Posts By Lauren Bookwalter

Jewish Agency sending teen emissaries back to Israel, and to quarantine

(JTA) — Earlier this week, the Jewish Agency for Israel said it was committed to keeping its emissaries in the United States, even as other groups brought theirs home amid the rising coronavirus crisis. But on Friday morning, with schools and synagogues across the country shuttering in an effort… Read more »

No visitors, no group dinners: How Jewish nursing homes are trying to keep seniors safe from the coronavirus

Residents learn Facebook at the Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly in Massachusetts. (Suzanne Kreiter/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Benita and Michael Ross are glad to live a half-hour’s drive from their granddaughter’s college, Brandeis University. So when the Boston-area school announced Thursday that it would close due to the novel coronavirus, Benita would have invited her granddaughter to stay with them. Except she… Read more »

As the coronavirus epidemic looms, American Jews brace for a Shabbat like no other

A ribbon expressing support is tied to a pole outside the Young Israel of New Rochelle synagogue, in New York's Westchester County, which was quarantined after a member tested positive for the coronavirus, March 10, 2020. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — As of Thursday, Alex Matthews felt confident that the synagogue he leads in Newburyport, Massachusetts, would be able to hold services as scheduled this Shabbat. Even as growing numbers of Jewish communities began shutting down schools and synagogues and, when possible, moving operations online, Congregation… Read more »

Dead Sea Scrolls fragments at DC museum are fake, its officials say

(JTA) – The 16 Dead Seas Scroll fragments housed at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., are forgeries, museum officials said Friday. “We’re victims — we’re victims of misrepresentation, we’re victims of fraud,” CEO Harry Hargrove said at an academic conference hosted by the museum, National Geographic… Read more »

Asian Americans are facing violent xenophobia during the coronavirus outbreak. Jews have a responsibility to speak out.

Members of the Asian American Commission hold a news conference on the steps of the Massachusetts State House in Boston to condemn racism toward the Asian- American community because of the coronavirus, March 12, 2020. (John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — In recent weeks, we’ve seen an unprecedented epidemic of the coronavirus spread across the world. Unfortunately, we’ve also seen a spike in anti-Asian violence and prejudice. In the U.S., racist and xenophobic outbursts, assaults and discriminatory practices against Asian Americans have been reported from coast to… Read more »

Brazilian Jewish schools close to prevent coronavirus infections

RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) – Brazil’s largest Jewish community is closing schools in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus, despite the very low number of infections in the country so far. Sao Paulo is home to half of Brazil’s 120,000 Jews. Its Beit Yaacov school, Brazil’s… Read more »

The coronavirus could be disastrous for Israeli service workers. Here’s what they told me.

The doorman and the roof of the Waldorf Astoria in Jerusalem (Laura Ben-David)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — For the young and healthy, the coronavirus itself is likely to be mostly an inconvenience. But for many workers, the COVID-19 pandemic could literally cost them their livelihoods. Obviously, many of us are deeply concerned about catching the highly contagious respiratory illness or about the growing… Read more »

Jared Kushner relative solicits coronavirus tips for him on Facebook

(JTA) — A physician with family ties to senior White House adviser Jared Kushner said he solicited advice on Facebook for Kushner on how to deal with the coronavirus. Kurt Kloss, whose daughter is married to Kushner’s brother, on Wednesday asked a group of fellow emergency room physicians on… Read more »

Preparing for the ‘worst-case scenario’: Jewish aid groups scramble amid the coronavirus outbreak

Masbia kosher supervisor Pesach Gittleson assembles boxes containing food for people who may be quarantined or unable to obtain food due to the coronavirus outbreak. (Alexander Rapaport)

NEW YORK (JTA) — The run-up to Passover is the busiest time of the year for Masbia, a nonprofit that operates three kosher soup kitchens in Brooklyn and Queens. The organization has to order all kosher-for-Passover food and scrub one of its locations’ kitchens so it can prepare food… Read more »

Taika Waititi adapting anti-Semite Roald Dahl’s work is exactly what we need

Taika Waititi will write, direct and executive produce two series based on the work of Roald Dahl for Netflix, starting with "Charlie and the Chocolate Factor." (Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

This story originally appeared on Alma. Netflix just announced that the Academy Award-winning Maori-Jewish filmmaker Taika Waititi will write, direct and executive produce two series based on the work of author Roald Dahl for the streaming platform. The first is based on “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” focusing specifically… Read more »

Brown committee recommends university divest from companies that ‘profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land’

(JTA) — A Brown advisory committee has issued a formal recommendation that the Ivy League university divest from “any company that profits from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.” The recommendation was contained in an official report made to the university president and its highest governing body, The Brown… Read more »

I’m not a doctor, but I am a rabbi. Here’s my spiritual prescription for the coronavirus.

A sanitary gel is used as a precaution against the coronavirus. (Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

PHOENIX (JTA) — I am not a medical professional, an epidemiologist or an expert on pandemics. I leave the serious information in those important fields for the professionals who have the appropriate training to help us get through the coronavirus epidemic. Even though I do not possess medical knowledge,… Read more »

How to make pastrami gravlax and impress your friends

Serve pastrami gravlax at your next brunch with some good pumpernickel bagels, rye bread, cream cheese and wedges of fresh lemon. (Shannon Sarna)

This story originally appeared on The Nosher. Tell someone you made the gravlax at your next brunch and I promise they will be impressed. The truth is that gravlax is a surprisingly simple dish to make. (Here’s our video and recipe you can follow to make it). There is… Read more »

Auschwitz Memorial closes to visitors over coronavirus fears

(JTA) — The Auschwitz Memorial and the site of the former Nazi camp are closed to visitors due to concerns over the coronavirus. The memorial announced on Wednesday that it would shut down until March 25. The announcement comes on the heels of the decision by the Polish government… Read more »

Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 23 years in prison

(JTA) — Disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison on Wednesday, more than two weeks after being found guilty on two counts of rape and sexual assault. Weinstein, 67, could have been sentenced to a maximum 29 years or as little as five years,… Read more »