News

In Europe, flotilla protests relatively small but Jews fear tensions with Turks

More than 700 people reportedly attended a rally outside the Israeli Embassy of London supporting Israel in the wake of the flotilla incident, June 2. (Adrian Korsner/JTA Photo Service)

Prague (JTA) — As thousands of protesters condemned Israel’s blockade of Gaza in cities across Europe, reactions within Jewish communities ranged from mild concern to alarm. On Saturday, June 5, 6,000 protesters marched in Germany, 20,000 in France and 2,000 in London against Israel’s actions in the May 31… Read more »

Interfaith agency holding annual food drive

Interfaith Community Services, a volunteer-based nonprofit founded in 1985, is holding its second annual “Freedom from Hunger” food drive through June 27. “The shelves of ICS’s food bank get barer in the summer,” says ICS Executive Director Bonnie Kampa, who notes that the agency provided food to 25 percent… Read more »

Commencement marks new beginnings for Hebrew High, Melton grads

Hebrew High Class of 2010 (L-R), front row: Sharon Glassberg, director, Coalition for Jewish Education; Andrew Irving Berger; Brianna Paige Finkelstein; Jenna Brynn Langert; Ashley Robert Brio. Second row: Bryan Davis, Hebrew High Principal; Jeremy Fenn; Erica Esther Bee; David Richelson; Yonatan Meir Twena. Third row: Jacob Sheldon Kotz; Samuel B. Silverman; Carly Levy; Erin Olitzky. Fourth row: Sam Rubin; Nate Sacks; Bonnie Segal; Ron Grant, senior class faculty

The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s Coalition for Jewish Education held two graduation ceremonies last month, for Hebrew High and the Tucson Melton Adult Mini School.… Read more »

Wealthy class transforming Israel

The Herzliya marina, where many of Israel's wealthy class dock their boats. (Moshe Shai/JTA Photo Service)

Herzliya Pituach (JTA) — Some of the wealthiest Israelis live on Galei Tchelet Street in this coastal town on a narrow road that seems to groan under the weight of its many mansions. Rooftops and balconies of the grand homes peek out from beyond the walls covered in oleander… Read more »

AZ immigration law not a copy of federal law

Two letters to the Arizona Jewish Post (June 4) are confusing, based as they are on mistaken understanding of federal immigration law. Though both writers claim the Arizona statute is an exact copy of federal law, it isn’t. SB 1070 defines a new crime; being an illegal is per… Read more »

JCC art gallery goes abstract with Ginny Tompkins exhibit

“Dawning of One Hundred Days,” acrylic by Ginny Tompkins

Paintings by Ginny Tompkins will be featured in the Tucson Jewish Community Center Fine Arts Gallery through Aug. 24. Specializing in very large abstract art in acrylic, Tompkins was the subject of “Ginny Tompkins: A Retrospective” by France-Marie Haeger, Ph.D., published in 2005 with 101 color plates. Haeger’s descriptions… Read more »

Temple Emanu-El welcomes new assistant rabbi, Jason Holtz

Rabbi Jason Holtz

Temple Emanu-El’s new assistant rabbi, Jason Holtz, will take up his duties June 21. Holtz received his rabbinic ordination earlier this month from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. Since 2006, he has served as a student rabbi at Congregation B’nai Abra­ham in Portsmouth, Ohio; Temple… Read more »

Modern Jewish pioneers flock to Patagonia

(L-R) Seth Grossman, Sol Lieberman, Janet Winans and Adrienne Halpert, gathered in Halpert’s store, Global Arts Gallery, have found varied ways to express their Jewish identity in Patagonia, Ariz.

Whether engaged in traditional religious practices or celebrating the High Holy days at the “temple of nature,” for the dozen or so Jewish residents of Patagonia, Ariz., identification with Judaism runs deep.… Read more »

Biden defends Israel on flotilla raid

WASHINGTON (JTA) — U.S. Vice President Joe Biden defended Israel’s handling of the raid on a Gaza aid flotilla, departing from the Obama administration’s approach. Biden said Israel has an “absolute right” to defend its security interests, according to a transcript Politico obtained of an interview that was to… Read more »

Question in Italy: How do we reach Orthodox Jews?

Rabbi Elia Richetti, the president of the Italian Rabbinical Assembly, mingles with tourists outside the Jewish Museum in Venice (Ruth Ellen Gruber/JTA Photo Service)

ROME (JTA) — The years-long battle that ended recently with the dismissal of the chief rabbi of Turin, Italy, highlights a 21st-century identity crisis afflicting the oldest Jewish community in the Diaspora. Rabbi Alberto Somekh, who like all recognized rabbis in Italy is Orthodox, had served as chief rabbi… Read more »

Flotilla fallout becomes rallying cry for Jews

NEW YORK (JTA) — The last time American Jews took to the streets in significant numbers to make the case for Israel’s right to defend itself, during Israel’s war with Hamas in early 2009, rockets were raining down on southern Israel from the Gaza Strip. This time it’s a… Read more »

Exhibit at Schindler factory site recalls Nazi-era Krakow

The factory in which Oskar Schindler used Jewish slave labor during World War II has been turned into a Holocaust museum. (Patti McCracken/JTA Photo Service)

KRAKOW, Poland (JTA) — In January 1994, an American tourist stepped out of a taxi into a cold, drizzling rain and entered the Jarden Jewish Bookshop at the far end of the square in the Jewish quarter of Krakow. On the counter he splayed a weeks-old copy of The… Read more »

Yizhar Hess with Rahm Emanuel

Zach Emanuel,  the son of  White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, celebrated his Bar Mitzvah in Jerusalem. The ceremony took place May 30 at the Davidson Center, located  near the Western Wall.  About 50 people, mostly family members, participated.  Security was heavy for the family and guests;  there… Read more »

Boycott targets stars from Elvis to Elton

WASHINGTON (Forward) — It was a feather in the cap of pro-boycott activists, but for Israelis a major setback. With battle lines drawn across concert halls and stadiums hosting rock bands, the decision by mega-star Elvis Costello to cancel his planned concerts in Israel is being viewed as a… Read more »

Germany’s Oberammergau Passion Play better, but not good

This scene in the Oberamergau Passion Play, showing Jesus' crucifixion, perpetuates the charge against the Jews of deicide, some Jewish critics say. (Passion Play/Obergammergau 2010/JTA Photo Service)

Berlin (JTA) — It’s a tradition that goes back hundreds of years in the Bavarian village of Oberammergau, nestled in the German Alps. After witnessing it in the 1930s, Hitler reportedly proclaimed, “Never has the menace of Jewry been so convincingly portrayed as in this presentation of what happened… Read more »

With flotilla deaths, Turkey may be near tipping point on Israel

Istanbul — While Turkey and Israel have seen their once-close relationship deteriorate steadily for the past few years, the Israeli commando raid of a Turkish-led flotilla heading for Gaza, in which several Turks were killed, marks a dangerous new low in the two countries’ relations. “Turkey is now involved… Read more »

Obama and Netanyahu: unfortunate incidents or a clash of worldviews?

Washington — President Obama’s Cairo speech and its equivalent invocations of Palestinian and Jewish sufferings. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s call for an unequivocal freeze: “Not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions.” The Joe Biden fiasco. And now the Obama administration’s venture into a nuclear-free Middle… Read more »

Musician Sam Glaser will hail fathers at Congregation Anshei Israel

Singer/songwriter Sam Glaser will be in Tucson to celebrate a local friend, his own father, and fathers everywhere this Father’s Day. The acclaimed Jewish pop musician will perform at a fundraiser suggested by his friend Michael Deitch on Sunday, June 20 at 1 p.m. at Congregation Anshei Israel. Deitch,… Read more »

Israeli teens to perform at JCC

The Israel Scouts (Tzofim) Friendship Caravan will return to Tucson on Tuesday, June 15, with a free song and dance performance at the Tucson Jewish Community Center at 6 p.m. Four performing groups, consisting of five male and five female 17-year-old Israeli Scouts, travel across North America each summer.… Read more »

Sandy Koufax headlines White House Jewish Heritage Month reception

Baseball legend Sandy Koufax greets fans at the Jewish American Heritage Month celebration at the White House on May 27. (The Jewish Channel/JTA Photo Service)

The athletes, the astronauts, the alternative music, the black rabbi, the white dress uniforms and, above all, the left-handed baseball immortal: Welcome to Barack Obama’s Jewish America. The inaugural Jewish America Heritage Month celebration at the White House, held May 27, underscored the Obama administration’s determination not to be… Read more »