Religion & Jewish Life

Did a Jewish woman blaze a new path for women in pro baseball?

Justine Siegal, prior to coaching for the Oakland Athletics, had already made baseball history by throwing batting practice for the Cleveland Indians in 2011. (Norm Hall/Getty Images)Justine Siegal, prior to coaching for the Oakland Athletics, had already made baseball history by throwing batting practice for the Cleveland Indians in 2011. (Norm Hall/Getty Images)

(JTA) – For Justine Siegal, attending Opening Day games of the Cleveland Indians with her grandfather led to a lifelong passion for baseball – and dreams of one day playing for the Tribe. “Heaven,” she called the outings, where she sat in the best seats in the house —… Read more »

How a Holocaust legacy helped launch the Kind bar brand

Daniel Lubetzky, CEO and founder of Kind Snacks, with members of his team at the company's New York City headquarters. (Poon Watchara-Amhaiwan)Daniel Lubetzky, CEO and founder of Kind Snacks, with members of his team at the company's New York City headquarters. (Poon Watchara-Amhaiwan)

NEW YORK (JTA) — In many respects, the Manhattan headquarters of Kind Snacks — the purveyors of the omnipresent fruit and nut bars found everywhere from health-food stores to office-supply emporiums — are pretty much what you’d expect: Scads of casually dressed millennials mill about sleek, brightly colored rooms adorned… Read more »

Op-Ed: On Conservative Judaism, why all the talk about failure?

(JTA) — “In the United States, ‘Conservative Judaism’ is a synonym for failure.” So writes the Israeli journalist Yair Ettinger after interviewing a spectrum of American Jewish religious leaders. If, as it seems, this judgment has become the new conventional wisdom, we reject it as both inaccurate and destructive.… Read more »

Hurricane Joaquin: Can Jews take down their sukkahs for a storm?

(JTA) — As Hurricane Joaquin gained steam off the southeastern coast of the United States, the question has begun to circulate online: Are Jews allowed to take down their sukkahs in the case of a storm? Sukkot, which began Sunday, runs through this Sunday evening. Hurricane Joaquin, the first… Read more »

For Jewish boxer ‘The White Tiger,’ toughness is a birthright

Boxer Dustin Fleischer hopes to be the first world champion who is the descendant of a Holocaust survivor. (Rich Kane/Roc Nation Sports)Boxer Dustin Fleischer hopes to be the first world champion who is the descendant of a Holocaust survivor. (Rich Kane/Roc Nation Sports)

Editor’s note: this article was written before Dustin Fleischer’s bout on Sept. 26, which he won with a first round knockout.  (JTA) – When welterweight Dustin Fleischer enters the ring on Saturday evening, he’ll will be wearing his late grandfather’s gold Star of David necklace with a red jewel… Read more »

Curry Pumpkin Corn Soup

Curry Pumpkin Corn Soup (Shannon Sarna)Curry Pumpkin Corn Soup (Shannon Sarna)

(The Nosher via JTA) — When you think of pumpkin and spices, your mind likely jumps to pumpkin pie spices like ginger, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. But did you know that pumpkin and curry also pair perfectly? A quick Google search for pumpkin curry will reveal an array of recipes… Read more »

Meet Joc Pederson, the Jewish rookie powering L.A. Dodgers’ run to playoffs

Joc Pederson taking a swing against the Washington Nationals, Aug. 12, 2015. (Hillel Kuttler)Joc Pederson taking a swing against the Washington Nationals, Aug. 12, 2015. (Hillel Kuttler)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Ask Los Angeles Dodgers’ rookie outfielder Joc Pederson how his season is going, and he’ll talk about the team. “We’re playing great baseball, and that’s something we’re looking to continue to do,” a shy and wary Pederson told JTA recently following a spirited game of dice with… Read more »

Freundel apologizes for mikvah-peeping, but must Jews forgive?

Rabbi Barry Freundel exits the courthouse after entering his guilty plea, Feb. 19, 2015. (Dmitriy Shapiro)Rabbi Barry Freundel exits the courthouse after entering his guilty plea, Feb. 19, 2015. (Dmitriy Shapiro)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Writing from his jail cell last week, just days before the Jewish New Year, Rabbi Barry Freundel said he was sorry. It was the rabbi’s first public statement since his arrest almost a year ago and his subsequent sentencing to 6-and-1/2 years behind bars for secretly filming women undressing in… Read more »

This Rosh Hashanah, I challenge you to focus on the positives

(Kveller via JTA) — Two essential parts of preparing for Rosh Hashanah, our clean slate for the year, is asking forgiveness from anyone we wronged and making a list (mental or written) of the ways we fell short since the last time we heard the shofar. Ideally that hard work of… Read more »

NHL lawyer excels for league and family – can she make history?

(JTA) – Several years ago, Jessica Berman and her husband, Brad, bumped into her high school boyfriend. “If you aren’t working as a lawyer in hockey, I’d be amazed,” Berman recalled him saying. The ex had her pegged. Berman, 37, has been employed by the National Hockey League for… Read more »

Spreading Shabbat joy from the Upper East Side around the world

NEW YORK (JTA) — To Jewish parents of young children on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Karina Zilberman is something of a celebrity. She is the tall, blonde, guitar-strumming founder of the 92nd Street Y’s Shababa, a multigenerational musical celebration of Shabbat whose name is a mash-up of the modern… Read more »

Rabbi quits N.J. pulpit, finds God and community in Montana

Rabbi Francine Roston: Rabbi Francine Green Roston and her family fell in love with Whitefish, Mont., on their first visit in the summer of 2010. (Uriel Heilman)Rabbi Francine Roston: Rabbi Francine Green Roston and her family fell in love with Whitefish, Mont., on their first visit in the summer of 2010. (Uriel Heilman)

WHITEFISH, Mont. (JTA) – Until last year, Rabbi Francine Green Roston was among the Conservative movement’s rising stars. The first woman in the movement to head a congregation with more than 500 members, Roston, the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth El in South Orange, New Jersey, also published Op-Eds… Read more »

Touch of Pray: Celebrating Shabbat and the Grateful Dead

Over 70,000 fans packing Chicago's Soldier Field for the finale of the Grateful Dead's three-concert Fare Thee Well Tour, July 5, 2015. (Howard Blas)Over 70,000 fans packing Chicago's Soldier Field for the finale of the Grateful Dead's three-concert Fare Thee Well Tour, July 5, 2015. (Howard Blas)

CHICAGO (JTA) — What a long, strange trip it’s been for Shu Eliovson. The American-born resident of Kfar Maimon, a religious moshav in southern Israel, Eliovson is CEO and co-founder of the tech start-up Likeminder, an anonymous social networking site for “authentic conversation” with “likeminded” people. He is also an ordained rabbi,… Read more »

Panel recommends changes to Orthodox conversion, offers snapshot of converts

The Rabbinical Council of America found that 78 percent of those who convert through its system are women. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)The Rabbinical Council of America found that 78 percent of those who convert through its system are women. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) – After facing criticism for its handling of inappropriate behavior by a convert-supervising rabbi who turned out to be a mikvah-peeping voyeur, the country’s main centrist Orthodox rabbinical group has released key guidelines aimed at preventing abuses during the conversion process. The Rabbinical Council of America is recommending that would-be… Read more »

Near site of landmark march, Philadelphia museum celebrates Jewish role in promoting gay rights

Jewish gay rights activist Frank Kameny shaking hands with President Barack Obama after the president signed a memorandum extending federal benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees, June 2009. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)Jewish gay rights activist Frank Kameny shaking hands with President Barack Obama after the president signed a memorandum extending federal benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees, June 2009. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

PHILADELPHIA (JTA) — On July 4, 1965, 40 people gathered outside this city’s Independence Hall for the first Annual Reminder demonstration on behalf of civil rights for gays. For this weekend’s 50-year commemoration, thousands attended a ceremony that included a reenactment of the initial protest. The milestone, which comes… Read more »

Hebrew in the huddle: American-style football gains ground in Israel

Alex Swieca, a former quarterback at the University of Michigan, throws a pass in a scrimmage at Jerusalem's Kraft Stadium, June 21, 2015. (Ben Sales)Alex Swieca, a former quarterback at the University of Michigan, throws a pass in a scrimmage at Jerusalem's Kraft Stadium, June 21, 2015. (Ben Sales)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The scent of hamburgers and beer wafted over the field. The fans were bathed in barbecue smoke.The bleachers were cut out of Jerusalem stone, the field was made of artificial turf. The spectators who had come to greet a tour of Pro Football Hall of Famers… Read more »

Introducing a Yiddish lifestyle cookbook from 1938 Vilnius

The new English translation of "The Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook," from 1938. (Schocken Books)The new English translation of "The Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook," from 1938. (Schocken Books)

(Jewniverse via JTA) — “It has long been established by the highest medical authorities that food made from fruits and vegetables is far healthier and more suitable for the human organism than food made from meat,” Fania Lewando wrote in 1938. With that Austen-like pronouncement and the publication of… Read more »