National

How Obama and Netanyahu can make up

The relationship between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, seen here after Obama's arrival in Israel on March 20, 2013, has been marked by reports of tensions. (Pete Souza/White House)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are not the best of friends — that seems pretty clear by now. But following reports during the Gaza conflict of cut-off phone calls, tough talk of “demands” and eavesdropping, it may be time for them to figure… Read more »

Ebbing support for Israel among key groups stirring alarm

Pro-Israel demonstration in Chicago, July 22, 2014. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – If the results of a recent focus group and polls are any indication, the gap is growing between Congress and young Americans when it comes to support for Israel. Polls conducted in late July by Gallup and the Pew Research Center found that support for Israel… Read more »

Jewish community aids migrant women and children in Tucson

Amid national publicity on Central American migrants – from pro/con protests to faith-based assistance — the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona stands firm. JCRC has long been involved in border issues, says director Bryan Davis, noting that Jews were once strangers dealing with… Read more »

Amid uncertainty of an open-ended war, U.S.-Israel tensions rise

Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer addresses Jewish leaders at the National Press Club in Washington, July 28, 2014. (Ron Sachs)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The dramatic developments in the war between Hamas and Israel have been accompanied by sharp ups and downs in U.S.-Israel relations. On Monday, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, made nice with the U.S. national security adviser, Susan Rice, before an audience of… Read more »

In U.S., Gaza conflict reverberates on air and in the streets

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators protest across the street from a pro-Israel really in Chicago, July 28, 2014. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — In Europe, the fight over Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza has prompted violent street battles, firebombs thrown at synagogues and even a mid-game attack against a visiting Israeli soccer team by protesters in Austria. In America, it has been more a battle of commentary,… Read more »

European anti-Semitism is focus as Jewish leaders, Democratic senators meet

(Sean Hayford O’Leary via Creative Commons)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Talk at the annual meeting between Democratic senators and Jewish groups kept coming back to anti-Semitism in Europe. The recurring theme, which the 24 senators who attended and the Jewish leaders both raised, was a measure of the anxiety aroused by recent reports of attacks on… Read more »

FAA, reviewing Israeli measures, lifts flight ban

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Federal Aviation Administration lifted its ban on flights to Israel after reviewing Israeli measures to keep flights safe from rockets. “Before making this decision, the FAA worked with its U.S. government counterparts to assess the security situation in Israel and carefully reviewed both significant new… Read more »

FAA suspends U.S. airlines’ flights to Israel

NEW YORK (JTA) — The Federal Aviation Administration prohibited all U.S. airlines from flying to Israel for at least 24 hours. All three U.S. carriers with nonstop flights to Israel – United, U.S. Airways and Delta Airlines — canceled their flights to Tel Aviv on Tuesday. El Al, which is not bound by the FAA… Read more »

After Harvard, Alan Dershowitz plans an active — and combative — retirement

Famed attorney Alan Dershowitz hangs out the porch of the Chilmark General Store in the Martha's Vineyard town of Chilmark, Mass. (Anthony Weiss/JTA)

  CHILMARK, Mass. (JTA) — Alan Dershowitz’s house is a bit of a mess.Most of the rooms in his Martha’s Vineyard home are cluttered with half-unpacked boxes filled with items from his Cambridge house, which he and his wife emptied recently and sold after he retired from his Harvard… Read more »

From grizzly bears to Gaza rockets: Alaskan olim head for Israel

Liam Ferguson, center, who is moving to Israel with his parents, hiking along Alaska’s Kesugi Ridge with his sister, Zoey, left, and a family friend. (Courtesy of Stewart Ferguson)

(JTA) — Rebecca Scoggin lived in a lot of places growing up: Juneau, Nome, Fairbanks, Homer, Anchorage. But except for the two years she lived in Seattle after high school, she never lived outside Alaska. At least she hadn’t until a few months ago. Inspired by a Birthright trip… Read more »

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, father of Jewish Renewal, dies

(JTA) — Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, the father of the Jewish Renewal movement, has died at age 89. A maverick rabbi from an Orthodox background who spent time in the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, Schachter-Shalomi transitioned over time toward a New Age, neo-Hasidic approach, gaining a substantial following on his own but also influencing other… Read more »

Jewish groups stand by religious freedom law, but Supremes’ take in Hobby Lobby ruling divides them

Demonstrators in Washington celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case, June 30, 2014. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Two decades ago the Jewish community united in support of landmark religious freedom legislation. Now the Supreme Court’s application of that law has Jewish groups divided. Leading Jewish advocacy groups denounced the court’s 5-4 decision Monday in theHobby Lobby case granting religious freedoms protections to companies, while Orthodox groups… Read more »

At Presbyterian assembly, divestment advocates get narrow, but limited, victory

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, addressing the General Assembly of the Presbyterian church (U.S.A.) to urge the denomination to reject divestment, June 19, 2014. (Courtesy of Union for Reform Judaism)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – There were amendments and amendments to amendments in a debate lasting for more than four hours. There were dueling T-shirts. There was a last-minute appeal for a joint pilgrimage to speak hard truths to Benjamin Netanyahu. And there was a plea to emulate Jesus and speak… Read more »

50 years later, rabbis jailed in civil rights protest return to St. Augustine

Six Reform rabbis pose for a photo outside the jail in St. Augustine, Fla., where they spent a nigth after being arrested protesting for civil rights 50 years earlier. From left to right, are Allen Secher, Israel Dresner, Jerrold Goldstein and Richard Levy. Sitting are Daniel Fogel, left, and Hanan Sills. (Dina Weinstein)

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (JTA) — For Rabbi Richard Levy, it was an emotional return to this historic northeastern Florida city. The first time Levy came to St. Augustine 50 years ago, he and 15 other rabbis and a Reform Jewish leader endured taunts from segregationists armed with broken bottles… Read more »

At L.A. cultural center, Middle East translates to coexistence, not conflict

Jordan Elgrably is executive director of the Levantine Cultural Center in Los Angeles. (Anthony Weiss/JTA)

LOS ANGELES (JTA) – It’s Friday night, and patrons are sitting and chatting over plates of tajine and hummus waiting for the evening’s main event, a stand-up comedy show. It could be any nightspot in this city. But a closer look reveals a bolder agenda than just good food… Read more »

After losing Ayelet, Galenas find joy with new baby, thanks to NIH breakthrough

Seth Galena and Hindy Poupko, at his right shoulder, celebrate the birth of their son Akiva at his bris, June 15, 2014. (Piha Studio)

NEW YORK (JTA) – Even before their daughter, Ayelet Galena, was diagnosed with a rare bone marrow disease called dyskeratosis congenita around her first birthday, parents Hindy Poupko and Seth Galena knew they wanted to have more children. But once the diagnosis arrived, the couple had a dilemma: There… Read more »

American Jews take up cause of missing Israeli teens

Demonstrators rally outside the Israeli consulate in Manhattan to express solidarity with three Israeli teens who were abducted in the West Bank, June 16, 2014. (Miriam Moster/JTA)

NEW YORK (JTA) – The Reform movement posted a prayer. Chabad asked followers to pledge to do a mitzvah. The Jewish Federations of North America set up a Web page to express solidarity. The disappearance of three Israeli teens in the West Bank last week is being taken as a call to action uniting… Read more »

As state shifts rightward, North Carolina Jews raise their voices

Members of Carolina Jews for Justice and other demonstrators gather on the mall outside North Carolina's State Capitol in Raleigh for a Moral Mondays protest, June 2, 2014. (Anthony Weiss/JTA)

RALEIGH, N.C. (JTA) — It was a hot Monday afternoon, but Judy Katzin was standing on the grassy mall outside the North Carolina State Capitol beside the Carolina Jews for Justice banner, as she has many times. Katzin was among hundreds of activists of diverse backgrounds who had come… Read more »

Cantor’s loss leaves Jewish Republicans bereft

Rep. Eric Cantor, then-House majority leader, delivers an address at the Virginia Military Institute, Feb. 17, 2014. (Courtesy of House Majority Leader)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Eric Cantor’s defeat in one constituency, Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, triggered mourning among another: Republican Jews. Since 2009, Rep. Cantor (R-Va.) has been the only Jewish Republican in Congress. After the 2010 GOP takeover of the House, he became the majority leader. He is the highest-ranking… Read more »

Ohio governor dedicates Holocaust and Liberators Memorial

The Ohio Holocaust and Liberators Memorial, designed by Daniel Libeskind, on the lawn of he Statehouse, Columbus, Ohio, was dedicated June 2, 2014. (Marshall Weiss/ The Dayton Jewish Observer)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (The Dayton Jewish Observer) — Visibly moved by the testimony of a Holocaust survivor, Ohio Gov. John Kasich called for a monument at the Ohio Statehouse during the annual Governor’s Holocaust Commemoration three years ago. “Let’s construct something that can teach people about man’s inhumanity to man,… Read more »