World

In France’s elections, dramatic upsets turn surprise front-runner into top choice for many Jews

French independent presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron speaking to the media in Berlin, Jan. 10, 2017. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)French independent presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron speaking to the media in Berlin, Jan. 10, 2017. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

(JTA) — With old favorites knocked out of France’s presidential race and the far-right National Front party making worrisome gains, many Jews are joining fellow voters in supporting Emmanuel Macron, the 39-year-old independent politician and surprising front-runner. A banker who is 18 years younger than the average age of… 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 »

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 »

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 »

Britain again breaks rank with Europe — this time over Israel

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, speaks with European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini during the Middle East peace conference in Paris, Jan. 15, 2017. (Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images)U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, speaks with European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini during the Middle East peace conference in Paris, Jan. 15, 2017. (Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images)

  (JTA) — Two days after delegates from more than 70 nations attended the Paris summit on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is clear that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was wrong to label the meeting “useless.” Admittedly the France-initiated event, which neither Israel nor the Palestinian Authority attended, did… Read more »

The Auschwitz museum has a Twitter account, and this ex-journalist runs it

Pawel Sawicki guiding journalists through the so-called central sauna of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Dec. 1, 2016. (Cnaan Liphshiz)Pawel Sawicki guiding journalists through the so-called central sauna of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Dec. 1, 2016. (Cnaan Liphshiz)

  OSWIECIM, Poland (JTA) — Long before he moved here to become the spokesman for the Auschwitz museum and lead its social media effort, Pawel Sawicki’s life was intricately connected to this sleepy town near Krakow. A Warsaw-area radio journalist, Sawicki used to visit Oswiecim as a boy on… Read more »

Is Europe’s jihadist problem generating empathy toward Israel?

A view of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin with the image of an Israeli flag, Jan. 9, 2017. (Odd Anderson/AFP/Getty Images)A view of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin with the image of an Israeli flag, Jan. 9, 2017. (Odd Anderson/AFP/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Is terrorism softening European attitudes toward Israel? When a Palestinian terrorist used a car to ram and kill an Israeli soldier in eastern Jerusalem in 2014, the European Union urged “restraint” and, without condemning the attack, called it merely “further painful evidence of the need to undertake… Read more »

Do Germans wish each other ‘Shanah Tovah’ on New Year’s Eve?

Fireworks explodE over the Rhine River during a New Year's party in Cologne, Germany, Jan. 1, 2014. (Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images)Fireworks explodE over the Rhine River during a New Year's party in Cologne, Germany, Jan. 1, 2014. (Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images)

(JTA) — While the rest of the world is busy exchanging Happy New Year wishes, Germans are greeting each other with a peculiar expression: “guten Rutsch,” which means “good slip.” Some believe the greeting, which is especially unusual in a formal society such as Germany’s, is a lighthearted reference… Read more »

U.N. passes anti-settlement resolution, U.S. abstains

UN passes anti-settlement resolution, US abstains (JTA) — The U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution condemning Israeli settlements, with the United States abstaining. The resolution was adopted Friday afternoon with 14 votes in favor and only the U.S. abstention. It called Israeli settlements “a flagrant violation of international law”… Read more »

Berlin attack highlights divide over refugees in fractious German Jewish community

Mourners lay flowers and candles at a makeshift memorial in Berlin near the site where two days earlier, a man drove a heavy truck into a Christmas market in an apparent terrorist attack, Dec. 21, 2016. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)Mourners lay flowers and candles at a makeshift memorial in Berlin near the site where two days earlier, a man drove a heavy truck into a Christmas market in an apparent terrorist attack, Dec. 21, 2016. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

  BERLIN (JTA) — Even before the deadly attack on a Christmas market in Berlin, Jews in Germany were divided in their approach to the arrival of hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Muslim countries since 2014. Citing a Jewish moral duty to aid the displaced, many Jewish organizations, synagogue groups… Read more »

Europe’s Jews prepare public Hanukkah events to ‘drive out darkness’

A menorah in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Dec. 16, 2014. (Carsten Koall/Getty Images)A menorah in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Dec. 16, 2014. (Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

  AMSTERDAM (JTA) — Before Monday’s attack on a Christmas market in Berlin, Rabbi Yehudah Teichtal had planned to invite hundreds of people to the traditional lighting of the first Hanukkah candle at a large menorah erected at the city’s Brandenburg Gate monument. But he decided to change his original… Read more »

A Syrian Jew’s message to Aleppo: Keep tradition and don’t lose hope

Syrians fleeing violence in Aleppo arrive in the city's Fardos neighborhood after government troops retook the area from rebel fighters, Dec. 13, 2016. (Stringer/AFP/Getty Images)Syrians fleeing violence in Aleppo arrive in the city's Fardos neighborhood after government troops retook the area from rebel fighters, Dec. 13, 2016. (Stringer/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Although Poopa Dweck has never been to Aleppo, her New Jersey home evokes the smells of a kitchen in the now-ravaged Syrian city. Dweck was born after her parents left the once-bustling metropolis in 1947, but she still calls it her “homeland.” She has dedicated herself… Read more »

How Hanukkah sufganiyot became a national treat in the Netherlands

A stall selling oliebollen in Delft, the Netherlands, in 2015. (Gerard Stolk/Flickr)A stall selling oliebollen in Delft, the Netherlands, in 2015. (Gerard Stolk/Flickr)

AMSTERDAM (JTA) — Though they are considered a caloric hazard in Israel, sufganiyot are a rare Hanukkah treat for many Jews in Europe. When the holiday arrives, some Jewish communities in Russia, Ukraine and beyond arrange special community bakes. This keeps schools and kindergartens in supply of the jam-filled… Read more »

In Manuel Valls, French Jews get a presidential candidate they can trust

Manuel Valls, center, hosts a delegation of the Conference of European Rabbis at his office in May 2015. (Eli Itkin/Conference of European Rabbis)Manuel Valls, center, hosts a delegation of the Conference of European Rabbis at his office in May 2015. (Eli Itkin/Conference of European Rabbis)

PARIS (JTA)  — Although his country is entering one of the most dramatic election campaigns in recent memory, Isy Morgensztern had no intention of exercising his right to vote. A left-wing Ashkenazi Jewish filmmaker from Paris, Morgensztern was too disappointed with the ruling Socialists under French President Francois Hollande… Read more »

Why Jews in France might give right-wing populist Francois Fillon a chance

Francois Fillon, in a 2008 photo, is the front-runner to become French president in next year's elections. (Wikimedia Commons)Francois Fillon, in a 2008 photo, is the front-runner to become French president in next year's elections. (Wikimedia Commons)

(JTA) — If the French right-wing politician Francois Fillon is elected president next year, it won’t be for his skills at promoting interfaith dialogue. The secularist candidate widely favored to win the election in May managed to enrage many Jews, Muslims and even Catholics with a single explosive statement… Read more »

JTA: Is Europe’s far right experiencing a ‘Trump effect’?

French National Front leader Marine Le Pen thinks Donald Trump’s victory heralds the upset she is seeking in her own campaign. (Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images)French National Front leader Marine Le Pen thinks Donald Trump’s victory heralds the upset she is seeking in her own campaign. (Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images)

(JTA) — European far-right politicians were quick to hold up Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election as a harbinger of their own impending triumphs. Marine Le Pen, head of France’s far-right party, said that what Europeans call “the Trump effect” — that is, right-wing nationalism fueled by anger toward… Read more »

One Ruth Gruber says goodbye to another

The pioneering photojournalist Ruth Gruber, left, and the longtime JTA European correspondent Ruth Ellen Gruber met at a book launch party in 1992. (Courtesy of Ruth Ellen Gruber)The pioneering photojournalist Ruth Gruber, left, and the longtime JTA European correspondent Ruth Ellen Gruber met at a book launch party in 1992. (Courtesy of Ruth Ellen Gruber)

  (JTA) – When you share a name with someone you respect and admire, you always try to live up to the connection, because sometimes outsiders aren’t aware of the difference. That’s how it was for decades with me and Ruth Gruber, the noted photojournalist, reporter and author who… Read more »

In post-coup Turkey, Jews plan their future abroad

Turkish Jewish businesswoman Betty, left, and her friend Suzette at a cafe in Istanbul, Nov. 4, 2016. They asked that their last names not be used for security reasons. (Cnaan Liphshiz)Turkish Jewish businesswoman Betty, left, and her friend Suzette at a cafe in Istanbul, Nov. 4, 2016. They asked that their last names not be used for security reasons. (Cnaan Liphshiz)

ISTANBUL (JTA) — At a chic café overlooking the Bosphorus, two Turkish Jewish women are discussing their plans to emigrate when the call to Friday prayers blasts from the loudspeakers of a nearby mosque. Unable to talk over the deafening singing that fills the café in the Bebek neighborhood… Read more »