News

This Berlin rabbinical school is creating a new kind of rabbi for Germany’s Jewish communities

The Rabbinerseminar zu Berlin, the only Orthodox rabbinical seminary in Germany, held its 10th anniversary ordination ceremony in Berlin in October 2018. The school's predecessor was shuttered by the Nazis in 1938. (Gregor Zielke)

Though he was just 6 years old on the night of Kristallnacht, Rabbi Chanoch Ehrentreu can still recall the horror: Torah scrolls burning in the courtyard of his father’s synagogue. His father taken by the Gestapo to the concentration camp at Dachau. The grandson of a prominent rabbi from… Read more »

ID system for asylum seekers in Mexico recalls Holocaust tattoos

Central American migrants show the numbers to ask the US for political marked in their arms at the Migrant's House (Casa del Migrante) in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico, on November 15, 2018, in El Paso, Texas. (Photo by HERIKA MARTINEZ / AFP) (Photo credit should read HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Asylum-seeking migrants waiting in Mexico to gain entrance to the United States are having tracking numbers written on their arms in permanent marker, recalling the Holocaust when concentration camp inmates were tattooed with numbers. Accounts vary on when and who started the numbers-tracking practice in Mexico, but… Read more »

When Israeli Americans meet, there’s politics, partying and pride

Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi are interviewed by Israeli-American entertainment mogul Haim Saban at the Israeli-American Council conference in Hollywood, Fla., Dec. 2, 2018. (Israeli-American Council)

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (JTA) — Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate, his Israeli-born wife, Miriam, and Haim Saban, the Israeli-American entertainment mogul, entered the deck of the pool complex at the Diplomat Hotel here on Saturday night and chose a table to sit around and well, schmooze. Never mind the frantic security… Read more »

George H.W. Bush, a president with a complicated Jewish legacy, dies at 94

President George H.W. Bush speaking in 1993. (Jewish Chronicle/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – George H.W. Bush, the one-term president whose public grappling with Jewish leaders made headlines while his private interventions helped bring tens of thousands of Jews out of danger, has died. Bush, 94, died Friday at his home in Houston, his family said, less than a year after… Read more »

Despite tensions over the Holocaust, Israeli tourism in Poland is booming

Yossi Blak, left, and fellow travelers from Israel visit Lublin's Hotel Ilan, Sept. 5, 2018. (Cnaan Liphshiz)

WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — Shopping was the last thing on Sarah Hirsch’s mind this summer when she boarded a flight from Tel Aviv to this capital city. It started out as a Holocaust pilgrimage. Hirsch, 67, flew to Warsaw in August with her husband, Naftali, and a friend to see… Read more »

New Age guru Marianne Williamson talks about her Jewishness and 2020 presidential run

Marianne Williamson at an event at The East Hampton Library on New York's Long Island, Aug. 13, 2016. (Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for East Hampton Library)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Had she received a better Jewish education, Marianne Williamson says, she might have become a rabbi. Instead, Williamson has become one of the country’s best-known New Age self-help gurus, reaching millions of people over more than three decades in the public eye. She counts Oprah and… Read more »

This Dutch Christian boatmaker wants to sail his life-size replica of Noah’s Ark to Israel

Johan Huibers and his Noah's Ark in Dorderecht, the Netherlands, October 2013. (Courtesy of Arv van Noach)

KRIMPEN AAN DE IJSSEL, Netherlands (JTA) — For two years, the world’s only seaworthy life-size replica of Noah’s Ark has been wowing passengers traveling along Holland’s Maas River. Built according to the specifications detailed in the Hebrew Bible, the 390-foot-long vessel towers to a height of 75 feet. It… Read more »

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez compared the migrant caravan to Jews fleeing Nazi Europe. Is it a fair take?  

Migrants climb up a bank of the nearly dry Tijuana River as they attempt to make their way past a police blockade to the El Chaparral port, Nov. 25, 2018. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is just one of 435 members of the incoming U.S. House of Representatives, but her youth, surprise primary win in her Bronx-area district, socialism and, above all, outspokenness have attracted outsize attention. So when Ocasio-Cortez, 29, likened the crisis at the U.S. border with… Read more »

Here are the Orthodox rabbis Israel trusts to perform conversions

(JTA) — Israel’s official Jewish religious authority has published a list of rabbis it trusts to perform Jewish conversions. They are all Orthodox. Advocates for religious reform in Israel said the publication of the list of 69 rabbinical courts was a mixed bag: While they are happy to see… Read more »

Why the co-founder of the Women’s March wants Linda Sarsour to step down

Teresa Shook attends The 2017 Common Good Forum at University Club in New York City, May 12, 2017. (Donald Bowers/Getty Images for The Common Good)

(JTA) — Teresa Shook says she likes to work “behind the scenes.” But this week, the woman who co-founded the Women’s March thrust herself front and center by calling its leadership to step down. Shook, a grandmother from the remote Hawaiian town of Hana, posted the Facebook event that… Read more »

Chanukah Cantata will bring together voices from across the Jewish community

Robert Lopez-Hanshaw is the organizer of the Chanukah Cantata (Debe Campbell)

The Tucson Jewish Community Center is hosting a Chanukah Cantata on Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m. that will feature cantors and other vocalists from multiple congregations across Tucson and the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra in a special telling of the Hanukkah story. Robert Lopez-Hanshaw, musical director at Temple Emanu-El,… Read more »

THA fourth-graders, Tucson J preschoolers bond in Madrichim program

THA fourth-graders, Tucson J preschoolers bond in Madrichim program (Gabby Erbst)

A new program coordinated by the Tucson Hebrew Academy and the Tucson Jewish Community Center is crafting leaders out of fourth- grade students. In the Madrichim (leaders) program, the THA students visit the Tucson J to teach preschoolers about the importance of upcoming holidays. Gabby Erbst, THA director of admissions… Read more »

Tucsonans grow Path to Peace on Gaza border

Tucsonans Ron and Jacquelyn Feller at the Path to Peace wall in Netiv Ha’asara, Oct. 21 (Debe Campbell)

Netiv Ha’asara, a moshav (cooperative farming community) northwest of Israel’s Negev, in the Hof Ashkelon region, is part of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona partnership area. With pastoral charm and fragrant lemon trees, lush gardens hug its 250 cozy homes near the Mediterranean coast. In the shadow of… Read more »

JFSA funds empower Israeli partnerships

(L-R) Oshrat Barel, Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona vice president; Shneor Katash, Partnership2Gether representative in Kiryat Malachi; Hila Yogev Keren, P2G director; and Hila Kordana, P2G representative in Kiryat Malachi, at the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly in Tel Aviv, Oct. 24. (Courtesy Jewish Agency for Israel)

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of four articles on how the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona allocates funds. The first, in the Oct. 12 issue, focused on youth and family education programs at synagogues. Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona applies a Planning and Allocation process… Read more »

Partnership2Gether strengthens local, overseas community programs

Kiryat Malachi youth perform in an Art City production. (Jewish Agency for Israel)

Each year, Art City provides more than 200 youth in Kiryat Malachi and Hof Ashkelon, Israel, an opportunity for professional development in the performing arts. The program contributes to the community and region with cultural and social activities, empowering youth with a sense of belonging, and using creativity to… Read more »

WIC Israel trip sparks family reunion

(L-R): Chava, Isaac, Jacob, Maria, Rachel, Elisaveta, and Raya Sher in 1931 in Kirensk, a village in Siberia. (Shore Family)

The recent Weintraub Israel Center annual mission to Israel did not only build community bridges; it also mended a bridge between a local family and long-lost family members with origins in Russia. Bonnie Shore-Dombrowski, a Tucson attorney, was joined on the October trip by her two sisters, Debby Shore… Read more »