National

Giffords resigns from Congress, is honored in emotional farewell

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords hugs Daniel Hernandez, the former congressional intern who helped save her life, at a private gathering Jan. 23. (Facebook.com)

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was wounded in an assassination attempt on Jan. 8, 2011, announced Sunday that she would resign from Congress. In a dramatic two-minute video posted on her congressional website, Giffords said she will step down as she continues her recovery. “I have more work… Read more »

After attacks on synagogues in New Jersey, heightened security — and anxiety

A swastika spray-painted on a window of Temple Beth Israel in Hackensack, N.J., Dec. 10, 2011. (ADL)

NEW YORK (JTA) — As Jews in some northern New Jersey communities made their way to synagogue last Shabbat, the scene was slightly different from the typical day of rest. Extra police cars were on patrol near synagogues. At Bnei Yeshurun in Teaneck, a new buzzer system had been… Read more »

Delay of U.S.-Israel anti-missile exercise fuels speculation

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The decision by Israel and the United States to delay a massive joint anti-missile exercise set off a frenzy of speculation as to what the move says about relations between the two allies amid mounting tensions with Iran. U.S. and Israeli officials confirmed to JTA over… Read more »

Jewish groups welcome Supreme Court’s ‘ministerial exception’ ruling

Chief Justice John G. Roberts. Jr. and Justice Elena Kagan stand at the top of the steps following her formal Investiture Ceremony pn Oct. 1, 2010. (Steve Petteway, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Two groups each known for their internal divisions on religion-state issues found themselves in a degree of accord this week: the justices of the United State Supreme Court and the organized Jewish community. In a decision issued Wednesday, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the right of… Read more »

Jewish Republicans watch nervously as favorites savage one another

WASHINGTON (JTA) — As the Republican primary fight moves from New Hampshire to South Carolina, Newt Gingrich is stepping up his attacks on Mitt Romney and some prominent Jewish Republicans — who have a rich, mutually admiring history with both men — are wondering what happens next. Gingrich and… Read more »

With Jack Lew’s appointment, Jewish community again has a White House address

Jack Lew, center, helps light the "national menorah" organized by American Friends of Lubavitch, with the group's director, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, left, and his father, Rabbi Abraham Shemtov, the director of Agudas Chasidei Chabad, Dec. 20, 2011. (Baruch Ezagui, courtesy American Friends of Lubavitch)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — @JewishWhiteHouse is back. President Obama on Monday announced that Jack Lew, his director of the Office of Budget and Management — a Cabinet-level position — would replace William Daley as White House chief of staff. Lew, 56, was chosen for his long years in government and… Read more »

Santorum’s social conservatism could be a tough sell for Jews

Rick Santorum, shown speaking to Iowa high school students in West Des Moines on Jan. 3, 2012, is reaching out to pro-Israel donors to boost his campaign following his strong showing in the state's caucuses. (Gage Skidmore via Creative Commons)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Rick Santorum’s near-win in Iowa has made him the GOP’s latest “not Romney” to pick up steam, but he may have his work cut out for him in attracting Jewish support. Pro-Israel insiders say the Santorum campaign is now aggressively reaching out to Jewish givers who… Read more »

Three winners in Iowa and three takeaways for Jews

WASHINGTON (JTA) — There were three winners in the Iowa Republican caucuses: Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and, not far behind them, Ron Paul. There were also (at least) three takeaways for Jewish observers: foreign policy matters, evangelicals matter — and Ron Paul matters. The importance of foreign policy in… Read more »

The ‘Jewish Jordan’ talks basketball, Judaism, and giving back

(JUF News) — “Jewish Jordan” — that’s the nickname Sports Illustrated gave Tamir Goodman when he was merely 17 years old and a high school junior at the Talmudical Academy of Baltimore. Ranked among the best 25 high school basketball players in America, Goodman seemed set to become the… Read more »

Jewish conservatives push back against Paul surge

Rep. Ron Paul, a Republican candidate for president whose views on Israel have unsettled some Jewish conservatives, speaking at the Western Republican Leadership Conference in Las Vegas, Oct. 19, 2011. (Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons) /

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Ron Paul’s unlikely rise in the Republican presidential race has Jewish conservatives on edge. The Texas congressman had been regarded as a fringe figure whose views, especially on foreign policy — including his opposition to the U.S.-Israel alliance — put him far outside the Republican mainstream.… Read more »

When the Jews went to North Korea

Jack Rosen, second from left, the chairman of the American Council for World Jewry, in Pyongyang with a top North Korean official and other members of an ACWJ delegation in this undated 2009 photo. (Courtesy ACWJ)

  WASHINGTON (JTA) – When a delegation from the American Council for World Jewry went to North Korea, its agenda was typical of visits by Jewish organizations to developing nations: promote outreach to Israel, offer to broker assistance and training, gently raise problematic defense relations with Israel’s enemies. Pyongyang’s… Read more »

West Point’s Jewish choir sings for the president and diversity

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama listening to a performance by the West Point Jewish Chapel Cadet Choir in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Dec. 8, 2011. (Pete Souza/Official White House Photo)

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — It doesn’t get more “only in America” than this: A Christian president with an African-born Muslim father throws a Chanukah party at the White House, and the featured act is the West Point Jewish Chapel Cadet Choir — a group that serves as a beacon of Jewish pride… Read more »

Can Reform Jews be politically conservative? Yes, say the “1 percent”

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, left, was one of the conservative voices at this year's Reform biennial and Rabbi David Saperstein was one of the many liberal voices, Dec. 15, 2011. (Union for Reform Judaism)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (JTA) — It’s not easy being a political conservative in the most liberal of Jewish religious denominations. Just ask the 40 or so people among the more than 5,000 attendees at last week’s biennial conference of the Union for Reform Judaism who showed up for a… Read more »

New Iran sanctions: administration gets some of the leeway it sought

WASHINGTON (JTA) — New sanctions targeting Iran’s financial sector and its sale of crude oil give President Obama leeway to moderate their possible impact on oil markets and to use carrots as well as sticks to sway third parties into isolating the Islamic Republic. The sanctions target any foreign… Read more »

At RJC forum, Republican hopefuls preview their lines of attack

Mitt Romney speaks to the Republican Jewish Coalition presidential candidates' forum on Dec. 7. (Republican Jewish Coalition)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Iran’s nuclear program appears to be racing ahead. The Middle East peace process is in shambles. And a series of recent flare-ups have highlighted ongoing tensions between the Obama administration and elements of the pro-Israel community. It was against this backdrop that six Republican candidates took… Read more »

Seeking Kin: ISO orphaned former Tel Aviv flatmates

JTA’s new column, “Seeking Kin,” aims to help reunite long-lost friends and relatives. BALTIMORE (JTA) — The Ellbogen children, Edna and Michael, nearly became Mordechai “Moti” Malkin’s adopted siblings in early 1950s Israel. Six decades later, the 66-year-old Herzliya resident wants to know what’s become of them. When Paul… Read more »

Fred Karger for president: A gay Jewish Republican’s White House dream

LOS ANGELES (Jewish Journal) — In the course of an election campaign, most presidential candidates talk about what they’ll do if — or, if they’re particularly bullish, when — they’re elected. But Fred Karger isn’t like other Republicans running for president, and not just because he’s openly gay and… Read more »

At Chanukah, communities help needy families in Tucson and across U.S.

Members of Mitzvah Magic, a program of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, packed Chanukah gift baskets for needy families.

In August, in the heat of the summer, a Boston-area mother of three began to worry about how she would pay for Chanukah gifts. Across the country in San Francisco, a 33-year-old Russian-born mother of six said that thinking about this Chanukah made her cry. Both women — Lauren… Read more »

Remarks on Israel by three U.S. officials provoke criticism/support

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta spoke at the 2011 Saban Forum in Washington on Dec. 2, 2011. (Brookings Institution)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Obama administration is reaping a whirlwind of criticism in the wake of pointed remarks about Israel by several U.S. officials over three days. The U.S. ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman, caused an uproar when he suggested on Dec. 1 that hostility among European Arabs and Muslims… Read more »

Seeking Kin: For rescuers and survivor, a Thankgsgiving to remember

Sixty-six years after they last saw one another, Mira Erlich, left, was reunited last week with Egle Bimbirine, who as a teenager rescued Erlich and her parents. (Hillel Kuttler)

Mira Erlich, sitting left, was reunited with Egle Bimbirine, sitting right, who as a teenager rescued Erlich and her parents. With them are their repsective daughters, cheryl Rosen, standing left, and Ida Juraitieme. (Hillel Kuttler) JTA’s new “Seeking Kin” column aims to help reunite long-lost friends and relatives. BALTIMORE… Read more »