream

Adas Israel Congregation's Rabbi Gil Steinlauf greets President Obama, May 22, 2015. (Ron Sachs)Adas Israel Congregation's Rabbi Gil Steinlauf greets President Obama, May 22, 2015. (Ron Sachs)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Fraught record on issues of race and anti-Semitism? Check. Much-hyped meeting to get Benjamin Netanyahu’s hechsher? Check. Stirring speech at AIPAC to quiet the naysayers? Check. Jewish validators galore? Check. Administration top-loaded with Jewish staffers? Check. Welcome to Inauguration Day 2009. President-elect Barack Obama walked into… Read more »

Marvin Hier says he’s ‘proud’ to be Trump’s inauguration rabbi

Rabbi Marvin Hier speaking at the Simon Wiesenthal Center's 2015 National Tribute Dinner in Beverly Hills, Calif., March 24, 2015. (Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)Rabbi Marvin Hier speaking at the Simon Wiesenthal Center's 2015 National Tribute Dinner in Beverly Hills, Calif., March 24, 2015. (Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — Rabbi Marvin Hier has known Charles and Seryl Kushner — Jared Kushner’s parents and Donald Trump’s in-laws — for decades. The Hiers and the Kushners have gone to the same kosher for Passover resort, the Arizona Biltmore, over the years. The Kushner family, prominent real estate… Read more »

Barack Obama’s two farewells: Urging Americans and Israelis to defend their values

President Barack Obama delivering his farewell speech in Chicago, Jan. 10, 2017. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)President Barack Obama delivering his farewell speech in Chicago, Jan. 10, 2017. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Barack Obama got his kishkes back. The president, whose alleged aloofness was the signature flaw cited by his rivals, his critics and at times his friends, ended his presidency with an impassioned appeal for the preservation of democracy — his lower lip trembling, a tear streaking his… Read more »

Obamacare repeal effort sends jitters through Jewish service groups

Protestors rally in support of the Affordable Care Act in Philadelphia, Dec. 20, 2016.  (Lisa Lake/Getty Images for Moveon.org)Protestors rally in support of the Affordable Care Act in Philadelphia, Dec. 20, 2016. (Lisa Lake/Getty Images for Moveon.org)

  NEW YORK (JTA) — Before the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, Jewish Family Service of Metro Detroit organized local doctors to provide free care to Jews who lacked health insurance. The Detroit agency closed the doctors’ program after enactment of the health care law, also known… Read more »

After bomb threats, FBI to coordinate with JCCs in ‘new reality’

A complex in Wilmington, Del., housing four Jewish organizations was evacuated after receiving a bomb threat. (Courtesy of Siegel JCC in Wilmington)A complex in Wilmington, Del., housing four Jewish organizations was evacuated after receiving a bomb threat. (Courtesy of Siegel JCC in Wilmington)

  NEW YORK (JTA) — The FBI and Department of Homeland Security will be assisting local Jewish community centers in bolstering security after 16 JCCs received bomb threats on the same day. On Wednesday, officials from the FBI and Homeland Security will conduct a conference call with U.S. Jewish… Read more »

Jared Kushner to be named Trump White House senior adviser

Jared Kushner at the premiere of "A Film Unfinished"at MOMA-Celeste Bartos Theater in New York City, Aug. 11, 2010. (Jason Kempin/Getty Images)Jared Kushner at the premiere of "A Film Unfinished"at MOMA-Celeste Bartos Theater in New York City, Aug. 11, 2010. (Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Jared Kushner, the Orthodox Jewish son-in-law of President-elect Donald Trump, will be named senior adviser to the president, Trump transition officials reportedly have confirmed. The official announcement is expected as early as Tuesday, The New York Times and several other major news outlets reported Monday. Citing people close… Read more »

In Congress, a new battle emerges: two states or not two states

Rep. Ed Royce participates in a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Nov. 4, 2015. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)Rep. Ed Royce participates in a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Nov. 4, 2015. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – There’s a striking difference between competing bids in Congress addressing last month’s U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements. It’s not that they differ on the United Nations – the two nonbinding congressional resolutions under consideration condemn the Security Council, as well as the outgoing Obama… Read more »

BLOG 7 questions about the UN resolution

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, arrivies at his weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Dec. 25, 2016. (Dan Balilty/AFP/Getty Images)Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, arrivies at his weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Dec. 25, 2016. (Dan Balilty/AFP/Getty Images)

  NEW YORK (JTA) — Emotions are running high following the Obama administration’s decision to allow the U.N. Security Council to pass a resolution condemning Israeli settlements. Here are seven questions aimed at making sense of what went down and what it could mean moving forward. 1. Did Obama… Read more »

With U.S. abstention, Israel again forced to face reality of world’s rejection of settlements

Samantha Power, center, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, at the Security Council meeting in New York, Dec. 23, 2016. (Volkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)Samantha Power, center, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, at the Security Council meeting in New York, Dec. 23, 2016. (Volkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Ahead of the unknowns a Trump administration will bring to American Middle East policy, the Obama administration allowed a bracing reminderon Friday that the international community does not recognize the validity of Israel’s presence in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank. The U.S. abstention on the U.N. Security Council… Read more »

After Obama, what Netanyahu and his rivals expect from a ‘new era’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, second from right, chairs the weekly Israeli Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Dec. 25, 2016. (Dan Balilty/AFP/Getty Images)Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, second from right, chairs the weekly Israeli Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Dec. 25, 2016. (Dan Balilty/AFP/Getty Images)

  JERUSALEM (JTA) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expects a “new era” when U.S. President-elect Donald Trump takes office next month. He said as much at a Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony Saturday, where he addressed the United Nations Security Council resolution passed a day earlier against Israeli settlements in the… Read more »

Trump’s Israel envoy pick shakes up American Jewish status quo

Donald Trump, center, along with his attorney David Friedman, left, exit the Federal Building following their appearance in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Camden, New Jersey, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010. (Bradley C Bower/Bloomberg News via Getty Images)Donald Trump, center, along with his attorney David Friedman, left, exit the Federal Building following their appearance in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Camden, New Jersey, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010. (Bradley C Bower/Bloomberg News via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) -– Nearly six years ago, when President Barack Obama was set to elevate one of his top emissaries to the Jewish community to the Israel ambassadorship, Dan Shapiro asked for – and got – the endorsement of one of Obama’s fiercest pro-Israel critics. “Dan has always spoken… Read more »

In the Trump era, imams and rabbis struggle to come up with a strategy to counter anti-Muslim hostility

Abdul Rashid Abdullah of the National American Muslim Association on Scouting speak at a Muslim-Jewish gathering in Washington, D.C., while Rabbi David Shneyer of Kehila Chadasha looks on, Dec. 11, 2016. (Ron Kampeas)Abdul Rashid Abdullah of the National American Muslim Association on Scouting speak at a Muslim-Jewish gathering in Washington, D.C., while Rabbi David Shneyer of Kehila Chadasha looks on, Dec. 11, 2016. (Ron Kampeas)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – A year ago, when several dozen Washington-area Jewish and Muslim religious and lay leaders jostled for spots in a group picture, the mood was convivial. The most novel item on the agenda for that November 2015 confab was bringing in non-Middle Eastern Muslims into the Jewish-Muslim… Read more »

Protesting Trump and Jewish organizations, IfNotNow brings young left-wing Jews to the streets

IfNotNow activists march to demand that President-elect Donald Trump fire Stephen Bannon, Philadelphia, Nov. 22, 2016. (Courtesy of IfNotNow)IfNotNow activists march to demand that President-elect Donald Trump fire Stephen Bannon, Philadelphia, Nov. 22, 2016. (Courtesy of IfNotNow)

NEW YORK (JTA) — “This Jew says no to white nationalism,” one sign read. “Silence is akin to consent,” another said, quoting the Talmud. A third displayed a lyric from a Yiddish song: “We will outlive them.” The signs, along with chants like “Donald Trump, it’s your fault; Stephen… Read more »

What Rex Tillerson, Trump’s pick as secretary of state, could mean for the Jewish agenda

Rex Tillerson speaks at the World Gas Conference in Paris, June 2, 2015. (Christophe Morin/Bloomberg via Getty Images)Rex Tillerson speaks at the World Gas Conference in Paris, June 2, 2015. (Christophe Morin/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

  WASHINGTON (JTA) — President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, is the chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil, an energy company large enough to have its own foreign policy. It is a policy, however, that doesn’t always align with the priorities of Jewish and pro-Israel groups. Oil… Read more »