News

Congress wants to define anti-Semitism for you. Here’s how that can get messy.

Demonstrators protest against Israel in New York City, June 2016. (Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Republican and Democratic lawmakers are lining up behind a bill that would define anti-Semitism. The measure introduced Thursday by Reps. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., who is Jewish, and Pete Roskam,  R-Ill., a leader on pro-Israel issues in the U.S. House of Representatives, at first looks like a… Read more »

Hasidic volunteers, kicked out of a major NY hospital, blame a clash over medical ethics

A view of the Ronald O. Perelman Emergency Center at NYU Langone hospital in 2014. (Governor Andrew Cuomo/Flickr)

NEW YORK (JTA) — For years, volunteers from the Satmar hasidic movement have fanned out daily across the city, boarding private buses and carrying bags full of kosher food cooked each morning (except Saturday) at the organization’s commercial kitchen in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Members of the Satmar Bikur Cholim go to a… Read more »

Know your oligarch: A guide to the Jewish machers in the Russia probe

Andrew Intrater, on right, with USC Shoah Foundation board member Mickey Shapiro, left, Steven Spielberg and William Clay Ford, Jr. in Dearborn, Mich., Sept. 10, 2015. (Duane Prokop/Getty Images for the USC Shoah Foundation)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The special prosecutor’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election offers an unsettling journey for anyone steeped in Russian Jewry, and the transition from the repression of the former Soviet Union to the relative freedoms of the Russian Federation. Of 10 billionaires with Kremlin ties… Read more »

Banned from marrying interfaith couples, Conservative rabbis are finding other ways to celebrate them

Jamila Humphries, left, and Emily Schorr Lesnick are an interfaith couple that is taking part in an aufruf ceremony in a Conservative synagogue. (Courtesy of Humphries and Schorr Lesnick)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Emily Schorr Lesnick and Jamila Humphrie always knew that Judaism would play a part in the life they wanted to build together. But experiences with Conservative Jewish institutions had made the couple feel less than welcome. Schorr Lesnick, 28, remembers encountering homophobia at her Jewish… Read more »

As night falls, Jerusalem’s old-school Jewish market transforms into a hipster hangout

Employees of Sus Ye'or, a Mexican restaurant in Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market, pose behind the counter. Small eateries have taken the place of many traditional food shops in the market. (Ben Sales)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — In another life, Kobi Frig would have been sitting behind vats of spices in Jerusalem’s bustling, labyrinthine Mahane Yehuda market, hawking paprika, zaatar and cinnamon like his grandfather and father did before him. Instead, Frig obeyed his father’s wishes, went to college, and started a chain… Read more »

Philip Roth, enfant terrible turned peerless chronicler of American Jewish life, is dead at 85

Philip Roth at the National Humanities Medal ceremony at the White House, March 2, 2011. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Philip Roth, whose notorious novels about the sex drives of American men gave way to some of the most probing examinations of the American Jewish condition in the 20th and 21st centuries, has died. He was 85. His death was confirmed to The New York Times by… Read more »

‘Mr. Lacrosse’ puts sport on Western map

Mickey-Miles Felton has been active in lacrosse in both Tucson and Israel. (Debe Campbell)

Editor’s note: This article has been corrected to reflect that Felton is being inducted into the University of Arizona Men’s Lacrosse Club Team Hall of Fame in October. The name of the association in which the UA plays has also been corrected; it is the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association.… Read more »

Skip the treadmill and head for the hills

Splendido resident John Hemann attributes his good health to a daily walk around the community. (Courtesy Splendido)

Research shows that taking your exercise outdoors compared to working out in a gym offers unique benefits for physical, cognitive, and emotional health. There are plenty of natural places around Tucson for hiking, biking, golfing, and other pastimes — or simply taking a stroll. Many locals enjoy regular outdoor… Read more »

At senior communities, residents play part in maintaining Jewish connections

At Villa Hermosa, a Tucson senior living community, Bill Kugelman listens as Cantor Janece Cohen of Congregation Or Chadash plays Hanukkah songs on Dec. 13. (Courtesy Congregation Or Chadash)

Sharing ideas and family recipes enables Jewish residents of senior living communities to keep up family connections and traditions. Staff members appreciate their input, saying that coordinating Shabbat and other Jewish holiday celebrations is part of how they help residents to be happier and healthier. Villa Hermosa Aimee Pichardo,… Read more »

Local woman’s pet proves its dedication as Handi-Dog

Talya Fanger-Vexler trained Sapphire to be a service dog with the help of Handi-Dogs, a Tucson nonprofit organization. (Debe Campbell)

Talya Simha Fanger-Vexler fell in love one day with a fluffy puppy in a pet shop window. It had sparkling blue eyes and a calm, composed demeanor. Talya pictured long hikes and active adventures with the bouncy sable Sheltie at her side. Five years later, the lovable fur ball… Read more »

Community volunteers recognized for outstanding work

This is part one of a series on the Jewish agency volunteers who received 2018 Special Recognition Awards at the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s Jewish Community Awards Celebration held May 10. Max Cohen, Jewish Family & Children’s Services President and CEO Carlos Hernandez attributes much of Jewish Family… Read more »

Arizona, U.S. chambers pledge to advance ties with Israel

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-Israel Business Initiative signed a memorandum of understanding on May 9 pledging to work together to support ongoing initiatives and activities to strengthen the economic and commercial ties between Arizona and Israel. “I am so pleased… Read more »

La Contessa bringing fashions to CAI brunch

(L-R) Kara Moeller, Ruth Kolker (model), Bob Couchman, and Janet Seltzer (model) at La Contessa [Courtesy Sharon Klein)

The Women’s League of Congregation Anshei Israel will host its annual brunch and fashion show on Sunday, June 3 at 10:30 a.m. at the synagogue. Handmaker will provide the catering and fashions will be presented by La Contessa. Father-daughter team Bob Couchman and Kara Moeller own La Contessa, located… Read more »

At Handmaker, rabbis probe purpose of prayer

(L-R) Rabbis Yossie Shemtov, Thomas Louchheim and Robert Eisen take part in the Handmaker panel May 6. [Nanci Levy)

Some 65 people attended Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging’s  third annual three-rabbi panel lecture on Sunday, May 6, on “What is the Purpose of Prayer?” Rabbi Yossie Shemtov of Chabad Tucson said our connection to G-d is through prayer, and that davening (praying) before reciting the Shema is… Read more »

Tucson’s Next Gen men gain insight on Israel exploration trip

The recent Next Gen Men’s Group trip to Israel was no run of the mill tour. Participants returned believing that Israel-Palestine issues are far more complicated than they thought before the journey, says participant Larry Gellman. What defined the trip for Gellman and others was the unique opportunity to… Read more »

These Jewish groups are fighting — even physically, according to some — behind the scenes

Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, at a Capitol Hill hearing on moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, Nov. 8, 2017. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Last year, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations updated its secret rules to ban “insults, ad hominem attacks, and name-calling” among member organizations and instituted a special committee to consider complaints in strictest confidence. On May 2, the committee met, in strictest confidence,… Read more »

Israel defends Gaza crackdown as self-defense: ‘We are saving human life’

Palestinians protest at the border fence with Israel in Gaza City as mass demonstrations continued on May 14, 2018. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) —  Despite growing condemnation for the deaths of 60 Palestinians on the Gaza border yesterday, Israel defended its military’s actions as an act of self-defense in the face of a mass attack. “We didn’t want it to happen, but we understood these were Hamas’ intentions,” Dani… Read more »

How Israel overcame politics in winning the Eurovision song contest

Winner of the eurovision 2018 song contest Netta Barzilai preforms at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on May 14, 2018. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** úøáåú äåôòä úì àáéá äàéøååéæéåï ðèò

(JTA) — Hours before the Eurovision song contest’s kickoff, Rafi Kishon posted on Facebook a sobering message and a picture of himself wearing a head of lettuce for a hat. Israel’s entrant, he said, didn’t stand a chance of winning in anti-Semitic, anti-Israel Europe. “I’m sorry to disappoint you,”… Read more »

Op-Ed: The #MeToo movement goes to summer camp

(Pxhere)

The #MeToo movement has empowered women to speak up against harassment and abuse. It is heartening to see many men standing as allies and organizations beginning to hold themselves accountable for establishing policies, procedures and transparency and for changing the workplace culture. For those of us working in youth-serving… Read more »