Posts By Kate Mailliard

‘Fiddler on the Roof’ — and behind the scenes

Choreographer Hofesh Shechter, left, with "Fiddler" cast members at New West 42nd Street Studios. (Lindsay Hoffman/Jeffrey Richards Associates)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Ever since Zero Mostel imagined himself as a rich man in the original 1964 Broadway production, “Fiddler on the Roof” has been a cultural landmark on Broadway and in the Jewish sphere. It’s one of those musicals that always seems to be in rotation. Over… Read more »

How a Jewish trans father inspired a hit series

Jill Soloway, writer and director of "Transparent," filming the second season of the show on set. (Courtesy of Amazon Studios)

(JTA) — Writer and director Jill Soloway grew up in what she calls a “somewhat normalish, upper middle class Jewish household” in Chicago. Her mom was a public relations consultant (she worked for Mayor Jane Byrne) and her dad a psychiatrist. But she always sensed that “something was a… Read more »

Pew survey: 57% of U.S. Jews eat pork and Torah study more popular

The percentage of Jews who said religion is important to them rose from 31 to 35 percent since 2007, the Pew Research Center found. (Shutterstock)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Do you experience feelings of peace and well-being at least once a week? Did God write the Torah? Do you eat bacon? If these questions seem a little personal, don’t fret. They’re all part of a new Pew Research Center survey on American religion released… Read more »

Amid GOP disarray, Jews in DC search memories and Rolodexes

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 22: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) (L) speaks while flanked by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) during a news conference at GOP headquarters on Capitol Hill July 22, 2015 in Washington, DC. The GOP leaders spoke on various topics before Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – “Do I know this person?” has been a common refrain in the Washington offices of national Jewish organizations since Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, resigned as House speaker last month and his chosen successor, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the majority leader, flamed out last week. Every day sees a new… Read more »

In European coverage of Israel, confusion over who is attacking whom

Simon Plosker, top left, managing editor of, directing his monitoring team at his organization's Jerusalem headquarters, Oct. 13, 2015. (Joe Hyams/HonestReporting)

(JTA) — At an Israeli bus station, several uniformed officers surround an Arab woman before opening fire on her, dropping her to the ground. Standing over her motionless body, a Border Police officer toting an automatic rifle speaks into a radio while another officer chases away a bystander documenting… Read more »

Steve Gutow’s 10-year crusade for Jewish civility ending on bitter note

Steve Gutow, right, with Michele Jawando, vice president of legal process at the Center for American Progress, and her husband, Will Jawando, a Democratic candidate for Congress. Michele Jawando took part in an Oct. 12 discussion about race relations organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis. (Jewish Council for Public Affairs)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – For the past 10 years, Rabbi Steve Gutow has been trying to get American Jews to be more civil to each other, especially in debates about political issues. But a decade on, as he prepares to step down from the helm of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the community seems… Read more »

The Jewish lawyer who is defending a synagogue vandal

WASHINGTON (Washington Jewish Week via JTA) — From murderers to sex offenders, some of the least desirable citizens of Maryland’s Montgomery County have walked through the doors of attorney Barry Helfand’s office. But it took a quiet teenager to make Helfand question his responsibility as a lawyer. Sitting in Helfand’s… Read more »

New microbrew made from Boston river water — with Israeli tech

BOSTON (JTA) — An Israeli-founded water purification company has teamed up with Boston-based Harpoon Brewery to channel the once-famously polluted Charles River into a new beer. Desalitech, which started in Israel seven years ago and then moved to Boston, is using its patented technology to provide water for Harpoon’s Charles River… Read more »

Why Israelis are fearing a third intifada

Palestinian protesters in the West Bank throwing stones and burning tires during clashes with Israeli security forces over the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Sept. 30, 2015. (Flash90)

TEL AVIV (JTA) — First it was clashes on the Temple Mount. Then a mother and father were shot before the eyes of their four children. Then two men were killed in a stabbing attack in Jerusalem’s Old City. Now Israelis fear the wave of conflict will only rise.… Read more »

Hillary Clinton talks to Lena Dunham about feminism, college years

(JTA) — In the wake of the never-ending email scandal and Bernie Sanders’ rise in the polls, Hillary Clinton is feeling some serious heat in the 2016 presidential race. In an attempt to connect with younger voters, the Democratic front-runner agreed to be interviewed by Lena Dunham, the Jewish… Read more »

Ivanka Trump is pregnant with her third child

(JTA) — If you can’t get enough Trump, good news: Another one is on the way! Ivanka Trump, who converted to Judaism in 2009, announced across her social media platforms that she is expecting her third child with husband Jared Kushner, a real estate mogul who owns the New… Read more »

Russia’s kosher kingpin aims to launch halal-meat empire

Pinhas Slobodknik center, with staff at a Moscow event serving kosher food in 2014. (Courtesy Pinhas Slobodnik)

MOSCOW (JTA) — At Russia’s largest kosher food factory, owner Pinhas Slobodnik welcomes his Muslim workers with a greeting in Arabic that he pronounces in a thick Russian accent. Some 120 workers, most from the predominantly Muslim republics of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, are employed at the factory — a sprawling… Read more »

‘Labyrinth of Lies’ film explores Holocaust denial in postwar Germany

Alexander Fehling in "Labyrinth of Lies," Germany's entry in the 2016 Academy Awards. (Sony Pictures Classics)

LOS ANGELES (JTA) – When the German film “Labyrinth of Lies” opens, Hitler’s Third Reich was defeated only 13 years earlier. Germany is rising from the ruins, but in 1958 its people are largely in a state of forgetfulness and denial about the recent past. Ask the man in… Read more »

Surging Trump, Carson have Republican Jews worried

Donald Trump and Ben Carson at the second Republican presidential debate at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California on Sept. 16, 2015. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – The Republican Jewish establishment is watching the surge of political outsiders — like Donald Trump and Ben Carson — in the presidential primaries with dismay. “It’s like we have a conference call every morning, and we ask, ‘What can we do to screw ourselves up today?’”… Read more »