National

As Obama takes second term, Israelis wonder what the future holds

Haredi Orthodox Jews watching the victory speech of President Obama at the American Center in Jerusalem, Nov. 7, 2012. (Miriam Alster/Flash90/JTA)

TEL AVIV (JTA) – Most Israelis were asleep as the polls closed in America and voters waited for the results, but on one rooftop in central Tel Aviv a party with loud classic rock music and flashing lights was going strong. It was the pro-Obama election-watching party of Israel’s… Read more »

Obama’s second term: More of the same, at least until Iran flares

President Obama at Camp David, Oct. 21, 2012. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The day after the election looks a lot like the day before for President Obama, particularly in areas that have attracted the attention of Jewish voters: Tussling with Republicans domestically on the economy and health care, and dancing gingerly with Israel around the issue of a… Read more »

Last pushes for Jewish votes in Ohio, other swing states stir emotions

Obama surrogate Jack Lew making a point during his debate with Romney surrogate Tevi Troy at Green Road Synagogue in Beachwood, Ohio, with moderator Nathan Diament listening in the background, Nov. 1, 2012. (Ron Kampeas)

BEACHWOOD, Ohio (JTA) — The family wedding. The entrance to the local synagogue. The future of Israel. Your precious grandchild. In the final days of what has been a close and bitterly contested election, it’s not so much that nothing is sacred in the fight for the Jewish vote.… Read more »

Deluged day school, ruined Torahs and devastated communities left in Sandy’s wake

At Mazel Academy in Brooklyn, Torah scrolls were unrolled to dry after being damaged by the floodwaters from Hurricane Sandy, Oct. 31, 2012. (Ben Harris)

NEW YORK (JTA) — When Rabbi Avremel Okonov arrived Tuesday morning at the school he co-founded 10 years ago in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn, the water in the basement had already receded from the high water mark. It only came up to his knees. Everywhere he looked… Read more »

As Morsi and Brotherhood spur alarm, what to do about Egypt?

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi addressing the U.N. General Assembly, Sept. 26, 2012. (UN Photo/Marco Castro)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Jewish groups looking for signals from Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi regarding his views were appalled when one finally came — in the form of a nod and what appeared to be a muttered “amen” to an imam’s call for God to “deal harshly” with the Jews.… Read more »

Tree felled by Sandy kills Jewish teacher, college student

Jacob Vogelman and Jessie Streich-Kest, pictured together in this 2007 photo. The young Jewish couple from Brooklyn was killed when a tree felled by Hurricane Sandy struck them while they walked their dog on Oct. 29, 2012. (Facebook)

(JTA) — Two young Jews were killed in Brooklyn by a falling tree during superstorm Sandy. The pair were out walking a dog Monday night in the storm’s high winds. The dead were identified by The New York Observer as Jessie Streich-Kest, 24, who worked as a high school… Read more »

As storm descended on Northeast, Jews took to Internet to share stories and appeal for help

Damage to New York City infrastructure, like this one inside a New York subway station, was extensively documented online as Hurricane Sandy washed ashore. (@HeyVeronica via Twitter)

NEW YORK (JTA) – At 10 p.m. on Monday, as the full brunt of Hurricane Sandy was bearing down on the northeastern United States, filmmaker Sandi Dubowski posted an urgent online message. DuBowski’s elderly parents had declined to leave their home in Manhattan Beach, a neighborhood of southern Brooklyn… Read more »

On the issues: Obama and Romney on abortion, Iran, Israel and more

President Barack Obama, left, and challenger Mitt Romney differ on several issues of importance to the Jewish community. (Graphics by Uri Fintzy)

NEW YORK (JTA) -- JTA reviews the positions of presidential candidates Barack Obama, the Democratic incumbent, and Republican challenger Mitt Romney on some issues of importance to the Jewish community.… Read more »

Down to the wire, Romney resurrects moderate posture that attracted Jewish support

Mitt Romney speaking to the Republican Jewish Coalition presidential candidates' forum, Dec. 7, 2011. (Republican Jewish Coalition)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Mitt Romney’s record as a moderate Republican governor would seem to have made him ideally suited to peel off Jewish votes from President Obama. The problem is that he spent much of the past half decade running from that past. Now, however, as the campaign draws… Read more »

For Obama campaign, trying to put to rest persistent questions about ‘kishkes’

President Obama addressing the biennial conference of the Union for Reform Judaism, Dec. 16, 2011. (URJ)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The moment in the final presidential debate when President Obama described his visit to Israel’s national Holocaust museum and to the rocket-battered town of Sderot seemed to be aimed right for the kishkes. The “kishkes question” — the persistent query about how Obama really feels about… Read more »

At final debate, Israel and Iran take center stage — and the candidates find common ground

Mitt Romney, left, and President Obama, shown onscreen during their debate on Oct. 22, 2012, were generally in agreement on the Middle East at the Florida one-on-one on foreign policy. (Rosa Trieu/Neon Tommy via Creative Commons)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israel, a heated issue throughout the campaign, finally took center stage at the final presidential debate. It was mentioned a total of 31 times by President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney at Monday night’s foreign policy debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. Actual… Read more »

George McGovern, a pacifist who wanted to bomb Auschwitz

George McGovern signing his book "Abraham Lincoln" at the Richard M. Nixon Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, Calif., August 2009. (Scott Clarkson via CC)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — George McGovern is widely remembered for advocating immediate American withdrawal from Vietnam and sharp reductions in defense spending. Yet despite his reputation as a pacifist, the former U.S. senator and 1972 presidential candidate, who died Sunday at 90, did believe there were times when America should… Read more »

Leaving State Department’s anti-Semitism post, Hannah Rosenthal reflects on accomplishments

Hannah Rosenthal, center, the anti-Semitism monitor for the United States, meeting with English language micro-scholarship students in Azerbaijan, March 2011. (U.S. Embassy Baku)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Anti-Semitism overseas is being noted with increasing frequency by U.S. State Department human rights reports, and Hannah Rosenthal says that’s a good thing. Rosenthal, the State Department’s second anti-Semitism monitor, says increased reporting reflects burgeoning awareness of the problem among U.S. diplomats. “The not-so-sexy part of… Read more »

Specter remembered as an iconoclast who enjoyed going toe to toe with tyrants

Arlen Specter, shown speaking at the AFL-CIO convention in September 2009, represented Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate for 30 years. (Steve Dietz/Sharp Image)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — During his 30 years in the clubby confines of the U.S. Senate, Arlen Specter never lost his acerbic prosecutorial zeal, friends and associates say. The insistent questions, the commitment to independence that made the longtime Pennsylvania senator a critical player in recent U.S. history, ultimately did… Read more »

Protestant churches’ letter on Israel straining ties with Jews

WASHINGTON (JTA) — When 15 prominent American Protestant leaders sent a letter to Congress last week calling for an investigation and possible suspension of U.S. aid to Israel, at least one outcome was certain: The Jews wouldn’t like it. Already, one major American Jewish group has canceled its participation… Read more »

Who’s creating ‘daylight’ now? Jewish Dems ask Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at a joint news conference with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov in Jerusalem, Sept. 11, 2012. (Itay Beit-On/GPO)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — In the U.S.-Israel relationship, “daylight” is back, but this time it’s Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who is being called on to draw down the shades. Netanyahu’s recent sharp rebuke of the Obama administration’s Iran policies has drawn equally pointed pushback from Jewish Democrats. The back… Read more »

Romney’s peace pessimism draws muted response from Jewish groups

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaking at a rally in Nashua, N.H., Sept. 7, 2012. (Marc Nozell via Creative Commons)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Mitt Romney’s pessimistic take on Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects drew some media attention but not much noise from centrist Jewish groups. Only groups on the right and the left ends of the communal spectrum issued statements in response to the revelations this week of Romney’s remarks, respectively… Read more »

In anti-Islam movie furor, fears that a filmmaker’s lies have legs

Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens was one of four U.S. diplomats killed in a rocket attack in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012. (U.S. Department of State)

NEW YORK (JTA) — There was no Israeli-American real estate developer named Sam Bacile, and the 100 Jews he claimed had financed his anti-Islam film were fictitious as well. Both fabrications were offered to the media apparently to hide the true identity of the Egyptian Christian from Southern California… Read more »

Israeli emergency medicine course offered

  American Physicians and Friends for Medicine in Israel will hold an Emergency and Disaster Preparedness Course, Nov. 3-8, in Israel. In conjunction with the Ministry of Health and the medical corps of the Israel Defense Forces, the course offers emergency and peacetime preparedness techniques. Local physician Ken Brandis,… Read more »