Dept. of Remembrance: Watching over 9/11 dead with prayers, Psalms

It was an ominous hum. A dozen refrigerated trucks loaded with the body parts of victims of the 9/11 attacks filled a cavernous tent across the street from the office of the city medical examiner, their low-pitched buzz an eerie soundtrack to the solemn work being carried out at… Read more »

In tapping Ira Forman to be Jewish point man, Obama campaign goes with an insider

Ira Forman, longtime head of the National Jewish Democratic Council, was tapped by the Obama campaign to be its Jewish outreach director. (photo by Ira Forman)

WASHINGTON (JTA/WASHINGTON JEWISH WEEK) — The fight for the Jewish vote in 2012 is expected to be a tough one. So the Obama campaign is turning to the quintessential insider. On Aug. 16, the Obama campaign tapped as its Jewish outreach director Ira Forman, the former head of the… Read more »

Newest entrant into GOP field, Rick Perry, is longtime friend of Israel — and Jesus

Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaking at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, June 18, 2011. (Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — To some conservative Jews, Texas Gov. Rick Perry would make an excellent presidential candidate. He’s been to Israel more than any other candidate in the field and has said he loves it. Some conservative Jews say Perry creates jobs. But other Jewish conservatives seeking the anti-Obama… Read more »

After Norway and before 9/11 anniversary, U.S. answers questions about homegrown threats

Tributes at the Oklahoma City bombing memorial on July 8, 2011. Federal authorities say concerns about Islamist extremists since then have not distracted them from right-wing extremism. (Kyle Monahan, Creative Commons)

  WASHINGTON (JTA) — With the Norway attacks fresh in mind and the 10-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks fast approaching, are U.S. authorities paying attention to the right kinds of threats? The fear is that with polarization intensifying in America, extremists might mark the 10th anniversary of… Read more »

Joe Lieberman scaled political heights, but wants his legacy to be the Sabbath

Sen. Joe Lieberman, right, shown visiting special operations forces in Afghanistan on July 4, 2011, says his strong Jewish faith leads him to forge an independent path, striking aliiances with both parties. [Sgt. Lizette Hart, U.s. Military Public Affairs, via Creative Commons]

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Call Joe Lieberman the unlikely evangelical. The Independent senator from Connecticut — and the best-known Orthodox Jew in American politics — is probably more cognizant than most of his Jewish congressional colleagues about rabbinical interdictions against encouraging non-Jews to mimic Jewish ritual. Yet here he is,… Read more »

To prevent violent attacks, look at behavior, not ideology

A poster campaign sponsored in part by the Jewish community's Security Community Network urges Jews to keep an eye out for suspicious objects.

(Washington) – Focus on behaviors common to all extremists: That’s the advice security experts are offering in the wake of the recent attacks in Norway by a perpetrator who appeared to be anti-Muslim rather than an Islamist. In the United States, the attacks in Oslo and on the island… Read more »

With debt deal, Jews’ fight and worries shift to new ‘super committee’

A screen shot of C-Span counting votes in the U.S. House of Representatives for a debt ceiling deal on Aug. 1, 2011, just as Rep. Gabrielle Giffords enters the chamber to cast her first vote since she was shot on Jan. 8. Giffords voted for the deal. (Philip Bump via Creative Commons)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Even before the debt deal was signed Tuesday in Washington, U.S. Jewish groups and recipients of government largesse were asking the same question: Who’s going to get cut? It’s still too early to say. But the new “super committee” created to hash out the details of… Read more »

After ruinous tornado, rabbis head to Joplin to help

Trees left standing by Joplin High School following the May 22, 2011 tornado collected debris from the heavily damaged school, June 4, 2011. [John Daves/U.S. Army via Creative Commons]

NEW YORK (JTA) – When a tornado devastated the small city of Joplin, Mo., in late May, the city’s lone synagogue was left untouched — at least, physically. Bu tthen came the flood. Not as water, but in the form of phone calls from across the United States from… Read more »

With debt crisis looming, Jewish service groups are on alert

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Jewish service groups are telling their constituents to be on guard for a possible government shutdown or slowdown after Aug. 2, when the United States is scheduled to hit its debt ceiling. What that means is not yet clear: The government isn’t saying what it will… Read more »

Jewish Dems aim to give Obama more leeway on aid to Arabs

WASHINGTON (JTA) — In the face of growing congressional concern over Middle Eastern extremism, some key Jewish Democrats are working to make sure President Obama has the leeway to dole out aid to Arab entities. The issue came to a head last week in the form of a State… Read more »

J Street, the book — expect more controversy

NEW YORK (JTA) — If there’s one thing J Street is good at, it’s getting attention. Supporters, critics and relatively neutral observers all have conspired — with plenty of prodding from J Street’s own aggressive communications operation — to shine an intense media spotlight on the self-described “pro-Israel, pro-peace”… Read more »

In N.Y. and Houston, Jewish communities are struggling with tragedy

Missing-person posters for 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky were plastered throughout Borough Park, Brooklyn, in the time between his disappearance and the arrest of his suspected murderer on July 13, 2011. (Tim Faracy / Creative Commons)

NEW YORK (JTA) — The two tragedies occurred 1,500 miles apart and in much different circumstances, but both united a community in shock, horror and grief. In New York, the abduction and gruesome murder last week of 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky while walking home from summer day camp in Borough… Read more »

A provocateur to some, Michele Bachmann also offers Jewish voters common cause

Michele Bachmann

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Michele Bachmann in a bathroom confronted by two lesbians and screaming for help, or Bachmann at the Western Wall surrounded by Jews and weeping with joy. Where your politics are likely will determine which incident involving Bachmann you’d highlight. But supporters of Bachmann, a presidential aspirant… Read more »

Jewish camps review safety measures in wake of Ramah tragedy

SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) — It’s the nightmare of every parent — and every teacher, youth leader and camp director. When a child dies in an accident while in someone else’s care, the agonizing questions begin: Could we have done anything different? Were all the proper procedures followed? And above… Read more »

Arson attack exposes New York shtetl

New Square Grand Rebbe David Twersky strongly encourages residents of the heavily Chasidic suburban New York village he leads to worship at his synagogue, pictured here. (Alex Weisler/JTA Photo Service)

For years, this leafy Chasidic village about an hour north of New York City has been a shtetl-like haven where residents could live their strictly Orthodox lifestyle far from the temptations and bustle of the nation’s largest city. Out of view of all but very few, life in this… Read more »