National

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 »

Jewish groups back Obama on Syria, but downplay Israel angle

President Barack Obama speaking at the White House with members of Congress about the situation in Syria, Sept. 3, 2013. (Photo by Dennis Brack/Getty Images/JTA)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Jewish groups backing President Obama’s call to strike Syria militarily are citing moral outrage and U.S. national security as primary considerations, but concern for Israel — however muted — also looms large in their thinking. A lingering sensitivity over misrepresentations of the role of the pro-Israel… Read more »

JTA 5773: Fighting over Jewish pluralism

NEW YORK (JTA) — In 5773, the religious wars just would not go away. In Israel, elections that extended Benjamin Netanyahu’s tenure as prime minister delivered big wins to two anti-Orthodox-establishment upstarts, Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett. For the first time in nearly two decades, Israel’s coalition government included… Read more »

For Israel, U.S. response on Syria may be harbinger on Iran

Secretary of State John Kerry said chemical weapons had been used to kill scores of people during the ongoing civil war in Syria in an appearance at the State Department, Aug. 26, 2013. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

TEL AVIV (JTA) — Following reports of what was almost certainly a chemical weapons attack in Syria, the White House has made moves indicating it may be inching closer to military intervention in the 2 1/2-year civil war there. Among the moves: moving warships toward the eastern Mediterranean and… Read more »

Investigation: Y.U. sex abuse extended beyond high school for boys

NEW YORK (JTA) — Incidents of physical and sexual abuse at Yeshiva University were not limited to its high school for boys, an investigation has found. The investigation commissioned by the university and carried out by the New York-based law firm Sullivan & Cromwell followed reports of sexual abuse… Read more »

Dallas teen’s Bar Mitzvah video sparks debate over culture of excess

Sam Horowitz dancing at his Bar Mitzvah party in Dallas, November 2012. (You Tube)

(JTA) — For some boys reaching the age of Bar Mitzvah, donning a prayer shawl and reading from the Torah is exciting enough. But Sam Horowitz knew he wanted more. The Dallas teen is the star of a Bar Mitzvah video that has gone viral in the past two… Read more »

The shanda factor: What makes Jewish sex scandals different?

From left, Anthony Weiner, Eliot Spitzer and Bob Filner, three Jewish politicians seeking to move on after misdeeds. (U.S. Congress/Getty Images/City of San Diego)

 WASHINGTON (JTA) — The guy with the socks up. The guy with the pants down. The guy with the headlocks. The guy who tweets and deletes. What is it with these male politicos? And why are they all Jewish? The cloistered community that is Washington’s Jewish elite collectively choked… Read more »

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 »