News

I am a rabbi, and my place was in Charlottesville

The scene at the entrance to Emancipation Park during the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 12, 2017. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(JTA) — I was in Charlottesville on Saturday. I felt called to go because white supremacy is a hateful ideology that has murdered millions throughout history and continues to kill. I went because my family and ancestors suffered at the hands of anti-Semites throughout history, because I bear their… Read more »

OP-ED Our president just asked us to be fair to white supremacists

President Donald Trump speaking to the media at Trump Tower in New York City, Aug. 15, 2017. Looking on, from left, are Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council; Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin; Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao; and Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — There was a moment in his “neo-Nazi, neo-Shmazi” news conference where you might have found yourself thinking, maybe President Trump is right. On the narrow question of who was responsible for the violence in Charlottesville, a prosecutor might note that punches were thrown by white… Read more »

Polish Jews spar over community bosses’ criticism of government

From left: Rabbi Shalom Stembler, head of Chabad Poland; Polish actor and director Artur Hofman; Jaroslaw Kaczynski, head of Poland's Law and Justice party; Jonny Daniels, head of From the Depths; and Rabbi Eliezer Gurary, head of Chabad Krakow, following their meeting in Warsaw, Aug. 16, 2017. (Courtesy of From the Depths)

(JTA) — The president of Poland’s largest Jewish group accused other Jewish leaders of exaggerating the country’s anti-Semitism problem as part of a “political war” on the right-wing ruling party. Artur Hofman, who heads the TSKZ cultural organization of Polish Jews, defended the government Wednesday during an interview with… Read more »

What you need to know about antifa, the group that fought white supremacists in Charlottesville

Protesters and counterprotesters clashing at Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 12, 2017. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Is it OK to punch a Nazi in the face? That’s the question animating much of the discussion of Saturday’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which quickly devolved into a brawl between rally-goers and a contingent of anti-fascist counterprotesters known as antifa. Following the clashes, a… Read more »

Hate in Charlottesville: The day the Nazi called me Shlomo

White supremacists rally in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 12, 2017. (Ron Kampeas)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (JTA) — The white supremacists, for all their vaunted purpose, appeared to be disoriented. Some 500 had gathered at a park here Saturday to protest this southern Virginia city’s plans to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from the park. Pressured by the American Civil Liberties… Read more »

A guide to the far-right groups that protested in Charlottesville

White supremacists spar with counterprotesters as they attempt to guard the entrance to Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 12, 2017. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(JTA) — They believe the “white race” is in danger. They believe the United States was built by and for white people and must now embrace fascism. They believe minorities are taking over the country. And they believe an international Jewish conspiracy is behind the threat. These are the… Read more »

Charlottesville’s Jewish mayor is an expert on demagogues, and now on anti-Semitism

Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer speaking on "Meet the Press," Aug. 14, 2017. (Screenshot from YouTube)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (JTA) — Michael Signer, the Jewish mayor of Charlottesville, has one thing in common with the white supremacists who descended on his southern Virginia city over the weekend: He also opposed the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Of course, Signer’s reasons for… Read more »

These Jewish women are running for office because of Donald Trump

Lisa Mandelblatt, center, campaigns in New Jersey's 7th district. (Courtesy of Mandelblatt)

  WASHINGTON (JTA) — Emily’s List, the organization that encourages women to run for office, reported in April that inquiries from women about running for office on the local, state and national level have skyrocketed — from 900 during the 2016 election cycle to 11,000 since Donald Trump’s election as president. How… Read more »

This Holocaust monument in Belarus is haunting — and subversive

"The Unbowed Man" statue at the Khatyn Memorial in Belarus commemorates Yuzif Kaminsky, a survivor of Nazi atrocities, and his slain son Adam. (John Oldale/Wikimedia Commons)

KHATYN, Belarus (JTA) — Even by Soviet standards, the massive memorial complex near Minsk to the victims of Nazi atrocities stands out for its immense scale and ambition. Spread across half a million square feet — roughly the size of 10 football fields — the haunting Khatyn Memorial is… Read more »

How Curious George’s creators saved the beloved monkey from the Nazis

Margret and H. A. Rey in Hamburg, Germany, May 1973. (Ullstein bild via Getty Images)

(JTA) — Curious George — that curious little monkey — is beloved by millions of readers around the world. His adventures with the Man With the Yellow Hat impart important life lessons amidst silliness and mayhem. But many people probably don’t know that the children’s book character was actually… Read more »

Former top national security officials urge Trump to stick to Iran nuclear deal

President Donald Trump, left, and Stephen Bannon at the swearing-in of senior staff at the White House, Jan. 22, 2017. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

(JTA) A bipartisan array of former top national security officials urged President Donald Trump to stick to the Iran nuclear deal, saying that war with Iran is “more imaginable” today than it has been in five years. The statement was published Tuesday on the website of the magazine of… Read more »

New Israeli ‘shinshinim’ bring youthful energy to Tucson

Chen Dinatzi (left) and Tamir Shecory (Courtesy Tamir Shecory)

The Tucson Jewish community’s new shinshinim arrived July 31, and the two teen emissaries from Israel couldn’t be more excited. Chen Dinatzi and Tamir Shecory, both 18, were among 115 Israeli high school graduates, out of more than 2,000 applicants, selected for the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Shinshinim Young… Read more »

Tucsonans enjoy unforgettable Israel experience at Maccabiah Games

The Maccabi USA Youth Men’s Basketball team display their gold medals at the 2017 Maccabiah Games in Israel. Front row (L-R): Tucsonan Sam Beskind, Caleb Milobsky, Jackson Blaufeld, Max Leibowitz, Griffin Levine, Coach Brian Seitz; back row: Coach Jeff Klein, Amitai Afenjar, Gabriel Ravetz, Casey Ring, Bryan Knapp, Daniel Schlakman, Abraham Rosow, Ben Lubarsky, Coach Howard Fisher (Courtesy Sam Beskind)

Whether they made it to the medals podium or not, six participants with Tucson ties who went to Israel last month for the 20th Maccabiah Games, known as “the Jewish Olympics,” say the experience was priceless. “Softball is why I came to Israel, but Israel really came to me… Read more »

Mission to Ukraine, Israel shows power of JFSA giving

Incoming Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona Campaign Chair Ronnie Sebold with Sonia, a teenage Ethiopian immigrant, at the Ben Shemen Youth Village in Israel on July 13 (Courtesy Ronnie Sebold)

A few months ago, I accepted the daunting responsibility to chair the 2018 campaign for the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona. I have been a staunch supporter of the Federation since I moved to Tucson 37 years ago, and having recently retired from Tucson Hebrew Academy as their director of… Read more »

In Tucson, JAFI partnership director discusses new P2G programs, Jewish unity

(L-R) Andrea Arbel, partnership director at the Jewish Agency for Israel; Stuart Mellan, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona; and Shelly Silverman, JFSA chair, at a lunch meeting in Tucson July 19 (Oshrat Barel/JFSA)

The Tucson/Kiryat Malachi/Hof Ashkelon partnership “is amazing,” says Andrea Arbel, director of the partnership unit at the Jewish Agency for Israel. “It has grown and developed over the past five years in ways, I would say, that I never dreamed of.” Arbel spent a day in Tucson last month… Read more »

The corruption scandals plaguing Benjamin Netanyahu and his family, explained

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and wife Sara on their way to Greece for a two-day state official visit, June 14. ( Photo: Amos Ben Gershom/Israeli Government Press Office/Flash90)

  (JTA) — He has a firm grip on the government, but a mounting political scandal might bring him down. Officials from his own party have begun to distance themselves from him, but he remains defiant. Oh, and his son is in trouble, too. Just one more thing Benjamin Netanyahu has… Read more »