Posts By Lauren Bookwalter

JLTC celebrates quinceañera

Humberto Lopez, left, and Paul Baker, Jewish Latino Teen Coalition quinceañera co-chairs, display wind chimes presented to them and longtime JLTC Leader Shari Gootter (not pictured). Local artist Julie Szerina Stein created the unique pieces, which capture both cultures to make a “milagro-mizrach,” she says, using the Spanish word for a votive folk charm and the Hebrew word for an ornament hung on an eastern wall to indicate the direction for prayer.

The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona welcomed more than 150 people Jan. 5 to honor Jewish Latino Teen Coalition founders Humberto Lopez and Paul Baker at a quinceañera/15th year celebration. Young adult alumni shared their stories, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero and former Mayor Jonathan Rothschild delivered greetings, and Shari… Read more »

Despite warnings, the far right was a no-show at Richmond pro-gun rally. So a Jewish food festival went on as planned.

Thousands of pro-gun rights protesters assembled outside the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond, Jan. 20, 2020. (Ron Kampeas)

RICHMOND, Va. (JTA) — Hedy Lapkin’s boyfriend wanted to attend the pro-gun rally in this capital city, but she had reservations. “My boyfriend has a lot of guns,” Lapkin, 79, said of her 83-year-old boyfriend. “He said, ‘You want to go to the rally?’ I said, ‘Are you out… Read more »

Israel’s parliament schedules immunity hearings for Netanyahu

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu requested immunity in the three corruption cases against him — and now the Knesset will discuss. The Israeli parliament’s Arrangements Committee said on Tuesday that the House Committee will begin immunity hearings on Jan. 30, though a House Committee has yet to… Read more »

Employees become owners at Chicago’s beloved kosher barbecue restaurant

Bryan Gryka, the chef and general manager of Milt's Barbeque for the Perplexed, will now be a controlling owner of the kosher restaurant. (Courtesy of Gryka)

CHICAGO (JTA) — A group of longtime employees is taking ownership of Milt’s Barbecue for the Perplexed, the popular kosher restaurant here that has been donating its profits to support local charities for seven years. Within months of opening in 2013, Milt’s menu of home-smoked meats and barbecue dishes… Read more »

Ukraine’s Jewish president heaps praise on Israel in pre-visit interview

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky attends a ceremony welcoming Ukrainians who were freed by pro-Russian rebels during a prisoner exchange at the Boryspil Airport outside Kyiv, Dec. 29, 2019. (Sergei Chuzavkov/AFP via Getty Images)

(JTA) — President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine extolled Israelis as a “united, strong, powerful” and “unique” people in his first interview for an Israeli publication. The Times of Israel published the interview with the Jewish Zelensky on Sunday ahead of his arrival in Israel to attend the World Holocaust… Read more »

Benny Gantz says he will annex Jordan Valley after elections

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Benny Gantz said that following national elections in March, he will work to establish Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley “in coordination with the international community.” “We would like to reiterate that the Jordan Valley serves as the eastern border of the State of Israel in… Read more »

Young boys identified as the vandals of Jewish cemetery in Slovakia

(JTA) — Children caused the vandalism of a Jewish cemetery in Slovakia, in which at least 20 headstones were damaged, not extremists as was originally suspected. The gravestones were pushed over, causing some to crack, in mid-December in the northern town of Rajec. Police in the Zilina Region announced… Read more »

Jewish cemetery in Bulgaria vandalized

(JTA) — A Jewish cemetery in northeastern Bulgaria was vandalized. Gravestones were pushed over and broken, and a fence around the cemetery was damaged, the Sofia Globe reported Thursday. Shoumen was home to a Jewish community during centuries of Ottoman rule. The Jewish cemetery in Shoumen dates from the… Read more »

Hank Azaria says he will no longer voice Apu on ‘The Simpsons’

(JTA) — Hank Azaria said he will no longer voice the character of Indian convenience store manager Apu on “The Simpsons.” Azaria has been the thickly accented caricatured voice of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, manager of the show’s Kwik-E-Mart convenience store, for 30 years. “All we know there is I won’t… Read more »

Pope Francis condemns ‘barbaric resurgence’ of anti-Semitsm

(JTA) – A week before International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Pope Francis renewed his condemnation of anti-Semitism, decrying its “barbaric resurgence.” Francis was addressing a delegation from the Simon Wiesenthal Center that met with him at the Vatican on Monday. International Holocaust Remembrance Day is observed in Italy and throughout… Read more »

23% of French Jews say they were assaulted by anti-Semites, survey finds

(JTA) — In a survey about anti-Semitism in France, nearly a quarter of 1,027 Jewish respondents said they had experienced a physical anti-Semitic assault. The results of the survey, carried out this year by the IFOP for the American Jewish Committee, were published Tuesday in Le Parisien. In addition… Read more »