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Conservative movement proposes allowing non-Jews as synagogue members

Rabbi Steven Wernick, CEO of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, said the current standards don't make sense in today's world of intermarried couples actively participating in synagogue life. (Mike Diamond Photography)Rabbi Steven Wernick, CEO of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, said the current standards don't make sense in today's world of intermarried couples actively participating in synagogue life. (Mike Diamond Photography)

  (JTA) — Responding to a rising number of interfaith families, Conservative synagogues will be voting on a measure from their umbrella body that would allow congregations to admit non-Jews as members. Currently, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s Standards for Congregational Practice restrict synagogue membership to Jews. But the new language, which congregations… Read more »

OP-ED One year and counting: Western Wall prayer fight must go on

Anat Hoffman being arrested after saying the Shema prayer at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Oct. 16, 2012. (Women of the Wall)Anat Hoffman being arrested after saying the Shema prayer at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Oct. 16, 2012. (Women of the Wall)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — One year ago, we thought we had made history. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government passed the Western Wall agreement, for the first time granting official recognition to non-Orthodox Jewish streams and women’s rights at Judaism’s holiest site. We were proud of achieving a historic compromise because… Read more »

After Trump ban, Chicago-area synagogue turns from welcoming refugees to protesting

Taylor Clearfield holding a sign, and her daughter, at a protest of the refugee ban at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Jan. 27, 2017. (Courtesy of Clearfield)Taylor Clearfield holding a sign, and her daughter, at a protest of the refugee ban at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Jan. 27, 2017. (Courtesy of Clearfield)

  CHICAGO (JTA) — Taylor Clearfield went to the airport Friday to welcome a Syrian refugee family. The next day, she returned with a sign to protest the ban on refugees entering the United States. President Donald Trump had enacted the prohibition via executive order on Fridayafternoon, between Clearfield’s two… Read more »

Dutch Jewish wedding film from 1939 shines light on doomed community

The Boas-Pais family, who perished in the Holocaust, in front of their home in the Frisian city of Harlingen, the Netherlands, before World War II. (Courtesy of the Annehuis ter Harlingen)The Boas-Pais family, who perished in the Holocaust, in front of their home in the Frisian city of Harlingen, the Netherlands, before World War II. (Courtesy of the Annehuis ter Harlingen)

AMSTERDAM (JTA) — The Jews of Friesland, a region in the northern Netherlands, are not known for stories with happy endings. During the Holocaust, Friesland’s vibrant Jewish community was forever obliterated, including its endemic customs and distinct Yiddish dialect. It is one of the starkest examples of how the Holocaust… Read more »

ANALYSIS Why Trump’s universalizing of the Holocaust matters to the Jews

A Holocaust survivor shows her number tattoo. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)A Holocaust survivor shows her number tattoo. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

  (JTA) — Where’s Jared Kushner? Supporters of President Donald Trump have often defended his election campaign against charges of anti-Semitism by noting he has an Orthodox Jewish daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. Jews on the right are excited about Kushner’s role as a special adviser to the president, assuming… Read more »

Refugee ban puts Jewish asylum seekers in limbo

Demonstrators at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York protest
 President Donald Trump’s executive order banning immigrants from certain countries, Jan. 28, 2017. (Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images)Demonstrators at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York protest President Donald Trump’s executive order banning immigrants from certain countries, Jan. 28, 2017. (Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images)

  (JTA) — A year after they submitted their application for asylum in the United States, Shahi and his mother expected to be let in. As Iranian Jews who applied for asylum through a federally recognized agency for refugee status, their case was expected to be simple. Shahi (not… Read more »

With history in mind, Jews across U.S. join airport protests of Trump refugee ban

Tal and Miri Zlotnitsky, with their son, Jacob, left, hold up a poster welcoming Muslim arrivals at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, Jan. 28, 2017. (Ron Kampeas)Tal and Miri Zlotnitsky, with their son, Jacob, left, hold up a poster welcoming Muslim arrivals at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, Jan. 28, 2017. (Ron Kampeas)

DULLES, Va. (JTA) – The Israeli-born high-tech millionaire gathered his family after turning on CNN. The rabbi who leads an interfaith group got a text from a Muslim friend. The corporate lawyer was tracking a pro-bono email list she’s on. Within a few hours, all of them had descended on Dulles Airport,… Read more »

Several Jewish families affected by Trump’s refugee ban, says HIAS

People protest President Donald Trump’s executive order in immigration at Los Angeles International Airport, Jan. 28, 2017.(Daniela Gerson)People protest President Donald Trump’s executive order in immigration at Los Angeles International Airport, Jan. 28, 2017.(Daniela Gerson)

(JTA) — The U.S. ban on refugees and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries has affected several Jewish families, according to the refugee support and advocacy group HIAS. The ban, which came Friday in an executive order signed by President Donald Trump, has plunged into further uncertainty the lives of a Jewish… Read more »

At dawn of the Trump era, two Jewish tribes descend on Washington

Marchers with the National Council of Jewish Women and other Jewish organizations assembled on the National Mall for the Women’s March on Washington, Jan. 21, 2017. (Ron Sachs)
Photo credit: Ron SachsMarchers with the National Council of Jewish Women and other Jewish organizations assembled on the National Mall for the Women’s March on Washington, Jan. 21, 2017. (Ron Sachs) Photo credit: Ron Sachs

WASHINGTON (JTA) – “Cantor Kaufman!” Rabbi Jonah Pesner shouted across the intersection of 3rd and D in Washington’s Northwest quadrant, packed sidewalk to sidewalk with women in pink pussycat hats and their male friends. “A song!” Jason Kaufman, the cantor at Beth El in Alexandria, Virginia, draped in a… Read more »

Tehran Holocaust refugees generating new interest amid global migrant crisis

Hadassah founder Henrietta Szold meeting with Tehran Children in Israel, February 1943. (Jewish Agency for Israel)Hadassah founder Henrietta Szold meeting with Tehran Children in Israel, February 1943. (Jewish Agency for Israel)

  SAMARKAND, Uzbekistan (JTA) — After starving for months in Siberia, 5-year-old Natan Rom thought he was in paradise when he arrived in this colorful trading hub in Central Asia. It was 1940, and Rom, along with his parents and older sister Ziva, was one of countless Jewish refugees… Read more »

Meet the Jews in Donald Trump’s administration

Jared Kushner exits Trump Tower in New York City, Dec. 7, 2016. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)Jared Kushner exits Trump Tower in New York City, Dec. 7, 2016. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

(JTA) — American Jews are watching the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidency with both fear and hope. Many have expressed worries about some of his supporters’ ties to the so-called “alt-right” movement, whose followers traffic variously in white nationalism, anti-immigration sentiment, anti-Semitism and a disdain for “political correctness.” Those fears… Read more »

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 »

At Auschwitz, a Jewish journalist confronts his anti-Polish bias

Journalists visit a renovated barrack at Auschwitz, Dec. 1, 2016. (Cnaan Liphshiz)Journalists visit a renovated barrack at Auschwitz, Dec. 1, 2016. (Cnaan Liphshiz)

  OSWIECIM, Poland (JTA) — I did a shameful thing on my first visit 20 years ago to the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. In a guestbook outside an Auschwitz museum exhibit featuring information on 70,000 Polish non-Jews who were murdered here, I downplayed the significance of their deaths… 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 »

JFSA ‘Purse and Paint Party’ will benefit homeless women

The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona Women’s Philanthropy social action committee will hold a Purse and Paint Party to benefit Sister Jose Women’s Center next month. The party will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m. at Tucson Hebrew Academy. Women are asked to donate new or… Read more »

CJE accepting scholarship applications for Jewish camps

The Coalition for Jewish Education of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona is accepting applications for scholarships to Jewish overnight camps for the summer of 2017. The need-based camp scholarship is funded by the Mo and Frances Beren Family Scholarship Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona.… Read more »

True Concord to bring ‘Elijah’ to Desert Song Festival

True Concord performs at Lincoln Center in 2015. (Courtesy True Concord Voices & Orchestra)True Concord performs at Lincoln Center in 2015. (Courtesy True Concord Voices & Orchestra)

True Concord Voices & Orchestra will perform Felix Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” at the 5th annual Tucson Desert Song Festival later this month. Mendelssohn’s oratorio retells events from the life of Prophet Elijah in the Books of Kings.  “‘Elijah’ is, like its composer, complex,” says True Concord Musical Director Eric Holtan.… Read more »