National

The war over intermarriage has been lost. Now what?

Jewish communal attitudes toward interfaith marriages, like the wedding between Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan in 2012, have shifted considerably since 1990. (Allyson Magda/ Facebook)

NEW YORK (JTA) — When the nation’s largest Jewish federation convened its first-ever conference recently on engaging interfaith families, perhaps the most notable thing about it was the utter lack of controversy that greeted the event. There was a time when the stereotypical Jewish approach to intermarriage was to… Read more »

Despite Netanyahu’s pleas, top House Dems open to testing Iran’s new leader

Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer, seen in a January 2011 photo, are among top-ranking House Democrats inclined to engage Iran's new president in talks on his country's nuclear program. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — In increasingly strident tones, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been telling his American friends that the purported moderation of Iran’s new president is a ploy aimed at relieving international pressure and buying the Islamic Republic more time to cross the nuclear threshold. But in ways… Read more »

As peace talks kick off, right wing intensifies efforts to influence their outcome

Arizona freshman Rep. Matt Salmon, shown with wife Nancy at a June 2013 meeting with conservative television host Glenn Beck, drafted a letter asking the U.S. attorney general to hinder the release of Palestinian prisoners -- a move that Israel approved to help kick-start negotiations with the Palestinians. (Matt Salmon Facebook)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israeli settler leader Dani Dayan has made it his mission over the years to warn members of Congress, particularly Republicans, of the perils of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Dayan has been a regular visitor to Washington, his trips often coinciding with developments in the peace process. During… Read more »

Roiling region, pessimism behind Kerry’s urgency on peace talks

(L-R): Israeli negotiators Yitzhak Molcho and Tzipi Livni, Vice President Joe Biden, President Barack Obama, and Palestinian negotiators Saeb Erekat and Mohammed Shtayyeh at an Oval Office meeting to discuss the formal resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, July 30, 2013. (U.S. State Department)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — After 20 years of stops, starts and a bloody intifada in between, John Kerry believes he can pull out a final status Israeli-Palestinian peace deal in nine months. What clock is the U.S. secretary of state trying to beat? According to his aides, the one ticking… Read more »

Olympic gold medalist leads U.S. delegation at Maccabiah opening

When swimmer Garrett Weber-Gale heard his name announced last Wednesday as the U.S. flag bearer for the opening ceremony of the 19th Maccabiah Games, he just about lost his breath. A two-time gold medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Weber-Gale had spoken with JTA earlier this week about the… Read more »

With few Jews left to save, HIAS finds relevance in non-Jewish refugees

In Kenya, the home of this young HIAS client, the immigrant aid society has taken in refugees from conflicts in neighboring countries, among others. (Courtesy HIAS)

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (JTA) — The new HIAS is not your grandmother’s Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and it’s certainly not the one that brought her mother over from the Pale of Settlement. After decades as the Jewish community’s foremost voice on immigration — first in leading the resettlement of Jews… Read more »

On Tisha b’Av, feeling the loss from the flames

A plaque engraved with names of the 19 fallen firefighters from the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew is mounted on a fence outside Station 7, their home base in Prescott, Ariz., July 3, 2013. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — On Yom Kippur, we ask “Who by fire?” Sadly, this year at Tisha b’Av we already know who — the 19 firefighters who perished in Arizona. “This is as dark a day as I can remember,” Gov. Jan Brewer said in a statement. Unknowingly, the… Read more »

Sudden passing of congressman Gray leaves void in black-Jewish relations

By Bryan Schwartzman PHILADELPHIA (Jewish Exponent) — In the 1980s, when the historic relationship between Jews and African-Americans appeared to be coming apart at the seams in Philadelphia and other cities throughout the country, William H. Gray III worked steadfastly to preserve the alliance. Now the Jewish community is… Read more »

Jewish groups facing obstacles in bid to restore voting protections

L-R: Reps. Steny Hoyer, Eric Cantor and John Lewis, a hero of the civil rights movement, singing "We Shall Overcome" at a memorial to martyrs of the civil rights movement in Montgomery, Ala., March 2, 2013. (Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Reps. Eric Cantor and John Lewis stood together recently at a Montgomery, Ala., memorial to martyrs of the civil rights struggle, joining hands to sing “We Shall Overcome.” With last week’s Supreme Court decision gutting the 1965 Voting Rights Act — one of the landmark pieces of… Read more »

At New York synagogue, a hero’s welcome for Edith Windsor

Edith Windsor, left, embraces Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in New York City, June 28, 2013. (Hugo Fernandes)

NEW YORK (JTA) — At 5 p.m. last Friday, a line of visibly excited people — many decked out in rainbow regalia — gathered on the sidewalk outside Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the gay and lesbian synagogue in Manhattan. Worshipers don’t generally form lines down the block in advance… Read more »

Heeding Kerry’s peace call, Jewish groups rap Bennett’s two-state obit

L-R: Reps. Ed Royce, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Pete Roskam at a meeting with Dani Dayan, a leader of Israel's settlers movement, in Washington, June 27, 2013. (House Republican Conference)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — It’s almost boilerplate: The American Jewish community asks a foreign leader with whom it has cultivated a close relationship to kindly tell firebrands in the leader’s government to pipe down and fall in with an established policy that happens to be embraced by the U.S. government.… Read more »

Acknowledging failure on sex allegations, Norman Lamm steps down from Y.U.

Norman Lamm (Yeshiva University)

NEW YORK (JTA) – In his letter announcing he was stepping down as Yeshiva University’s chancellor and rosh yeshiva, Rabbi Norman Lamm acknowledged his failure to respond adequately to allegations of sexual abuse against Y.U. rabbis in the 1980s. Lamm, now 85, became the school’s third president and head… Read more »

Student killed in Egypt was active in Hillel, motivated by peace

Andrew Pochter, the Jewish-American student of Chevy Chase, Md., who was stabbed to death during a protest in Egypt on June 28, 2013. (Facebook)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Andrew Pochter, the American student stabbed to death Friday during a protest in Egypt, was active in Hillel and motivated by a desire to encourage peace and democracy in the region. “He went to Egypt because he cared profoundly about the Middle East, and he… Read more »

Jewish groups ride roller-coaster week of Supreme Court rulings

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A slight bump up on affirmative action, a plunge on voting rights, and on gay marriage, the mountaintop: federal legitimacy. It’s been a week of roller-coaster highs and lows at the Supreme Court for liberal Jewish groups. Their collective pledge: Stick it out. “These are critical… Read more »

Feinstein and Wyden, on opposite ends of intel debate, are known for independence

Dianne Feinstein, left, and Ron Wyden have much in common -- including their party, their religion, and their reputations for feistiness -- but they have come down on opposite sides of the debate over government data collection. (David Lee/Sam Craig/Creative Commons)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Dianne Feinstein and Ron Wyden have much in common. Both are longtime U.S. senators, Democrats, Jewish and fiercely independent West Coasters. They’ve also both been members of the Senate Intelligence Committee since before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and privy to classified materials that describe how… Read more »

Liberal Jewish groups unleash on doomed abortion bill

Pro-choice supporters at a candlelight vigil in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, Jan. 22, 2013. (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Liberal Jewish groups fired a verbal barrage against a restrictive abortion bill passed by the Republican-dominated U.S. House of Representatives, calling it “egregious,” “outrageous,” “an affront,” and “deeply disappointing.” Such strong language is unusual in any case for groups that must engage with Congress, but especially… Read more »

HIAS launches yearlong refugee-awareness campaign

HIAS-assisted refugees in Chad (HIAS)

(New York, NY – June 20, 2013) – HIAS, the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees, today launched The Welcome Initiative, a campaign to raise awareness around issues surrounding the treatment and welcome of refugees. Central to the campaign is the Affirmation of Welcome, a call to action to… Read more »

Israeli couple hopes for change in U.S. immigration policy

Israeli couple hopes for change in U.S. immigration policy (Courtesy Immigration Equality Action Fund)

A same-sex Israeli couple struggling against U.S. immigration laws are set to become the faces of the fight to extend one of the foundations of immigration policy to gays and lesbians. Adi Lavy and Tzila Levy have been caught in the bureaucratic red tape of the American immigration system… Read more »

For century-old ADL, curbing online hate proves a modern-day dilemma

WASHINGTON (JTA) — How do you confront hatred when it has no fixed address? Abraham Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League national director, attempts to pin down an answer to the question in his latest book, “Viral Hate.” Co-authored with privacy lawyer Christopher Wolf, the book chronicles the complications of countering… Read more »