National

Miami Jewish teen dies in fall from 9th-floor balcony

(JTA) — A student at the Hebrew Academy of Miami died in a fall from the ninth story of his high-rise condominium building. Samuel Farkas of Miami Beach was locked out of his family’s ninth-floor condo on Tuesday evening and was trying to climb down the balcony from the floor… Read more »

After Pittsburgh, some synagogues are more comfortable with guns in the pews

Rabbi Peter Berg of The Temple in Atlanta speaks at an interfaith prayer vigil following the Pittsburgh shooting last year. (Ellis Vener)

(JTA) — On an average Saturday morning at the Orthodox Ohel Tefillah synagogue on Chicago’s North Side, about 10 percent of the men carry a handgun. That number may seem high in a liberal city with some of the strictest gun laws in the country. But in the aftermath… Read more »

Meet the 27-year-old female rabbi leading a NY Jewish federation

Rabbi Rachel Rubenstein is trying to engage young families in her role as executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County, New York. (Gail Conklin for the Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Rabbi Rachel Rubenstein knows that in the age of Kickstarter, getting young people to give to a Jewish federation can be a hard sell. “In today’s culture, we can go straight to the GoFundMe, and fund so hyper-specifically what you want to fund,” she told… Read more »

‘Game of Thrones’ creator George R.R. Martin discovers he’s nearly a quarter Jewish on ‘Finding Your Roots’

George R.R. Martin, left, shown with "Finding Your Roots" host Henry Louis Gates, Jr., was shocked by his DNA test. (Courtesy of McGee Media/Ark Media)

(JTA) — PBS’ celebrity genealogy show “Finding Your Roots” has had plenty of Jewish guests — Bernie Sanders, Larry David, Paul Rudd and Scarlett Johansson — and the occasional guest, like Paul Ryan, who learn they have a Jewish ancestor on their family tree. But the season five premiere, which airs… Read more »

How Facebook monitors harmful content: 5 takeaways

(JTA) — Facebook founder Marc Zuckerberg insists that the massive social network is a force for good, but the company keeps getting called out for being slow or unable to curb the worst tendencies of users and abusers. In the latest probe of its practices, The New York Times scrutinizes… Read more »

The story behind Frank Sinatra’s $10,000 yarmulke

Sinatra received the yarmulke at a fundraiser for a Jewish school in New Jersey in 1981. (Courtesy of Pauline Schwartz)

(JTA) — When a huge auction was held at Sotheby’s last month of items belonging to Frank Sinatra and his wife Barbara, the item that made the most headlines was one of the smallest: a hand-knit yarmulke, owned by Frank, which was purchased for nearly $10,000 by an unknown… Read more »

A millionaire’s plan to rebuild an Alabama Jewish community may be going south

Rabbi Lynne Goldsmith, center, who retired as rabbi of Temple Emanu-El in Dothan, Ga., in 2017, speaks on a local interfaith panel in 2014. (Bob Howard/The Village Square/Flickr)

(JTA) — Seven years ago, Lisa and Kenny Priddle left New York to help build up the Jewish community of the small Alabama town of Dothan. They were attracted by the idea of shoring up the Jewish community in the South and also by the offer of a $50,000… Read more »

Jews of Dothan, Alabama, say their neighbors are not anti-Semites

(JTA) — Jewish leaders from Dothan, Alabama, say their non-Jewish neighbors were unfairly smeared as intolerant in an article about a Jewish couple’s dilemma over staying in the town. A Washington Post article published last week profiled Lisa and Kenny Priddle, who took an offer of up to $50,000… Read more »

Bernie Sanders staffers allege ‘sexual violence’ during 2016 campaign

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Veterans of Bernie Sanders insurgent 2016 campaign for the presidency want the Vermont senator to meet with them to discuss “sexual violence and harassment” on the campaign as he contemplates whether to run in 2020. “In recent weeks there has been an ongoing conversation on social… Read more »

The New York Times says a Palestinian medic’s death in Gaza could be a war crime

Palestinian protesters during clashes with Israeli security forces on the Gaza-Israeli border, Sept. 14, 2018. (Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

(JTA) — The New York Times devoted much of its front page and three inside pages Sunday to a reconstruction of the circumstances surrounding the June death of a Palestinian medic during riots at the Israeli fence with Gaza. The newspaper concludes that the shooting of 20-year-old Rouzan al-Najjar by an Israeli soldier “appears… Read more »