National

Why Stephen Miller’s childhood rabbi singled him out in his Rosh Hashanah sermon

WEST PALM BEACH, FL - APRIL 18: White House Senior Advisor Stephen Miller arrives before the start of a news conference by President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hold a news conference at Mar-a-Lago resort on April 18, 2018 in West Palm Beach, Florida. The two leaders are meeting for a multi-day working meeting where they are discussing world events. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels didn’t mince words when he criticized Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to President Donald Trump and a former congregant of his Southern California synagogue, in his Rosh Hashanah sermon. “Honestly, Mr. Miller, you’ve set back the Jewish contribution to making the world spiritually whole… Read more »

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan says she had ‘a very strange Jewish upbringing’

Elena Kagan, left, speaking with journalist Dahlia Lithwick at the Hannah Senesh Community Day School in Brooklyn, Sept. 12, 2018. (Matthew Sussman for Hannah Senesh Community Day School)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, appearing at a Jewish day school in Brooklyn, spoke about her Jewish background and how her family jumped from synagogue to synagogue. “I had a very strange Jewish upbringing actually,” Kagan, 58, told journalist Dahlia Lithwick, who moderated the Wednesday… Read more »

How a Herman Wouk novel shaped the debate over removing an unfit president

Humphrey Bogart speaking to Fred MacMurray and the rest of his men in a scene from the film 'The Caine Mutiny', 1954. (Photo by Columbia Pictures/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — It’s hard to follow the news these last weeks without running into a reference to the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which provides for the removal from office of a president unfit to serve. Questions about Donald Trump’s capacity to govern arise in “Fear,” Bob… Read more »

Trump administration to close PLO office in Washington

The Trump administration ordered the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington D.C. “We have permitted the PLO office to conduct operations that support the objective of achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between Israelis and the Palestinians since the expiration of a previous waiver in November 2017,”… Read more »

SodaStream is behind this 20-foot Statue of Liberty replica drowning in plastic bottles

This SodaStream display was set up in New York City to raise awareness of the negative consequences of one-use plastic bottles, Sept. 5, 2018. (Josefin Dolsten)

By Josefin Dolsten NEW YORK (JTA) — Tourists and locals wandering around Flatiron Plaza in downtown Manhattan were met with an unusual sight: a 20-foot replica of the Statue of Liberty standing in a steel cage filled with empty plastic bottles and metal cans. On the other side of… Read more »

Education Department reopens probe of anti-Semitism allegations at Rutgers

The Old Queens building at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. (Wikimedia Commons)

NEW YORK (JTA) — An investigation into an allegedly anti-Semitic incident at Rutgers University is being reopened by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. Kenneth Marcus, the department’s new assistant secretary for civil rights, wrote in a letter last week that a pro-Palestinian event at the… Read more »

Rahm Emanuel will leave a city — and Jewish community — divided about his legacy as mayor

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, with wife Amy, announces that he will not seek a third term at a City Hall news conference, Sept. 4, 2018. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)

(JTA) — As Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel prepares to exit City Hall after eight years in office, his Jewish supporters tout his commitment to helping people and his record of economic development in the city. His Jewish detractors, meanwhile, call out his closing of dozens of Chicago public schools… Read more »

Sen. John McCain remembered as war hero, strong supporter of human rights and Israel

U.S. Sens. John McCain and Joseph Lieberman, right, place notes in the Western Wall in Jerusalem, March 19, 2008. (Brian Hendler/JTA)

Six-term Arizona Republican Sen. John Sydney McCain III, 81, died at the family ranch in Sedona, Arizona, Aug. 26, one day after declining further treatment for brain cancer. Today, he lies in state in the U.S. Capitol, where a formal ceremony will take place in the Capitol Rotunda at… Read more »

Amid controversy, NY State Senate candidate aims to clarify her Jewish identity

Supporters of Julia Salazar back the New York State Senate candidate at a news conference in Brooklyn, N.Y., Aug. 6, 2018. (Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

NEW YORK (JTA) — New York State Senate candidate Julia Salazar is pushing back against an article on a Jewish website describing discrepancies in her Jewish and family biography. Salazar, 27, a democratic socialist running for a seat in Brooklyn’s 18th district, has been profiled in various Jewish and… Read more »

Nazi camp guard Jakiw Palij deported from U.S. to Germany

The view down an alley off the street where Nazi camp guard Jakiw Palij lived in Queens, N.Y., Dec. 4, 2017. (Celeste Sloman for the Washington Post)

(JTA) — A former guard at a Nazi concentration camp was deported to Germany overnight from the United States, where he had lived for decades. Jakiw Palij, 95, had lived in Queens, New York. He served as a guard at the Trawniki concentration camp near Lublin, Poland, during World… Read more »

Why Spike Lee’s ‘BlacKkKlansman’ is a cautionary tale for 21st-century Jews

"BlacKkKlansman" tells the story of two cops -- a black and a Jew -- infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan in 1972. (Screenshot from YouTube)

Spoilers for “BlacKkKlansman” below. NEW YORK (JTA) — In 1965, two young Jewish men, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, were murdered along with black activist James Chaney by Ku Klux Klansmen in a Southern horror memorialized in the 1988 film “Mississippi Burning.” My own Jew-adjacent summer camp showed the film to… Read more »

Ruth Bader Ginsburg action figures will ship this fall

This Ruth Bader Ginsburg action figure is being sold by a Brooklyn-based company. (Fctry via Kickstarter)

(JTA) — Fans of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg can already buy a plethora of items with her face on it, including T-shirts, mugs and prayer candles. Soon they will be able to add another keepsake to their collections: an RBG action figure. If the amount of money raised to produce the… Read more »

Does ‘Three Identical Strangers’ play fair with its audience?

"Three Identical Strangers" is a documentary about triplets separated at birth by a Jewish-affiliated adoption agency in 1961. (Courtesy of NEON)

NEW YORK (JTA) — A critical consensus has formed around the hit documentary film “Three Identical Strangers,” which can be summarized in the title of one of its glowing reviews: “‘Three Identical Strangers’ Is as Unnerving as It Is Thrilling.” This story of three triplets, reunited as teenagers after… Read more »

Progressives have a new definition of racism: prejudice plus power. What does that mean for Jews?

Sarah Jeong's anti-white tweets prompted a debate over the definition of racism and, subsequently, anti-Semitism. (Illustration by Charles Dunst/JTA; photo: Wikimedia Commons)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Are Jews too powerful to be considered “victims” of racism? Some progressives think so and have been downplaying accusations of anti-Semitism in light of a debate over prejudice and power. This week, The New York Times took heat for hiring Sarah Jeong, a technology writer,… Read more »

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez cheered at arts conference hosted by Jewish museum

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appears on "Meet the Press," July 1, 2018. (William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic congressional candidate and rising progressive star, was cheered at an event at a Jewish museum that did not touch on Israel or the Jewish community. Ocasio-Cortez appeared at a conference here hosted by the Immigrant Arts Coalition at the Museum of… Read more »

Gender nonbinary activist Kate Bornstein seeks to shatter stereotypes in Broadway’s ‘Straight White Men’

Kate Bornstein after the opening night of "Straight White Men" in New York City, July 23, 2018. (Walter McBride/WireImage)

(JTA) — The Hayes Theater in New York, currently home to the Broadway show “Straight White Men,” has just opened its doors, and Kate Bornstein is already patrolling the orchestra seating area. There’s an unusual cacophony of rap music and flashing lights in the theater during the preshow. As… Read more »

How Judaism and a yearlong trip around the country inspired a Colorado woman to run for office

Dafna Michaelson Jenet says her experiences in BBYO and Hadassah gave her “the underpinnings I needed to be a legislator.” (Sophia Laster)

(JTA) — Dafna Michaelson Jenet traces her political career back to conversations around the Shabbat table as a 14-year-old. She remembers hearing her parents and their friends discuss the challenges facing Cincinnati, where they were living. But the conversations would quickly be forgotten once the day of rest came… Read more »

You need to know about this trailblazing Jewish mom

(Kveller via JTA) – On Nov. 22, 1909, at a massive workers meeting held at Cooper Union, Clara Lemlich Shavelson made herself known. In Yiddish, she declared, “I am tired of listening to speakers who talk in general terms. …  I move that we go on a general strike!”… Read more »