National

One month after murder of Aliza Sherman, Cleveland Jews clamoring for answers

A reward for information leading to an arrest has been offered in the murder of Aliza Sherman, left, seen here in an undated photograph. (Facebook)

CLEVELAND (JTA) — The voice of the 911 caller is frantic, pleading for help. In the background, the victim is heard moaning, her words unclear. “There’s blood everywhere,” the caller says. “I’ve never seen so much blood.” Paramedics arrive on the scene in downtown Cleveland moments later and rush… Read more »

Will controversies hurt liberals’ support for Obama?

WASHINGTON (JTA) — What happens when the rabbi who delivered the invocation at your nomination inveighs against you? Three controversies in quick succession have earned President Obama opprobrium from some of his most steadfast liberal supporters, including Rabbi David Saperstein, who directs the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center. The… Read more »

31 things to do during Jewish American Heritage Month

"Hava Nagila (The Movie)" portrays the classic Jewish tune as a porthole into 200 years of Judaism's culture and spirituality. (Courtesy "Hava Nagila The Movie")

NEW YORK (JTA) — May is Jewish American Heritage Month, a commemoration first recognized by President George W. Bush in 2006. Since then, hundreds of programs have taken place nationwide annually to honor the rich contributions of Jews to American culture and society. President Obama added to the annual… Read more »

Jewish Scouting leaders vocal on gay inclusion

Scouts standing at attention during a Boy Scouts of America Memorial Day ceremony. (ShutterStock/Sandi Mako)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Jewish Scouting leaders are taking a vocal role in efforts to pass a historic resolution that would partially lift a ban on gays in the Boy Scouts of America. In a meeting of the National Jewish Committee on Scouting in February, members voted overwhelmingly in… Read more »

Oil-rich Qatar pushing to make its name as a Mideast peace broker

Secretary of State John Kerry, right, delivering a Joint Statement with Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al-Thani in Washington, April 29, 2013. (U.S. State Department)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — When it comes to the latest Arab peace initiative, two questions are circulating in Washington: Why Qatar? And why now? The three answers: Because Qatar is rich; it is scared; and why not? Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al Thani, the Qatari prime minister and… Read more »

Breaking with all black, some Chabad men pushing fashion boundaries

Yosef Tiefenbrun, an apprentice tailor at Maurice Sedwell's and an ordained Orthodox rabbi, modeling an outfit he put together. (David Nyanzi)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Yosel Tiefenbrun looked in the mirror and he liked what he saw. The 23-year-old Chabad rabbi and apprentice at Maurice Sedwell, a bespoke tailor’s shop on London’s Savile Row, was wearing a vintage double-breasted jacket with gold buttons, tasseled Barker shoes, a claret bow tie… Read more »

Meet restaurateur Lisa Schroeder, Portland’s unofficial Jewish mother in chief

Lisa Schroeder, the owner and chef of Mother's Bistro & Bar in Portland, Ore., dishes out advice along with her comfort food. (Alicia J. Rose Photography)

PORTLAND, Ore. (JTA) — It’s brunch time at Mother’s Bistro & Bar and owner-chef Lisa Schroeder has a small crisis on her hands involving the accidental defenestration of a busboy. Moments earlier, a server had tripped and gone flying through one of the restaurant’s large picture windows. Shattered glass… Read more »

American labor unions raising millions for Rabin Center

The Yitzhak Rabin Center in Tel Aviv, a museum dedicated to the memory and lifework of the slain Israeli prime minister. (Courtesy Rabin Center)

TEL AVIV (JTA) — The museum dedicated to the memory of Yitzhak Rabin raises nearly half its money from labor leaders. It’s just not the labor you think. Members of U.S. labor unions raised $1.4 million for the Yitzhak Rabin Center in Tel Aviv last year, 45 percent of… Read more »

In budget battles, Obama administration sees Jews as playing key role

Gene Sperling, the chairman of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisors, speaking at the Reform movement's Consultation on Conscience, April 23, 2013. (Courtesy Religious Action Center)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — In the battle to end the across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration, it’s all hands on deck. Increasingly for the Obama administration, which is deadlocked over the budget with the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, that means reaching out to Jews. In conference calls and in appearances… Read more »

GOP wants more sit-downs with Jews — even if they bring up ‘forcible rape’

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the chairwoman of the Republican Conference in the U.S. House of Representatives, at the center of a Jewish leaders roundtable in Washington, April 12, 2013. (Courtesy House Republican Conference)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — He had them until abortion. U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) was addressing the Reform movement’s Consultation on Conscience conference about his passion, human rights and success in creating mechanisms to combat human trafficking and shine a light on global anti-Semitism. The crowd gathered in a large… Read more »

What Boston hospitals learned from Israel

Avraham Rivkind, the chief of surgery at Hadassah Medical Center in jerusalem, has pioneered several medical techniques, including several that helped save victims of the Boston Marathon. attacks. (Hadassah Medical Center)

TEL AVIV (JTA) — Minutes after a terrorist attack killed three at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, doctors and nurses at the city’s hospitals faced a harrowing scene — severed limbs, burned bodies, shrapnel buried in skin. For Boston doctors, the challenge presented by last week’s bombing… Read more »

In Watertown, Mass., prepping for Shabbat after a night of gunfire and explosions

Members of a police SWAT team make a door-to-door search in Watertwon, Mass., for the 19-year-old Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on April 19, 2013. (Spencer Platt/Getty)

(Jewish Exponent) — Shelly Levy and Ken Lebowitz had planned to bake their own challah for Shabbat on Friday, but then came the lockdown. As residents of Watertown, Mass., ground zero for the citywide manhunt for the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing, they weren’t able to get… Read more »

Who bombed Boston? Word for now is caution.

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The day after the Boston Marathon bombing, President Obama called it an “act of terrorism.” What kind of terrorism, no one was ready to say — a caution that derives from years of wrongful speculation that on occasion has ruined innocent lives. Hours after the attack… Read more »

‘Running Rabbi’ recounts chaos at Boston Marathon, vows to run in next year’s race

A Boston Marathon runner embracing another woman near Kenmore Square after two bombs exploded in the area, April 15, 2013. (Alex Trautwig/Getty)

(Jewish Exponent) — “It was a beautiful day. I was so excited to run and having such a good run. The crowd was unbelievable. The whole experience was amazing. It was almost magical.” That’s how the Boston Marathon began for Rabbi Benjamin David, head rabbi at Adath Emanu-El in Mount… Read more »

Rabbi Grafman, Dr. King and the letter from Birmingham Jail

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Southern Jewish Life) — “Are you still a bigot?” Every year for the rest of his life, students studying the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” would call Rabbi Milton Grafman, knowing little of the situation in 1963 Birmingham, and pose that question. His… Read more »

Security prep for Memphis Klan rally seen as national model

Klansmen exiting the Shelby County Courthouse in Memphis, Tenn., moments before their rally, March 30, 2013. (Blake Billings)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (JTA) — Cantor Ricky Kampf descends from the bimah, adjusts his prayer shawl and strides up the aisle, cutting through the cavernous sanctuary to greet the familiar out-of-towner. “Y’all here for the shindig?” Kampf says at the Baron Hirsch Synagogue here as he grasps the hand of… Read more »

In Florida, Venezuelan Jewish expats set down new roots

SUNNY ISLES BEACH, Fla. (JTA) — Sitting outside a Starbucks coffee shop in this small city north of Miami Beach, Paul Hariton recalls the dramatic night in 2002 when he and his wife decided to leave their native Venezuela. Leftist leader Hugo Chavez had just returned to power following… Read more »

After Israel trip and apology to Turkey, Obama gains political capital. Will he spend it?

President Obama placing a stone on the headstone of Yitzhak and Leah Rabin during a visit to Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, March 22, 2013. (Mark Neyman/GPO/JTA)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — For a trip that U.S. officials had cautioned was not about getting “deliverables,” President Obama’s apparent success during his Middle East trip at getting Israel and Turkey to reconcile has raised some hopes for a breakthrough on another front: Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. The question now is whether… Read more »