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Religion & Jewish Life

Citing divisions over Israel, Rabbi Brant Rosen quits congregation

(JTA) – A prominent rabbi whose outspoken criticism of Israel became too divisive for his congregation announced this week that he is resigning his pulpit. Brant Rosen, rabbi at the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston, Ill., made the announcement Tuesday. Aside from his pulpit position, which he has held for 17 years, Rosen is also […]

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Erik Lorig, in his fifth NFL season, has moved to the New Orleans Saints after playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (Courtesy New Orleans Saints)
Erik Lorig, in his fifth NFL season, has moved to the New Orleans Saints after playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (Courtesy New Orleans Saints)

Blockers and tacklers: Jewish gridders gearing up for NFL campaign

BALTIMORE (JTA) – Blocking brothers, a college star seeking success in the pros, a fullback who hasn’t had a carry in four seasons and a couple of ace special teamers are among the Jewish players on NFL rosters as the league kicks off this week. A punter may join the group after sitting out the […]

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Rabbi Karol Sidon stepped down as Prague's chief rabbi amid reports about his love life. (Petr Balajka/Prague Jewish Community)
Rabbi Karol Sidon stepped down as Prague's chief rabbi amid reports about his love life. (Petr Balajka/Prague Jewish Community)

Prague’s longtime chief rabbi leaves colorful and controversial legacy

PRAGUE (JTA) — When the novel “Altschul’s Method” hit the shelves in Czech bookstores this March, it was hailed as a brilliant political and psychological thriller combining elements of science fiction, alternate history and Jewish mysticism. But it became a true literary sensation when it was revealed a week later that the book’s supposed author, […]

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The Kosovo Jewish community's president, Votim Demiri with his daughter Ines, a foreign ministry official, in Prizren. (Ron Kampeas/JTA)
The Kosovo Jewish community's president, Votim Demiri with his daughter Ines, a foreign ministry official, in Prizren. (Ron Kampeas/JTA)

In Muslim Kosovo, Jewish remnant stakes claim to nation’s past and future

PRISTINA, Kosovo (JTA) – Boxing Club Prishtina is a squat building on a narrow street around the corner from the parliament in the heart of Kosovo’s capital city. Around the corner, a popular Italian restaurant draws the young Western Europeans and Americans in button-down shirts and open-toed heels who help keep the country running. Walk […]

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Remembering Leonard ‘Leibel’ Fein, ‘a great man in Israel’

NEW YORK (JTA) — In II Samuel, Chapter 1, when David learns of the death of Abner, he proclaims to his soldiers and all of Israel, “You well know that a prince, a great man in Israel, has died this day.” When I learned of the death of my friend Leonard “Leibel” Fein at the […]

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Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, left, founder of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, meets with Jews who fled eastern Ukraine, July 2014. (Olivier Fitoussi)
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, left, founder of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, meets with Jews who fled eastern Ukraine, July 2014. (Olivier Fitoussi)

For ‘hardcore’ Jews displaced by Ukrainian fighting, Israel beckons

(JTA) — Each time he dispatches a car into Lugansk, Rabbi Shalom Gopin readies himself for hours of anxious anticipation. The scene of brutal urban warfare between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists, this eastern Ukrainian city now has no regular power supply, running water or cell phone reception. Mortar rounds can fall without warning. Much […]

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Lacey Schwartz's film 'Little White Lie' tells of her discovery in adulthood that her father was black.
Lacey Schwartz's film 'Little White Lie' tells of her discovery in adulthood that her father was black.

Documentary reveals Jewish mother’s ‘Little White Lie’

SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) — When Lacey Schwartz celebrated her Bat Mitzvah more than two decades ago in her hometown of Woodstock, N.Y., a synagogue-goer turned to her and said, “It’s so nice to have an Ethiopian Jew in our midst.” Never mind that Schwartz, a striking 37-year-old with long black curls and a megawatt smile, […]

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The davening room at Havurat Shalom, virtually unchanged since the early 1970s. (Jesse Edsell-Vetter)
The davening room at Havurat Shalom, virtually unchanged since the early 1970s. (Jesse Edsell-Vetter)

Countercultural spirit lives on at iconic 1960s havurah

SOMERVILLE, Mass. (JTA) — To certain first-time visitors to Havurat Shalom, the congregation’s prayer room may look remarkably familiar. From the macrame Jewish star adorning the ark and the Middle Eastern-style lamp serving as a ner tamid to the pillows on a bare floor and the sparely decorated walls, the room looks exactly as it […]

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At a pro-Israel rally in Los Angeles, the author began to find new meanings for why we mourn on Tisha b’Av. (Edmon J. Rodman)
At a pro-Israel rally in Los Angeles, the author began to find new meanings for why we mourn on Tisha b’Av. (Edmon J. Rodman)

Tisha b’Av in a time of rockets, tunnels and death

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — After weeks of missiles falling on Israel and bombs dropping on Gaza, we land on Tisha b’Av. With the day-to-day images of explosions and tunnels so fresh, I wondered how they might connect to my mid-summer night’s struggle with the somber holiday’s relevance. Tisha b’Av, this year starting on the evening […]

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Jeff Idelson, director of the the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, holding a bat used by Jewish Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg. (Milo Stewart Jr./National Baseball Hall of Fame)
Jeff Idelson, director of the the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, holding a bat used by Jewish Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg. (Milo Stewart Jr./National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Shalom to the enshrined: Cooperstown’s Jewish mayor, Hall of Fame chief greeting baseball’s elite

BALTIMORE (JTA) – For Jeff Idelson, the director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., induction weekend is all about teamwork. “When you get to signature events [and] you’re in a small community, all the pieces have to come together effectively for it to be a grand slam,” Idelson said recently from […]

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