JTA’s most read stories of 2017

(JTA collage)


(JTA) — It’s been a busy year here at JTA, where we’ve published thousands of stories covering topics as diverse as celebrity profiles to the rise of Europe’s right-wing to breaking the news of bomb threats at Jewish institutions across the U.S.

Among the nearly 5,000 pieces we published over the past 365 days, these are 10 that resonated with our readers the most.

How many have you read?

  1. Some 30 Jewish institutions across U.S. targeted in second wave of bomb threats
A complex in Wilmington, Del., housing four Jewish organizations was evacuated after receiving a bomb threat. (Courtesy of Siegel JCC in Wilmington)

Little more than a week after 16 Jewish community centers and other institutions were evacuated in a mass bomb-threat scare, a second wave of threats called in to even more JCCs rattled the Jewish world. The culprit turned out to be a Jewish teenager who carried out the calls from Israel, but the troubling phenomenon — which many saw as evidence of increasing anti-Semitism in the U.S. — persisted for months.

  1. Gunshot fired through classroom window of Indiana synagogue
The Adath B’Nai Israel Temple in Evansville, Ind. (Facebook)

Amid the rash of bomb threats made to Jewish institutions, a gunman shot a hole in the window of a Hebrew school classroom.

  1. Popular neo-Nazi blogger resigns over revelation his wife is Jewish
Mike Enoch was outed as Mike Peinovich. (Screenshot from YouTube)

The founder of the popular right-wing blog The Right Stuff was outed as Mike Peinovich, a website developer from New York married to a Jewish woman. He resigned from working on the site, which was known for popularizing the triple parentheses “echo” used to identify Jews online.

  1. Adam Krief, Jewish father of 3 whose bone marrow search inspired celebrities, dies
Adam Krief with his wife, Lia (Facebook)

Krief’s devastating and rare form of brain cancer had moved Kim Kardashian to post about him on Facebook. After bone marrow drives were held for him around the world, Krief found a match — but eventually he succumbed to complications from the cancer.

  1. A New Yorker editor picks 7 of his favorite Jewish cartoons
Cartoonist Bob Mankoff at the Crosby Hotel in New York City, Feb. 9, 2016. (Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Amazon Studios)

Before ending his 20-year run as cartoon editor for The New Yorker, Bob Mankoff spoke with JTA about his Jewish roots (“The Jews of the Bible aren’t funny”) and shared his favorite Jewish cartoons from the magazine.

  1. Patriots star Julian Edelman’s 5 most Jewish moments
Julian Edelman runs for a first down during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., Feb. 1, 2015. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

In advance of Super Bowl LI — in which Julian Edelman went on to make an improbable and crucial catch — we looked back at the numerous times the New England Patriots wide receiver showed off his Jewish pride.

  1. Swiss hotelier sorry for signs telling Jews to shower before entering pool
The Paradise Apartments hotel in Arosa, near Zurich, Switzerland (Courtesy of Paradise Apartments hotel)

“I have nothing against Jews, whom we regularly receive warmly here,” hotel manager Ruth Thomann said. As JTA’s Cnaan Liphshiz noted, the gaffe — a sign that instructed “Jewish guests” to shower before using a pool — and its consequent media frenzy turned out to be a big misunderstanding.

  1. Jared and Ivanka’s rabbis don’t know who gave them permission to fly on Shabbat
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner leave after the presidential inauguration at the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 20, 2017. (Saul Loeb/Pool/Getty Images)

The observant couple flew to Saudi Arabia for a government trip on a Friday night, stirring controversy in religious circles.

  1. Why this Filipina is fighting for Israel
Staff Sgt. Joana Chris Arpon on Israeli soldiers saving her grandmother in the Philippines: “I was like, “Whoa, that’s what I want to do.” (Courtesy of IDF Spokesperson)

Staff. Sgt. Joana Chris Arpon isn’t Israeli or Jewish, but she chose to serve in the Israel Defense Forces after an army team saved her grandmother from a typhoon.

  1. Is Meghan Markle Jewish? The internet is confused.
Meghan Markle at the Terrance Higgins Trust World AIDS Day charity fair at Nottingham Contemporary in England, Dec. 1, 2017. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

As rumors — whoops, rumours — about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement picked up steam, a British tabloid claimed that the mixed-race actress has a Jewish father. As it turned out, the story wasn’t that simple.