News

Are Netanyahu and Barak bluffing on Iran, or are they already committed to war?

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz walks by Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Defence Minister Ehud Barak at an arrival ceremony of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit at the Tel Nof air force base. october 18, 2011. Schalit was moved into Egypt from captivity in Gaza in a prisoner swap deal including hundreds of Palestinian prisoners to be freed in return for Shalit. Gilad Shalit has been held in captivity by Hamas militants since June 2006. (Yossi Zeliger/FLASH90)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Has Israel’s game of chicken with Iran jumped the shark? Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak in recent months have been more explicit than ever about the likelihood of an Israeli strike on Iran to keep it from obtaining nuclear weapons capability.… Read more »

Battle lines drawn in the West Bank’s Ulpana neighborhood, with far-reaching implications

A general view shows the illegal Ulpana outpost, adjacent to the Beit El Jewish settlement near the Palestinian West Bank city of Ramallah, on April 23, 2012. The Israeli government appeared divided following a ruling by the Supreme Court of Justice to demolish Ulpana before the end of the month as it was set up without government permission on Palestinian land. (Noam Moskowitz/ Flash90)

BEIT EL, West Bank (JTA) — Alex Traiman stands under a tarp in his spacious backyard as his 10-year-old, Tmima, turns cartwheels on the lawn. “This is our home,” Traiman says, pointing to his single-floor apartment filled with books and children’s toys. “We did not come here to trample… Read more »

ESSAY: Benzion Netanyahu’s role in U.S. politics

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with his father, Benzion, at a memorial day for Yoni Netanyahu at Mount Herzl military cemetary in Jerusalem, June 26, 2007. (Michael Fattal/Flash90)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Benzion Netanyahu — historian, one-time political activist and father of Israel’s prime minister — died Monday in Jerusalem at 102. An accomplished scholar and the patriarch of one of Israel’s most important political families, he also played a surprising and little-known role in American political… Read more »

Obama’s Jewish support rises over past six months, AJC poll finds

President Obama, shown hosting a Passover Seder at the White House on April 6, 2012, has gained Jewish support in the last half year, according to a new poll. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama enjoys the support of three-fifths of American Jews, according to the latest American Jewish Committee survey, a significant improvement over where he stood half a year ago in the organization’s polling. The poll, released Monday, shows Obama with 61 percent of the Jewish vote,… Read more »

Toulouse shooting spotlights problems of tracking hate crimes in Europe

BRUSSELS (JTA) — Jihadist websites eat up a fair share of Bart Olmer’s workday. He even has passwords to some closed hate forums. “Reading hate speech is part of the job,” says Olmer, who reports on intelligence services for Holland’s largest circulation daily, De Telegraaf. It’s an explanation he… Read more »

At Yom Ha’atzmaut, school shows it’s OK for Jewish, Arab students to have differences

Arab and Israeli students holding hands at the Max Rayne Hand in Hand School for Bilingual Education in Jerusalem. (Kobi Gideon/Flash90/JTA)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The two seventh-grade girls walk together down the hall, their heads touching as they talk excitedly. Dana’s dark auburn hair is pulled back in a ponytail. Waard’s head is covered by a hijab, the traditional Arab headscarf, held with a fashionable pin. Dana is Jewish and… Read more »

Obama outlines Holocaust lessons that are particular and universal

President Obama embraces Elie Wiesel before delivering a speech about the Holocaust and its meaning at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, April 23, 2012. (Courtesy USHMM)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — One by one, the emails from the White House arrived in inboxes across Washington on Monday morning, each highlighting a unique initiative toward a different corner of the globe: Syria. Iran. Uganda. The unifying factor was the president’s appearance that day at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial… Read more »

Sarkozy falls in first round of French vote, but not in Jewish eyes

Supporters of Nicolas Sarkozy awaiting his arrival at the Place de la Concorde in Paris, April 15, 2012. (Philippe Agnifili via CC)

PARIS (JTA) — Jewish voters couldn’t put incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy over the top in the first round of presidential elections in France. The Socialist Party candidate Francois Hollande eked out a 1.4 percent victory on Sunday over Sarkozy, the center-right president, although Jewish community leaders said Sarkozy was the… Read more »

Listen to patients, doctor/novelist Abraham Verghese says at Cindy Wool seminar

Abraham Verghese, M.D.

In this age of high-tech medicine compassion can often be neglected, but the annual Cindy Wool Memorial Seminar helps provide a remedy for healthcare professionals in Tucson. The third seminar and dinner on humanism in medicine, held March 28 at the Marriott University Park Hotel, sought to support physicians… Read more »

Mental illness focus of faith leaders’ conference

Interfaith Community Services will host a conference, “Faith Communities and Mental Illness: Tools for Response and Care,” on Friday, April 27, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at St. Philips in the Hills Episcopal Church. Created in response to the Jan. 8, 2011 shooting tragedy in Tucson, this “first… Read more »

Year in Tucson gives Israeli journalist new perspective

Alon Velan

Alon Velan, an Israeli reporter and editor at the Israel Broad­casting Authority, wasn’t sure what to expect on his leave of absence in Tucson. Here for a year with his wife, Hadas, who has a postdoctoral fellowship in psychology at the University of Arizona, and their two young children,… Read more »

Hasbara program boosts UA student’s passion for Israel

University of Arizona freshman Molly Katz Simon, right, with University of Texas at Austin student Tracy Frydberg, in Jerusalem. (Jeni Willenzik)

University of Arizona freshman Molly Katz Simon was the only Arizonan selected to participate in Hasbara Fellowships’ activism training program in Israel over winter break. One of 80 American students who spent more than two weeks traveling through Israel, meeting with leaders in business, politics, religion and social activism,… Read more »

Israel 64 Festival invites Tucsonans to ‘Celebrate Jerusalem’

Israeli flags fly from the balcony of the Tucson Jewish Community Center at last year’s Israel Festival. (Marty Johnston, TJCC)

The Weintraub Israel Center will be taking the Israel 64 Festival to the next level, literally and figuratively. Guy Gelbart, Israel Center director and community shaliach (emissary from Israel), explains that this year’s festival, which will be held May 6 from 1 to 6 p.m., will use both floors… Read more »

After 40 years in Tucson, Israel beckons Karsches

Carol Karsch, who is retiring after 23 years as executive director of the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona, with her husband, Dan, at the Foundation’s 20th Anniversary Celebration of the Endowment Book of Life on Feb. 7. (Martha Lochert)

Carol Karsch has wanted to live in Israel since she was 10 years old, when she began learning about the Jewish state at a synagogue in the small town of Norristown, Pa. Now Karsch, who will step down next month after 23 years at the helm of the Jewish… Read more »

A survivor’s son finds hope after Holocaust

The cover of artist Stan Lebovic’s book reads “Black is a Color, by a survivor’s son.” But in his search for meaning in the aftermath of the Holocaust, “I don’t focus on the negativity,” Lebovic promises. Instead, he finds hope and inspiration in the resilience of the Jewish people.… Read more »

Federation think tank seeks community input

Members of the Jewish community are invited to attend “Think Tank 2020” on Wednesday, May 2, from 5:15 to 6:45 p.m. at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. The event, convened by the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, will launch a strategic planning process to explore issues of importance to… Read more »

JFSA will award ‘Feddys’ at annual meeting

Marilyn Einstein

The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona will hold its annual meeting and awards celebration on Thurs­day, May 10 at 7 p.m. at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. “Feddys,” the custom metal and glass awards designed by Lynne Rae Lowe for the Federation, and other awards will be given to… Read more »

Student rabbi to lead Bet Shalom weekend

Adam Rubin

Adam Rubin, Ph.D., a rabbinic student from the Ziegler School of Rabbinical Studies in Los Angeles, will lead services at Congregation Bet Shalom during the weekend of May 4-6. Rubin will lead Friday evening services at 6 p.m., which will be followed by a dinner, and will participate in… Read more »

JFSA announces staff changes, promotions

Rebecca Goodman, director of leadership development of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, has announced that she will be leaving Tucson and her position at the Federation in December 2012. She and her husband, Ted, will be moving to Indiana where he will be taking a position as assistant… Read more »