National

Meet the challah-tinkering yeast scientist who’s helping pandemic bread bakers get a good rise

Sudeep Agarwala is a yeast scientist and challah enthusiast whose guidance for home bakers has taken off online. (Courtesy of Agarwala)

(JTA) — Few people have any great solutions for this difficult moment in human history, but Sudeep Agarwala is one of them. As a yeast scientist, Agarwala spends much of his time thinking about the single-celled fungi that allow bread to rise. So when he learned that home bakers… Read more »

The coronavirus hasn’t stopped immigration to Israel

Israeli travelers enjoy a celebratory arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, March 23, 2020. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Aviva Karoly, an attorney originally from Queens, New York, and her husband, Tzvi, were raised in religious Zionist homes and always dreamed of living in Israel. In preparation, the couple had sent their 6-year old son Adi to a Hebrew-speaking preschool. They also put off purchasing… Read more »

The Bonds of Life: Remembering those we lost to COVID-19

We’re creating space to mourn Jews who are lost to the coronavirus at a time when Jewish mourning practices are nearly impossible to observe. If you’ve lost someone dear to you, we invite you to share their story with us using this form. Maurice Berger, 63, was a noted… Read more »

What Jewish groups want to see in Congress’ $2 trillion pandemic spending bill

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 20: Socially distanced apart, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) attend a meeting with a select group of Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats, and Trump administration officials in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill March 20, 2020 in Washington, DC. The small group of lawmakers and officials are in negotiations about the phase 3 coronavirus stimulus bill, which leaders say they hope to have passed by Monday. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The White House has come to an agreement with Democrats and Republicans on a $2 trillion stimulus package, the biggest in U.S. history, in response to the major economic downturn triggered by the coronavirus. The Senate approved the package, 96-0, at midnight Wednesday. It could undergo… Read more »

‘Painful and deep’: Jewish nonprofits face dire economic prospects during and after coronavirus

The main entrance of the Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center in Denver, July 27, 2018. At the time, the center had staved off financial worries thanks to a newly formed nonprofit that bought its property and infused it with cash to wipe out $14.3 million in debt. (Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Some 38,000 people work at Jewish community centers across North America, staffing preschools, camps, gyms, classes, activities for seniors and more. Because of the coronavirus crisis, a lot of them are going to lose their jobs. “The cuts are going to be painful and deep,”… Read more »

The real reasons coronavirus is spreading in my Hasidic community

JERUSALEM (JTA) —  A vicious rumor has been making the rounds: Hasidim are neglecting to take the coronavirus pandemic seriously because we are selfish. But as someone born and bred in the Satmar community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, who now lives in Jerusalem and writes for Yiddish publications, I can… Read more »

Why Jewish communities are keeping mikvahs open amid the coronavirus outbreak — for now

Women's mikvahs in Israel, like this one in the settlement of Alon Shvut, are still open. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

NEW YORK (JTA) — When the rabbis of New Jersey’s suburban Bergen County took the bold step of shutting down almost all facets of communal Jewish life last week, they left the doors of one institution open: the women’s mikvah, or ritual bath. That pattern has been repeated in… Read more »

I’m a pediatrician who sees kids with coronavirus every day. It’s changed my whole way of life.

Health care providers wear protective equipment, like gloves, but some still get the coronavirus. (Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — I am a pediatrician who for 15 years has practiced in a medical office in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We serve the local Hasidic community and see a variety of other patients from Brooklyn, the Lower East Side and Queens. When the coronavirus emerged… Read more »

3 happy Jewish coronavirus stories to finish the week

(JTA) — After a week in which the headlines seemed to grow more grim by the day, it’s worth remembering that even as cities go dark across the globe, the world continues to turn. Babies are born, people are getting married, and thankfully the sun still rises every morning.… Read more »

Saying Kaddish from balconies and fasting: How Hasidic Jews are responding to the coronavirus

Chabad children in Argentina study in the movement's online school in 2007. During the new coronavirus outbreak, the school has offered guidance to other Jewish schools transitioning to remote learning. (Courtesy of the Nigri International Shluchim Online School)

NEW YORK (JTA) — One of Avi Webb’s favorite times of the week is Sunday morning, when he takes his children to morning prayers at his synagogue and stays for a lesson on Hasidic thought. His kids play at an arts and crafts table while he studies. Webb is… Read more »

5 Jewish NGOs join appeal to Congress for $60 billion cash infusion

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Five Jewish nonprofits are among about 100 that are asking Congress to inject $60 billion into the sector to weather the coronavirus pandemic. The groups in their letter this week say that they are on the frontline of assisting the poor during the crisis and that… Read more »