Religion & Jewish Life

Israel’s World Baseball Classic team expects to feel at home playing in Brooklyn

For Josh Zeid, a pitcher for Israel’s World Baseball Classic team (shown here when he played for the Houston Astros), “there’s a little bit of excitement to get back and try to win it this time.” (Hillel Kuttler)For Josh Zeid, a pitcher for Israel’s World Baseball Classic team (shown here when he played for the Houston Astros), “there’s a little bit of excitement to get back and try to win it this time.” (Hillel Kuttler)

(JTA) – What is likely the strongest squad of Jewish players ever assembled figures to have a home-field advantage, too, as Team Israel aims to reach the next round of the World Baseball Classic. The club’s roster for the qualifying tournament includes nine major league veterans of recent seasons,… Read more »

Minnesota Vikings’ owner thinks big with new stadium and Holocaust philanthropy

Mark Wilf, a co-owner of the Minnesota Vikings, at the team's gigantic Nordic horn in its new $1.1 billion stadium. (Hillel Kuttler)Mark Wilf, a co-owner of the Minnesota Vikings, at the team's gigantic Nordic horn in its new $1.1 billion stadium. (Hillel Kuttler)

MINNEAPOLIS (JTA) – Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer stepped up to an 800-pound gjallarhorn and exhaled with all he had to launch the festivities  that officially inaugurated the team’s $1.1 billion stadium. Music lovers would have found the deep, uneven sound revolting, but the Nordic instrument is plenty… Read more »

Arugula Sweet Potato Salad Recipe

Baby Arugula and Sweet Potato Salad-DSC00282 Brightness down CMYK

(The Nosher via JTA) — This is a perfect salad to eat for lunch on a weekday or as a first course for a brunch or even during a holiday like Rosh Hashanah. It’s especially nice when served plated individually and topped with the sweet potatoes and cashews. Note:… Read more »

From matzo balls to footballs, two Jewish brothers recall their journey to the NFL

Geoff, left, and Mitch Schwartz are the first pair of Jewish brothers to play in the NFL since 1923.(Olivia Goodkin and Lee Schwartz)Geoff, left, and Mitch Schwartz are the first pair of Jewish brothers to play in the NFL since 1923.(Olivia Goodkin and Lee Schwartz)

  KANSAS CITY, Mo. (JTA) – At 6-foot-6 and 340 pounds, veteran NFL offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz isn’t just a force of nature, but a product of good ol’ Jewish nurture. “My size comes from a childhood that included an excess of matzo ball soup, latkes, and tons of… Read more »

Why I’m Not Converting to Judaism, Even Though My Kids Did

(iStock)(iStock)

(Kveller via JTA) — I’m an outsider in my own home. As of two weeks ago, when we converted our two young children in the mikvah, I officially became the only non­-Jewish member of our household. This was only official in paperwork, not in practice. I have been living… Read more »

3 baseball books from some veteran Jewish observers of the game

Baseball writer Dan Schlossberg, left, with the former Atlanta Brave and Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz. (Courtesy of Dan Schlossberg)Baseball writer Dan Schlossberg, left, with the former Atlanta Brave and Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz. (Courtesy of Dan Schlossberg)

(JTA) – For many, summer is all about the three B’s: baseball, beaches and books. With the weather and pennant races sizzling, two journalists and the mayor of baseball’s mythical home village of Cooperstown, New York — all Jewish — have provided their takes about a sport that has… Read more »

Once a prop for anti-Semites, the Talmud makes a comeback in Russia

The cover of a new Russian translation of the Talmud (Courtesy of Knizhniki publishing house)The cover of a new Russian translation of the Talmud (Courtesy of Knizhniki publishing house)

(JTA) — A century ago, passages from the Talmud were translated into Russian to be used as evidence in the anti-Semitic show trial of Menahem Mendel Beilis, a Jew charged with — and eventually acquitted of – murdering a Christian boy. The prosecution in that 1915 trial, which was decried… Read more »

For ‘Jewish Valentine’s Day,’ meet 5 couples who found love on Israel trips

Blake Yospa and Rachel Leeds in Annapolis, Md. (Courtesy of Blake Yospa and Rachel Leeds)Blake Yospa and Rachel Leeds in Annapolis, Md. (Courtesy of Blake Yospa and Rachel Leeds)

  (JTA) — In the two-part finale of the third season of “Broad City,” the show’s main characters, Abbi and Ilana, embark on a “Birthmark” trip — a thinly veiled allusion to the famed Birthright Israel trip that sends Jews aged 18 to 26 on free 10-day trips to… Read more »

At 80, a Munich Olympics and Holocaust survivor is still the sportsman

Shaul Ladany in his suburban Beersheba home with a prized piece of his Theodor Herzl collection, left. (Hillel Kuttler)Shaul Ladany in his suburban Beersheba home with a prized piece of his Theodor Herzl collection, left. (Hillel Kuttler)

  OMER, Israel (JTA) – Shaul Ladany, a two-time Olympian, acknowledged that he was “very happy” that the International Olympic Committee finally held an official memorial for the 11 Israelis who were killed in a terrorist raid at the 1972 Munich games. But Ladany, an Israeli racewalker who still… Read more »

Aly Raisman wins silver medal in Olympic gymnastics all-around

Aly Raisman competing in the floor exercise at the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, Oct. 24, 2015. (Alex Livesey/Getty Images)Aly Raisman competing in the floor exercise at the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, Oct. 24, 2015. (Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Aly Raisman won the Olympic silver medal in the women’s gymnastics all-around in Rio de Janeiro. The Jewish competitor from Needham, Massachusetts, finished second behind her American teammate Simon Biles on Thursday. Raisman, 22, is the U.S. squad’s captain and was a key part of its gold medal… Read more »

Despite silver medal at JCC Maccabi Games, Tucson boys put emphasis on fun

Tucson Jewish Community Center Maccabi Games participants and friends (in white and turquoise T-shirts) play with special needs campers in Columbus, Ohio. Back row (L-R): Oren Riback (delegation head), Max Silverman, Zach Giles, Dimitri Rally (Palo Alto), Zamy (Jake) Zwinger, Jake Blumenthal, Adam Rudy (Louisville). Front: Avin Kreisler, Matthew Gurovich (Palo Alto) and Henry Abrams. Dakota Kordsiemon (basketball coach) is kneeling on the right. (Courtesy Oren Riback)Tucson Jewish Community Center Maccabi Games participants and friends (in white and turquoise T-shirts) play with special needs campers in Columbus, Ohio. Back row (L-R): Oren Riback (delegation head), Max Silverman, Zach Giles, Dimitri Rally (Palo Alto), Zamy (Jake) Zwinger, Jake Blumenthal, Adam Rudy (Louisville). Front: Avin Kreisler, Matthew Gurovich (Palo Alto) and Henry Abrams. Dakota Kordsiemon (basketball coach) is kneeling on the right. (Courtesy Oren Riback)

Thirteen teen athletes represented the Tucson Jewish Community Center at the JCC Maccabi Games in Columbus, Ohio, July 24-29. It was Tucson’s return to the games after a three-year absence due to scheduling conflicts with local schools’ early start dates. Despite the lag, the Tucson boys’ basketball team members… Read more »

Marking Tisha b’Av during a long, hot summer

A Dallas police officer wipes his face at the funeral for slain Dallas police officer Michael Smith at The Watermark Church in Dallas, Texas, July 14, 2016. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)A Dallas police officer wipes his face at the funeral for slain Dallas police officer Michael Smith at The Watermark Church in Dallas, Texas, July 14, 2016. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

  (JTA) — As the fast day of Tisha b‘Av approaches, the summer heat and humidity is rising. That got me thinking: Does the solemn day have the stuff to raise our consciousness as well? Tisha b‘Av — this year it begins on the evening of Saturday, August 13 — marks the destruction of the First and Second Temples,… Read more »

With Amar’e Stoudemire’s help, Jerusalem looks to overtake Tel Aviv as Israel’s basketball capital

Amar'e Stoudemire is surrounded by young fans at his youth basketball camp in Jerusalem, Aug. 8, 2016. (Andrew Tobin)Amar'e Stoudemire is surrounded by young fans at his youth basketball camp in Jerusalem, Aug. 8, 2016. (Andrew Tobin)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Jerusalem basketball fans know that when the owner of their team tweets a smiley face, the signing of a new player is about to be announced. The day before Amar’e Stoudemire made the surprise announcement that he would be leaving the NBA to play for Hapoel… Read more »

Apricot Pistachio Babka — and it’s pareve, too

Miri Rotkovitz. (Courtesy of Sonoma Press)Miri Rotkovitz. (Courtesy of Sonoma Press)

(The Nosher via JTA) — Babka is having a major moment, and why not? There’s lots to love about the loaves of twisted dough, generously interspersed with a filling that usually involves lots of chocolate. Many professional bakers behind babka’s renaissance are working with laminated doughs — yeasted dairy… Read more »

From LA to Israel: One swimmer’s journey to the Rio Olympics

Andrea Murez recalls Israelis telling her at the 2013 Maccabiah Games that she should swim for Israel -- and now she is. (Hillel Kuttler)Andrea Murez recalls Israelis telling her at the 2013 Maccabiah Games that she should swim for Israel -- and now she is. (Hillel Kuttler)

NETANYA, Israel (JTA) – Andrea Murez steps on the diving board, adjusts her goggles, swings her long arms and propels herself into the water at the Wingate Institute athletic complex here. Murez is training with a dozen other swimmers. She is the one preparing for the Summer Olympics a… Read more »