National

Whither the Jewish macher? Upstarts increasingly setting Jewish agenda

Nathan Lewin, left, and his daughter Alyza created headaches for major Jewish groups by persevering with a so-far unsuccessful lawsuit to get the State Department to recognize Jerusalem-born Americans as born in Israel. (Washington Week)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — On Sept. 27, the conservative political blogger Ken Berwitz was enraged — not by Democratic malfeasance, his favored bugbear, but by the policies of an Oklahoma-based chain of craft stores. Berwitz was bothered not only that Hobby Lobby was keeping Hanukkah tchotchkes off its shelves, but that… Read more »

Jerry Silverman: Not just talk when federations meet in Israel for G.A.

Jerry Silverman, CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America, at the 2012 General Assembly in Baltimore, Md. (JFNA)

NEW YORK (JTA) – This time, it’s not going to be just talking. There’s going to be listening and debating — and, eventually, action. That’s what Jerry Silverman, CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America, says will distinguish this year’s General Assembly, which is slated for Nov. 10-12… Read more »

Madoff, fire and theft: How Jewish nonprofits lost money

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Bernard Madoff. An unscrupulous contractor. Art that disappeared or was destroyed by fire — it’s not clear which. Bad, bad bookkeepers. And did we mention Bernard Madoff? These were among the causes of “material diversion” of assets — tax-speak for lost funds or property totaling $250,000… Read more »

Brainy Breslow clutch on the hill in Red Sox title bid

Craig Breslow is the Boston Red Sox nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award for his charitable works.

(JTA) — When Craig Breslow entered Saturday night’s playoff game against the Detroit Tigers, FOX broadcaster Tim McCarver hailed the Boston Red Sox reliever — a Yale University graduate with a double major in molecular biophysics and biochemistry — as the smartest player in Major League Baseball. But with… Read more »

Adam Grossman’s dream job: Packing Fenway Park

With Boston back in the World Series, Red Sox marketing guru Adam Grossman doesn't mind the longer work days or shorter preparation time for next season. (Billie Weiss for the Boston Red Sox)

(JTA) — You’d think Adam Grossman has a pretty easy job. After all, with the Boston Red Sox owning one of the most iconic brands in professional sports and gunning for their third World Series title in the past decade, how hard could it be to put fans in… Read more »

Yellen’s rise to Fed chief gains more attention for gender than faith

President Obama congratulates Janet Yellen after nominating her to head the Federal Reserve, Oct. 9, 2013. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Janet Yellen is soft-spoken, tough, methodological, flexible — and Jewish. President Obama’s announcement last week that he had tapped Yellen, 67,  to succeed Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve made news in part because she would be the first woman in the top spot.… Read more »

Obama administration warns: Gov’t shutdown undermining Iran sanctions

U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman testifies during the hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Oct. 14, 2011. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Is the U.S. government shutdown undermining the sanctions that helped bring Iran to Geneva this week for talks aimed at ending the standoff over its nuclear program? Top administration officials have been emphatically making the case that it is. Wendy Sherman, the third-ranked official at the… Read more »

Amid negative trends in Pew study, many Jewish funders see validation

If you’re pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into Jewish identity building, what do you do when a survey comes along showing that the number of U.S. Jews engaging with Jewish life and religion is plummeting? That’s the question facing major funders of American Jewish life following the release… Read more »

Mashup: Jewish leaders respond to Pew survey

NEW YORK (JTA) — What would happen if some of the biggest players in American Jewish life sat down and debated the implications of the new Pew Research Center’s survey of U.S. Jewry? After last week’s landmark study, I talked to nine Jewish philanthropists and organizational leaders about the… Read more »

Amid negative engagement trends in Pew study, Jewish funders see validation

A 2009 event in the Washington area was part of an effort by groups focused on engaging young American Jews.

NEW YORK (JTA) — If you’re pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into Jewish identity building, what do you do when a survey comes along showing that the number of U.S. Jews engaging with Jewish life and religion is plummeting? That’s the question facing major funders of American Jewish… Read more »

Netanyahu talks tough on Iran, leaves door open to ‘meaningful’ diplomatic solution

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel is prepared to confront Iran on its own in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The “credible military threat” against Iran that Benjamin Netanyahu wanted to hear while he was in the United States this week eventually emerged — from his own lips. The Israeli prime minister, in a blunt speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, warned that Israel… Read more »

Pew survey of U.S. Jews: soaring intermarriage, assimilation rates

NEW YORK (JTA) — There are a lot more Jews in America than you may have thought — an estimated 6.8 million, according to a new study. But a growing proportion of them are unlikely to raise their children Jewish or connect with Jewish institutions. The proportion of Jews… Read more »

Speak out about Iran — but not so loudly, Netanyahu counseled

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, arrive in New York, Sept. 29, 2013. (Kobi Gideon/GPO/Flash 90)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Worried that he may be losing the biggest stick in his arsenal when it comes to Iran — the threat of a U.S. strike — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Washington for a meeting Monday with President Obama prepared to speak out. But friends,… Read more »

Nearly 70 years after WWII, Shoah memorials proliferate

The CANDLES Holocaust museum in Terre Haute, Ind.

NEW YORK (JTA) — No earth was moved at the groundbreaking of one of the nation’s newest Holocaust memorials in May. Instead, the gatherers stood silently, symbolic shovels in hand, on the immaculate lawn where the privately funded $400,000 monument will soon rise. A succession of speakers delivered somber homilies remembering one… Read more »

After U.N. speeches, Israel strikes wary tone on Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responds to President Obama's address in New York, Sept. 24. (Kobi Gideon/ via Getty Images)

The good news for Israel in President Obama’s speech at the United Nations was his insistence that any steps Iran might take to solve the standoff over its nuclear program must be transparent and verifiable. The bad news was that Obama wasn’t clear about what those steps should be.… Read more »

J Street confab’s message: We’ve arrived

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The story that this year’s J Street conference schedule tells is, typically enough, about getting Israel and the Palestinians to a two-state solution. Between the lines is another narrative as urgent as peacekeeping to the liberal pro-Israel group: getting J Street into the establishment. The second… Read more »

Colorado flooding wreaks havoc on Yom Kippur observances

A Chabad volunteer helps people clear damaged goods from their homes in Colorado. (Courtesy of Chabad)

DENVER (IJN) — Before the start of Yom Kippur, a flood of historic proportions swallowed Boulder, Colo., and surrounding areas, displacing families, damaging synagogues and threatening services on the holiest day of the Jewish year — until determination came to the rescue. Orthodox Boulder Aish Kodesh hit the Internet… Read more »

Initial reluctance gone, AIPAC makes big push on Syria response

Protestors rally Sept. 9 on Capitol Hill in support of possible U.S. military action in Syria. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Pro-Israel officials rolled their eyes this week in response to the opposing spins about their support for President Barack Obama’s drive to punish Syrian President Bashar Assad for his purported use of chemical weapons against his own people. Some suggested that once again, the tail was… Read more »