National

Richard Spencer will soon speak at the university with the largest Jewish student body in the US

White supremacist leader Richard Spencer, center, and supporters clashing with police after the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Va., was declared unlawful, Aug. 12, 2017. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(JTA) — The University of Florida, home to the largest Jewish student body in the country, is bracing for an upcoming speech on campus by white supremacist leader Richard Spencer. Only six weeks after Hurricane Irma wrought destruction in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott declared another state of emergency, this… Read more »

Trump is ready to decertify the Iran deal. What does that mean?

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif at the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Sept. 20, 2017. (Kevin Hagen/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Donald Trump will present a major foreign policy speech this week on the Iran nuclear deal, reportedly decertifying its compliance with the 2015 agreement. His words, ostensibly, will have consequences. Or perhaps not because of the type of decertification Trump reportedly is choosing. Or everything… Read more »

OP-ED As Orthodox community grows, study of all Jews reveals stark contrasts

The Orthodox Union's youth organization sold more than 4,000 tickets to Six Flags Great Adventure on the first day of chol hamoed, Passover's intermediate days, April 25, 2016. (Uriel Heilman)

  (JTA) — The 2013 Pew survey “A Portrait of Jewish Americans” shows that Orthodox Judaism, while currently attracting the allegiance of only about 10 percent of all American Jews, is the fastest growing sector of the community. The high birthrate and retention rate confirmed by the survey have led some observers to predict that within a generation, American Jewry will… Read more »

OP-ED Why I traveled to Las Vegas to help after the deadly shooting

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 2: Mourners attend a candlelight vigil at the corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard for the victims of Sunday night's mass shooting, October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Late Sunday night, a lone gunman killed more than 50 people and injured more than 500 people after he opened fire on a large crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music festival. The massacre is one of the deadliest mass shooting events in U.S. history. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

  LAS VEGAS (JTA) — We just got into our car and drove. Going to Las Vegas after the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history felt like the right thing to do. As Americans and as Jews, we wanted to be a source of support and love in the face… Read more »

An Israeli trauma expert predicted a Las Vegas attack three years ago

Dr. Avi Rivkind. in scrubs, cares for an injured person. Rivkind has pioneered treatments for terror victims based on his experience in Israel. (Courtesy of Hadassah Medical Center)

(JTA) — When Dr. Avi Rivkind landed in Las Vegas three years ago to lecture as a trauma care expert, he saw something that troubled him. The airport, McCarran International, felt too open, almost exposed. He felt no less comfortable on the city’s Strip while watching crowds flow from… Read more »

Five key takeaways from a new survey about Modern Orthodox Jews

Children sitting at the Park East Synagogue, a Modern Orthodox congregation in New York City, March 3, 2017. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

  NEW YORK (JTA) — The Orthodox Jewish world is even more fragmented than you think. That’s the key takeaway from a study published Thursday of Modern Orthodox Jews in the U.S., a group that adheres to traditional Jewish law while engaging with the secular world. Some of them think women… Read more »

ANALYSIS Why Trump’s UN speech thrilled Netanyahu — for the moment, anyway

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu takes his seat before President Donald Trump's speech to the General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, Sept. 19, 2017. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS Why Trump‘s UN speech thrilled Netanyahu — for the moment, anyway By Ron Kampeas WASHINGTON (JTA) — The number of times President Donald Trump mentioned Iran or its derivatives in his U.N. speech? Twelve, and each time to emphasize its threat. The number of times he mentioned the Palestinians or derivatives?… Read more »

Federations create hurricane relief fund

Rescue workers and volunteers help residents make their way out of a flooded neighborhood in Houston following Hurricane Harvey, Aug. 29, 2017. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona is joining with the Jewish Federations of North America to help the victims of Hurricane Irma, which battered the Caribbean and the eastern United States earlier this month. At least 42 people in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina have died as a result… Read more »

Why Obama’s former speechwriter calls him the most Jewish president ever

David Litt, center, with President Obama and actor Keegan-Michael Key at the White House. (Courtesy of Litt)

(JTA) — He was just 24, but speechwriter David Litt had already become President Barack Obama’s go-to guy for anything considered “kishke-related.” In Litt’s parlance, that meant he wrote the president’s speeches aiming to connect with Jewish Americans on a gut level — things like holiday and anniversary commemorations,… Read more »

After a year of terror, the Jews of Whitefish, Montana, look ahead

From left: Whitefish Mayor John Muhlfeld, Rabbi Francine Green Roston and Paul Goldenberg, the director of Secure Community Network, Aug. 25, 2017. The Whitefish Jewish community was subjected to an onslaught of anti-Semitic harassment over the past year. (Courtesy of Goldenberg)

  (JTA) — Around the picnic tables at Whitefish City Beach on the final Shabbat eve of last month, the Montana town’s tiny Jewish community shared kosher hot dogs, veggie burgers and memories of terror. In a year when white supremacists have been ascendant, at least in their public… Read more »

How Houston’s synagogues are handling the High Holidays after Harvey

A room in United Orthodox Synagogues of Houston, stripped of its furniture and floors. (Courtesy of United Orthodox Synagogues)

  {JTA) — A few weeks ago, Holly Davies was getting ready to homeschool her kids and preparing the family for the High Holidays. When Hurricane Harvey hit, she helped evacuate 150 people from her neighborhood by airboat and shelter nearly 100 people in a local church. Then came… Read more »

This Jewish man was once New York’s toughest cop. Now he’s a TV star.

Ralph Friedman stars in "Street Justice: The Bronx" on the Discovery Channel. (Courtesy of the Discovery Channel)

(JTA) — There are almost as many reality cop shows on television as there are Real Housewives. “Cops” is the granddaddy of them all, in its 30th season, plus there’s “Night Watch” and “Live PD,” to name just a few. The newest is “Street Justice: The Bronx,” which premieres… Read more »

American Jews overwhelmingly disapprove of Trump, poll finds

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump observing a moment of silence for the victims of Sept. 11, 2001 on the South Lawn of the White House, Sept. 11, 2017. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — American Jews overwhelmingly disapprove of President Donald Trump in just about every area, scoring him lower than his predecessor even on topics like Israel, where Jewish approval of Barack Obama was relatively low, according to an American Jewish Committee poll. The survey also shows a sharp… Read more »

These Christians celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

A Living Church of God congregation in San Diego celebrates the Feast of Tabernacles -- the church's name for Sukkot -- in 2016. (Courtesy of the Living Church of God)

  NEW YORK (JTA) — On the night of Rosh Hashanah, thousands of people will leave work, gather in congregations across the globe and worship God, the ruler of the world. Ten days later they will begin a fast and gather again to pray, this time atoning for their… Read more »

OP-ED From Rome to Charlottesville, a statue is never just a statue

The Arch of Titus at the Imperial Forums in Rome. (DeAgostini/Getty Images)

  NEW YORK (JTA) — French historian Pierre Nora spent his life describing and explaining “places of memory,” sites commemorating significant moments in the history of a community that continue to resonate and transform from generation to generation. For the French Republic, the Arc de Triomphe is one such… Read more »

OP-ED Billy Joel wore a yellow Jewish star. Thanks, but the trend should stop there.

Billy Joel performs at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Aug. 21, 2017. (Myrna M. Suarez/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Few artifacts of the Holocaust move me like the yellow star. Homely and seemingly innocuous, they sit in museum cases either by themselves or still attached to a jacket or blouse, the stitching rough and the lettering surprisingly crude. They are almost comically, cartoonishly blunt,… Read more »

Rabbi leads a team of spiritual first responders in storm-tossed Texas

Rabbi Shira Stern of Marlboro, N.J., is a disaster spiritual care provider for the American Red Cross. (Courtesy of Stern)

(JTA) — It was a day before Hurricane Harvey was due to make landfall, and Rabbi Shira Stern knew she was headed for Texas. As a director of Disaster Spiritual Care for the American Red Cross, she knew there would be people who would have other needs beyond shelter,… Read more »

Jewish summer camps are reopening to host Houston victims

Rescue workers and volunteers help residents make their way out of a flooded neighborhood after it was inundated with rain following Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Aug. 29, 2017. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Three weeks ago, Lauren Laderman left Camp Young Judaea-Texas after serving as the unit head for 14-year-olds this summer. Then Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast, and Laderman was back at camp, this time preparing the cabins for evacuees in need of a place to live. On Tuesday,… Read more »