Posts By AZ Jewish Post

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)

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)

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)

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 »

Op-Ed: It’s time to stop demonizing Michael Oren

(JTA) — Michael Oren is my friend. During his nearly five years as Israel’s ambassador to the United States, we’d speak on an almost daily basis. Often those phone calls would come at 3 or 4 a.m., Washington time, and Michael, enduring another sleepless night, would share his fears… Read more »

Amy Winehouse, through the lens (and the bottom of a bottle)

(JTA) — To anyone who has read a rock-and-roll biography or caught an episode of VH1’s “Behind the Music,” it is a sadly familiar tale: An artist achieves great success only to self destruct. There’s something called the “27 Club,” made up of a surprisingly number of influential musicians… Read more »

Op-Ed: How should Orthodox leaders respond to the gay marriage ruling?

People celebrate the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage on June 26, 2015 in West Hollywood, California. The Supreme Court ruled today that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry nationwide without regard to their state's laws. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — My father passed away nearly 13 years ago, and while I think about him daily, every so often there are moments when I especially miss him. Last week’s Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage was one of those moments. You see, my father, Rabbi Steven… Read more »

What shocked a European Jew on his first trip to America

NEW YORK (JTA) — You may have seen them scanning the terminal, eyes wide with disbelief, on their first visit to Israel.  In my family we call their condition, which afflicts mostly young Jews from small Jewish communities, the Ben Gurion Syndrome — a sense of shock induced by encountering… Read more »

Op-Ed: L’Chaim to marriage equality, but our work isn’t finished

A same-sex marriage supporter waves a pride flag next to an altered street sign that reads "case closed!' while celebrating the U.S Supreme Court ruling regarding same-sex marriage on June 26, 2015 in San Francisco.(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

BOSTON (JTA) — Four years ago, I stood under a chuppah with the woman I was about to marry overlooking a valley in Massachusetts. I have an emotional memory of sweetness and joy from my wedding day, but I can’t recall many specific moments. What I do remember vividly… Read more »

As Iran deadline approaches, skeptics draw dueling red lines

A pro-government demonstrator holds aloft a picture of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at Tehran University, on June 19, 2009 in Tehran, Iran. (Photo by Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — In nuclear talks between Iran and the major powers, it’s deadline time, and skeptics on both sides are laying out red lines in a bid to shape a final deal. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader who had been wary of the talks, last week outlined his… Read more »

In London’s Jewish heart, planned neo-Nazi rally provokes outrage

A view of a street in the Golders Green neighborhood of London, June 19, 2015. (Cnaan Liphshiz)

LONDON (JTA) — Like many European Jews, Stephen Lever has mostly stopped wearing his yarmulke on the street in recent years. A Londoner, Lever said he fears joining the hundreds of Jews accosted annually in his native United Kingdom, often by Muslim or Arab extremists seeking to exact retribution… Read more »

The Jewish reason I fight for paid family leave

Josh Levs

(Kveller via JTA) — I was home, caring for my 4-pound preemie daughter, sick wife and two sons when I got the crushing message from work. Time Warner, parent company of CNN, was refusing me the 10 paid weeks of caregiving leave that others got. I knew immediately how… Read more »

Throughout Hillary Clinton’s life and career, U.S. Jews have been close at hand

Hillary Rodham Clinton, then a U.S. senator from New York, with her husband, Bill Clinton, at a memorial dinner for Yitzhak Rabin at the center named for the slain Israeli leader in Tel Aviv, Nov. 14, 2005. (Pavel Wolberg/Pool/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – From the man who married her grandmother to the man who married her daughter, from working a room full of bar mitzvah guests on behalf of her husband’s political career to headlining major pro-Israel events during her own, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s journey has never wandered far from Jews. Clinton’s Jewish encounters have… Read more »

For this U.N. report on Gaza War, Israel came prepared

A Palestinian child amid the rubble of buildings in Gaza City that were destroyed during the summer of 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, June 22, 2015. (Aaed Tayeh/Flash90)

(JTA) – This time, Israel and its supporters came prepared. Anticipating what they believed would be an unfair U.N. report on last summer’s Gaza War, the Israeli government and friendly groups in the United States were ready with at least three reports they say better reflects the reality of… Read more »

New PBS special examines ‘Seeds of Conflict’ in the Middle East

Collectives of European immigrants, soon known as kibbutzim, were an early building block of the Zionist movement. (Courtesy of Yad Yitzhak Ben Zvi)

LOS ANGELES (JTA) – Conflict between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East now appears a permanent condition, but it didn’t have to be that way, according to a one-hour PBS special premiering on June 30. “1913: The Seeds of Conflict” traces the relationship between the two Semitic tribes… Read more »

In Britain, Jewish and Muslim women connect over Mitzvah Day

Muslim and Jewish participants in a new interfaith initiative during its launch at the Jewish Museum in the London Borough of Camden, June 9, 2015. (Yakir Zur)

(JTA) — Good deeds can be contagious. Just ask Laura Marks, a British Jew who is widely credited with creating one of her community’s most widely celebrated new traditions: an annual Mitzvah Day, now in its 11th consecutive year, in which thousands of British Jews perform charity work in retirement homes,… Read more »

Could an Israeli startup have prevented Charleston church massacre?

Mourners sing hymns during a community prayer service for the nine victims of last week's shooting at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, at Second Presbyterian Church June 18, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

As Wednesday’s massacre in Charleston demonstrated,  houses of worship face a particularly difficult security challenge. Unlike schools, churches such as the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal, where nine people were gunned down by a lone shooter on Wednesday, need to stay open and accessible to carry out their mission of… Read more »