The coronavirus hasn’t stopped immigration to Israel

Israeli travelers enjoy a celebratory arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, March 23, 2020. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Aviva Karoly, an attorney originally from Queens, New York, and her husband, Tzvi, were raised in religious Zionist homes and always dreamed of living in Israel. In preparation, the couple had sent their 6-year old son Adi to a Hebrew-speaking preschool. They also put off purchasing a home in the United States with aliyah, or immigration… Read more »

Meet the challah-tinkering yeast scientist who’s helping pandemic bread bakers get a good rise

Sudeep Agarwala is a yeast scientist and challah enthusiast whose guidance for home bakers has taken off online. (Courtesy of Agarwala)

(JTA) — Few people have any great solutions for this difficult moment in human history, but Sudeep Agarwala is one of them. As a yeast scientist, Agarwala spends much of his time thinking about the single-celled fungi that allow bread to rise. So when he learned that home bakers… Read more »

Grieving my husband prepared me for this pandemic

Jews place rocks or pebbles on a headstone when they visit the cemetery as part of an ancient tradition. (Getty Images)

WEST HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (JTA) — I’ve been preparing for the COVID-19 pandemic for the past year. No, I am not an alarmist, prophet or a hoarder. I am a 39-year-old mother of four young children — and I am a widow. My husband, Ari, passed away on March 6, 2019.… Read more »

For Italian Jews, the ‘smell of death’ is all around

A cyclist protecting himself from the coronavirus passes in front of a synagogue in Turin, Italy, March 18, 2020. (Stefano Guidi/Getty Images)

(JTA) — At least twice a day, Micol Naccache breaks down in tears over what the coronavirus is doing to her city of Milan and its Jewish community. A high school teacher and mother of two, Naccache describes herself as “an optimistic person.” But she is struggling to stay… Read more »

You don’t need Zoom or Skype to say Kaddish without a minyan. Here’s a healthier option for the community.

A man recites the Mourner’s Kaddish from a prayer pamphlet. (Getty Images)

WALTHAM, Mass. (JTA) — Like so many others, I am feeling the spiritual loss and pain of our current inability to learn Torah and pray together in person. Many mourners are devoted to the customary recitation of Kaddish for a deceased close relative and struggling with how to do… Read more »

On Sunday, the rabbi logged on to Zoom: A bride and groom were waiting

Jalna Silverstein and Asael Papour are married in New York, March 22, 2020. (Courtesy of Silverstein)

(JTA) — Before everything changed, Jalna Silverstein and Asael Papour were planning a wedding much like many other Jewish nuptials on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. They had a band and caterer lined up, a ceremony planned for the synagogue where Silverstein grew up and all the little… Read more »

Growing up the child of Holocaust survivors prepared me for this pandemic

(Getty Images)

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. (JTA) — I was born in Dzalalabad, Kyrgyzstan, to Polish Jews who had fled Warsaw following the Nazi onslaught in 1939. When they met up with the Russian forces and refused Russian citizenship, my parents, like thousands of others, were shipped off to Komi SSR, a… Read more »


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