National

Jewish teens help successful effort to abolish Oakland’s school police force

Satya Zamudio, 15, urged Oakland's school board to eliminate its police force. (Rucha Chitnis)

(J. The Jewish News of Northern California via JTA) — The school board in Oakland, California, has unanimously voted to abolish the district’s police force in the wake of the nationwide protests against police brutality — with some urging by teens at a city synagogue. A large contingent of young people… Read more »

Meet Omer Yankelevich, the Orthodox woman tasked with mending the frayed ties between Israel and the Diaspora

Omer Yankelevich with three of her five children at the Knesset in Jerusalem, April 30, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Omer Yankelevich is the new minister of Diaspora affairs in Israel, meaning she’s in charge of managing the Jewish state’s relations with Jewish communities abroad. It has never been an easy task, but tensions in recent years between Israel and the United States, as well as… Read more »

Georgia legislature passes hate crimes legislation

(JTA) — The Georgia legislature approved a hate crimes bill that allows a longer sentence for crimes deemed to be based on a particular bias. The effort was led in part by the Hate Free Georgia Coalition, a group of 35 nonprofit groups organized by the Anti-Defamation League, the… Read more »

For this Black Jewish leader, George Floyd protest movement shows some Americans finally get it

As senior vice president at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Gamal Palmer is in charge of professional development for the federation’s staff and does leadership development for its board. (Courtesy of Gamal Palmer)

Gamal Palmer has spent virtually his entire professional career working to advance racial diversity, equity and justice. As a Jew of color in charge of leadership and professional development at the Los Angeles Jewish federation, he’s spent years running diversity workshops and pushing for conversations about race within the… Read more »

For the few Jewish camps that are opening despite risks, finding willing families hasn’t been hard

The ropes course at Camp Modin, which has seen immense interest from parents since announcing last month that it was opening this summer. (Courtesy of Camp Modin)

(JTA) — This week, as he prepares to open Camp Modin and administer coronavirus tests to its hundreds of campers and staff, Howard Salzberg is still fielding 50 calls a day from parents who want to send their kids. That’s because Modin, a small, unaffiliated Jewish camp in Maine,… Read more »

New York primary’s preliminary results show good news for Jamaal Bowman and a surging left

New York Democratic House candidate Jamaal Bowman greets supporters in Yonkers, N.Y., June 23. 2020. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Left-wing candidates appeared to be surging in Democratic congressional primaries in New York, although results were preliminary into Wednesday as mail-in votes necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic were still being counted. Jamaal Bowman, who challenged longtime incumbent Eliot Engel in the 16th District, covering parts of… Read more »

Here’s how Jewish schools found creative ways to maintain community during COVID lockdown

Yeshivat Noam, a Modern Orthodox school in Paramus, N.J., organized a graduation float that visited students' homes so that members of the class of 2020 could celebrate safely amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Courtesy of Yeshivat Noam)

As soon as it became clear in March that COVID-19 would force school closures around the country, Jewish day school administrators faced a conundrum that went beyond the question of how to continue educating students. The challenge: how to maintain a sense of community at a time when everyone… Read more »

A Jewish ‘Dreamer’ breathes a sigh of relief after US Supreme Court preserves DACA

Elias Rosenfeld with U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine in front of the U.S.Supreme Court, Nov. 12, 2019, the day oral arguments werepresented in the case on DACA arrivals. (Courtesy of Rosenfeld)

BOSTON (JTA) – Elias Rosenfeld’s phone rang on Thursday morning hours after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked President Donald Trump from moving to deport him and hundreds of thousands of other young immigrants like him. It was Rabbi Jonah Pesner, director of the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center, with… Read more »

Amid a national reckoning over race, Jews are embracing Juneteenth

Marchers in the 48th Annual Juneteenth Day Festival in Milwaukee, Wisc., June 19, 2019. (Dylan Buell/Getty Images for VIBE)

(JTA) — After the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic this spring delayed the launch of the website for TribeHerald, a new media company for Jews of color, founders Yitz Jordan and Rabbi Shais Rishon settled on a perfect alternative: the evening of June 18. After all, it would be… Read more »

NYC playgrounds will open next week, ending protests by Orthodox Jews who have demanded access

Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein and New York City Councilman Kalman Yeger at Brooklyn's Dome Playground, June 16, 2020. (Benjamin Kanter)

(JTA) – Just days after Orthodox lawmakers cut the chains off New York City playgrounds in defiance of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s orders, the mayor announced Thursday morning that playgrounds will reopen in the city starting Monday. The decision comes as the city moves into its second phase of… Read more »

Some New York City yeshivas are operating in the shadows

Orthodox children watch as protesters march through Brooklyn, June 3, 2020. Some yeshivas have provided instructions for parents to bring their children back to yeshiva three months after schools closed due to the pandemic. (Angela Weiss/Getty Images)

(JTA) – As Orthodox lawmakers were brazenly cutting the locks off a New York City playground on Tuesday morning, Orthodox children were settling in for a school day just nine blocks away. The classes at Yeshiva K’tana Torah Vodaath in Brooklyn were the first held in the school building… Read more »

Some believe ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ was staged somewhere in the world every day since the ’60s. COVID-19 ended that.

Zero Mostel and Maria Karnilova, center, in "Fiddler On The Roof" on Broadway in 1964, the year it debuted. (Stage Production/Getty Images)

(JTA) — The coronavirus pandemic has done something that no war, natural disaster or other calamity has been able to do for more than 50 years: It’s put a stop to stage performances of “Fiddler on the Roof.” The current North American tour of “Fiddler” was halted on March… Read more »