Stephen Bannon: ‘I’m proud to be a Christian Zionist’

Stephen Bannon speaking at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., October 23, 2017. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Stephen Bannon, the former chief strategist for President Donald Trump, called himself a “Christian Zionist” at the Zionist Organization of America’s annual dinner. He also praised Republican Jewish megadonor Sheldon Adelson for his help in guiding Trump through a sexual assault scandal. Bannon, at what… Read more »

Hummus among us: Chefs debate what makes Israeli food Israeli

WASHINGTON (JTA) — It’s lunch break during a one-day conference on “Israeli Cuisine as a Reflection of Israeli Society” — so naturally I’m eating lunch. Everything on my white plastic plate can be considered Israeli food. There is a burek (which originally heralds from Spain, by way of Turkey),… Read more »

It’s Jew vs. Jew as Congress weighs a new definition for anti-Semitism

Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center testifies before the House Judiciary Committee, Nov. 7, 2017. (Screenshot from YouTube)

  WASHINGTON (JTA) — Jewish and pro-Israel leaders exchanged heated remarks at a congressional hearing on how to define anti-Semitism. Tuesday’s hearing of the House Judiciary Committee took up a bill that would, among other things, define as anti-Semitism language that “demonizes” Israel. Of the nine witnesses who addressed the… Read more »

This is what Puerto Rico looks like 50 days after Hurricane Maria

This man in Puerto Rico lives in a nursing home that has not had power since Hurricane Irma. (Josefin Dolsten)

  SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (JTA) — “Feeling lucky today?” reads a flier for a casino tucked into the seat pocket of Adolfo Vasquez’s car. The car actually belongs to his wife, Vasquez explains. He borrowed hers, which is bigger, to drive a group from the San Juan Airport… Read more »

Here are 5 Jewish takeaways from Election Day

Ralph Northam, Virginia's governor-elect, greeting supporters at an election night rally in Fairfax, Nov. 7, 2017. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The big post-Election Day headline is the stunning Democratic sweep in Virginia’s gubernatorial and House elections, coupled with the predicted Democratic win of the governor’s mansion in New Jersey. Republicans are wondering what this says about the train that was Trumpism. In Virginia, Ed Gillespie was… Read more »

OP-ED The Conservative movement can, and should, welcome the intermarried

(JTA) — Contemporary Jewish life is graced by extraordinary blessing: We are the heirs of a Torah of compassion and justice that has grown ever more supple and vibrant because of the dynamic nature of halachah (Jewish law) and the opportunity to observe mitzvot (commandments). At the same time,… Read more »

Furious Schumer rejects Trump’s personal criticism after NYC terror attack

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. accused President Donald Trump of “politicizing” the deadly attack in New York after Trump blamed Schumer for the immigration program that purportedly allowed in the attacker. “I have always believed and continue to believe that immigration is good for America,” Schumer,  he… Read more »

What did Jared know? Plus other Jewish takes on the Russia Affair

Robert Mueller, center, at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., June 21, 2017. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

  WASHINGTON (JTA) — Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating whether President Donald Trump’s campaign had ties with Russia, issued two indictments this week and unsealed a guilty plea. Paul Manafort, who for several months last year helmed the Trump campaign, and an associate, Rick Gates, who remained with… Read more »

8 killed in suspected truck-ramming terror attack in NY

This is a developing story. NEW YORK (JTA) — Eight people were killed and nearly a dozen were injured when a truck rammed into a crowd in downtown New York City in what the mayor called “an act of terror.” The suspect, who was driving a truck, hit people… Read more »

Jews for Jesus commissioned a study on Jewish millennials. Here’s what it found.

The Barna group conducted a study involving 599 Jews born from 1984 to 1999. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Are Jewish millennials the most religious generation? And do one-fifth of them think Jesus was God in human form? Yes and yes, says a new survey of 599 Jews born from 1984 to 1999. The survey creates a contradictory portrait of Jewish millennials: These young… Read more »

IsraAID brings Israeli relief skills to the American season of disasters

Niveen Rizkalla working with IsraAID in Santa Rosa, Calif., in the wake of deadly wildfires there.(Courtesy of IsraAID

WASHINGTON (JTA) — For 17 years, the Israeli NGO IsraAID has been performing search and rescue, purifying water, providing emergency medical assistance and walking victims of trauma back to psychological health in dozens of disaster-hit countries. But no season has been busier than this past summer and fall, its… Read more »

McConnell allies label Bannon a white supremacist, infuriating Jewish conservatives

Stephen Bannon speaking at a campaign event for then Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore in Fairhope, Alabama, Sept. 25, 2017. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — As former White House strategist Stephen Bannon declares war on the Republican establishment, a faction linked to the Senate GOP leadership is firing back with the kind of charges previously heard from Democrats and Never-Trumpers when Bannon ran Trump’s campaign and sat in the White House.… Read more »

An Israeli chef in New York wants to shake up the way you think about spices

Lior Lev Sercarz teaches spice blending classes and sells spices at La Boite in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. (Josefin Dolsten)

NEW YORK (JTA) — For many home cooks, spices are an afterthought, sprinkled on a dish lacking in flavor. Israeli-born, French-educated chef Lior Lev Sercarz wants to change that. “If you want to make good food and beverages you need to know about spices, and I would like to… Read more »

Why victims of terrorism care about a Philly fistfight in 1784

Israeli police and aid workers searching the scene of a suicide bomb attack on a bus in Tel Aviv, Sept. 19, 2002. (Rahanan Cohen/IDF/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The case of Joseph Jesner v. Arab Bank is a bid by about 6,000 Israelis who have been harmed by Palestinian terrorism to get redress from Jordan’s Arab Bank, which delivered money to the groups carrying out the acts. Yet when the U.S. Supreme Court heard… Read more »

Conservative movement doubles down on intermarriage and its rabbis ask why

Conservative movement doubles down on intermarriage and its rabbis ask why

NEW YORK (JTA) — “It doesn’t help.” “I don’t know how it happened or why it happened.” “The most common response I’m seeing is confusion.” That’s what some Conservative rabbis are saying about their movement’s recent major statement on intermarriage, which reasserts the ban on rabbis performing interfaith weddings… Read more »

Orthodox Union’s new project says women don’t need to be rabbis to be leaders

Adina Shmidman, a doctor of educational psychology and the founder of a mentoring program for rabbis' wives, will be the first director of the Orthodox Union's new Department of Women's Initiatives. (Courtesy of the O.U.)

NEW YORK (JTA) — The Orthodox Union is founding its own division to advance women as congregational leaders, as well as to promote Jewish study and communal participation for women in Modern Orthodoxy. The announcement comes nearly nine months after the group, an umbrella association of centrist Orthodox synagogues,… Read more »

State anti-BDS laws are hitting unintended targets and nobody’s happy

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signing his state's anti-BDS bill at a Jewish community center in Austin, May 2, 2017. (Office of the Texas Governor)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — On May 2, Israel’s Independence Day, Texas state Rep. Phil King stood smiling as Gov. Greg Abbott signed King’s bill banning the state from doing business with boycotters of Israel. “Anti-Israel policies are anti-Texas policies, and we will not tolerate such actions against an important ally,”… Read more »