National

Six virtual Jewish film festivals to catch this winter

A scene from "Feeding Our Souls," a Tucson-based documentary that is part of the Tucson International Jewish Film Festival

Virtual Jewish film festivals are providing film buffs with a smorgasbord of options to lift hearts and minds during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The 30th anniversary of the Tucson International Jewish Film Festival, already underway, begins its streaming of “Standing Up, Falling Down” with comedy stars Billy Crystal and… Read more »

Amplifying Voices will continue with virtual civil rights tour

T. Marie King

Amplifying Voices, a six-part virtual series, provides an opportunity to explore the intersectional relationship between the Black and Jewish communities. Launched in October by the Tucson Jewish Community Center and a group of community partners, it will continue on Sunday, Jan. 31 at 4 p.m. with session five, “Learning the Land,… Read more »

Nominate a teen for a $36K leadership award

The Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards are now accepting applications. Up to 15 Jewish teens will be awarded $36,000 each. The Diller Family Foundation, which presents the awards, seeks teens who show “significant initiative and leadership in creating and leading a new initiative – or have considerably deepened or… Read more »

Z3 online event brings big names to talk peoplehood, Israel, and the Diaspora

Todd Rockoff will lead a Z3 lunch and learn on Dec. 13.

This year’s Z3 event won’t be what people might expect. Now in its sixth year, Z3, which originally was dubbed Zionism 3.0, is an opportunity to talk about a wide range of issues in Israel and the Diaspora. But this is definitely not going to be your typical conference, and not… Read more »

‘Avoidance is no longer an option’: This Yom Kippur, rabbis across the country focused their sermons on racial injustice

A photo of George Floyd is pictured on a fence alongside other victims of police brutality in Brooklyn, N.Y., Sept. 24, 2020. (Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

(JTA) — From the coronavirus pandemic to the fires that have ravaged California to the anxiety of our politically polarized moment, there was no shortage of current events for rabbis to mine in their High Holiday sermons this year. But the topic that stood out this year on Yom… Read more »

Hillel International introduces Broadway Kol Nidre

This Sunday evening, Jews around the world will chant the Kol Nidre, the ancient Aramaic incantation repeated three times at the Yom Kippur evening ceremony. Hillel International, embracing the diversity of Jewish tradition, is sharing three distinct versions as part of its Higher Holidays program: A dramatized reading in… Read more »

One Zoom employee saved High Holidays streaming for 300 synagogues

Mitch Tarica is the streaming platform’s director of North American sales. (Courtesy of Tarica)

(JTA) — When Rosh Hashanah begins on Friday night, some 300 synagogues across North America streaming their High Holidays services via Zoom will be able to set it and forget it thanks largely to one man: Mitch Tarica. Tarica is the streaming platform’s director of North American sales. He’s… Read more »

A tale of two High Holidays: Why Orthodox Jews are going to synagogue while everyone else is on Zoom

A socially distanced outdoor service at the Green Road Synagogue in suburban Cleveland, June 2020. (Courtesy of Rabbi Binyamin Blau)

(JTA) – At the Jewish Center on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, this year’s High Holidays will be anything but normal. With eight services happening in various spaces throughout the building, on the roof and in the street (closed off to facilitate services), approximately 400 people will gather for socially distanced… Read more »

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, first Jewish woman to serve on Supreme Court, dies at 87

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg participates in a discussion at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., Feb. 10, 2020. (Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the first Jewish woman to serve on the Supreme Court and a tireless advocate for gender equality, has died at 87. A fierce jurist known for her outsized presence and outspokenness, Ginsburg died from “complications of metastatic pancreas cancer,” the Supreme Court announced… Read more »

COVID positivity rates spike in Orthodox neighborhoods in New York City, with large weddings eyed as a culprit

A Hasidic man wears a protective face mask while visiting The Vessel at the Hudson Yards on September 3, 2020 in New York City. (Noam Galai/Getty Images)

(JTA) – Rising fears about a second wave of coronavirus cases in New York City’s Orthodox communities appear to be coming to pass, with the proportion of tests turning up cases of the disease more than four times the citywide rate in one heavily Orthodox neighborhood in newly released… Read more »

Yeshiva University rejects LGBTQ club, saying it will support students in other ways

Israelis take part in the annual Israel's Gay Pride parade hosted by Jerusalem on June 25, 2009. Photo Nati Shohat /FLASH90

(JTA) — Yeshiva University rejected the formation of a campus group for queer students but said it was putting in place new policies to help LGBTQ students feel safe. The flagship Modern Orthodox college in New York sent a statement to students Thursday addressing a yearlong battle over whether… Read more »

The COVID-19 pandemic has been buffeting American Jewry for months. What lies ahead?

Boston's Jewish community has unveiled a memorial to COVID-19 victims even as the pandemic continues. (Courtesy Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts)

(JTA) — Hundreds of synagogues have been shuttered for months. Jewish organizations are slashing budgets and staff. Jewish community centers, saddled with empty gyms and child care centers, have laid off masses of employees. Jewish camps closed this summer, Jewish day schools will hold only virtual sessions in the… Read more »

10-page summary of new Movement for Black Lives platform contains no mention of Israel, 4 years after divisive condemnation

More than 600 Jewish organizations signed a Black Lives Matter ad published in the New York Times print edition Aug. 28, 2020.

(JTA) — Four years ago, the Movement for Black Lives put out a platform that, among a long list of detailed policy recommendations, accused Israel of genocide. Several major Jewish organizations expressed their outrage and put out statements condemning the platform. On Friday, the Movement for Black Lives convened… Read more »