News

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 »

‘Clarity’ or inconsistency? Conservatives debate surging Gingrich

The rise in the Republican presidential polls by Newt Gingrich, shown speaking at a GOP leadership conference in Las Vegas on Oct. 19, 2011, has refocused attention on his foreign policy statements. (Gage Skidmore via Creative Commons)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — On the campaign trail, Newt Gingrich has given his fellow Republican presidential candidates a wide berth, often going out of his way to praise them. Instead of attacking his rivals, Gingrich has focused his fire on President Obama. The strategy appears to be paying off. The… Read more »

“Together We Thrive” launched as fundraiser for The Fund for Civility, Respect and Understanding and YWCA Tucson

Janet Marcotte, left, photographer, signs copy of "Together We Thrive" for Julie Glaser Ray. (Sheila Wilensky)

The angst of the tragic shootings on Jan.8 that killed six people and wounded 13 others, and the  heartfelt responses of Tucsonans,were both present at the book launch of “Together We Thrive” at the YWCA Tucson on Nov. 30. The new book pairs the words of President Barack Obama… Read more »

In Sherman-Berman race, grass-roots strength faces off with Capital Hill heft

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The California race between Democratic congressional incumbents Howard Berman and Brad Sherman is seen as pitting experience against energy, compromise against confrontation and — painfully for many in the Jewish community — pro-Israel stalwart against pro-Israel stalwart. “These are two guys who are extraordinary leaders on… Read more »

Barney Frank leaves as he served: With a sharp wit

U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, shown addressing the World Economic Forum in Siwtzerland in January 2010, was influential in advancing gay rights and on economic reform. (World Economic Forum via Creative Commons)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Barney Frank’s talk of retirement was anything but retiring. The veteran Jewish congressman’s announcement on Monday that he would not seek re-election was replete with the same caliber of verbal bombs — lobbed and received — that characterized much of his career. Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat,… Read more »

In their off hours, El Al flight crews are now ‘ambassadors’

Six members of an El Al Airlines crew spoke with students at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., as part of a new program, Nov. 28, 2011. Shown with the crew is Lehi Rothschild, third from right, the Jewish Agency fellow who organized the event. (Dan Klein)

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (JTA) — A good flight crew requires a certain amount of charm to keep passengers calm during turbulence, emergencies or pretzel shortages. Five El Al Airlines flight attendants and a pilot put those skills to the test Monday at Rutgers University in New Jersey as they… Read more »

In its fifth year, Israeli tackle football league attracting natives and newcomers

Jerusalem Lions take on Tel Aviv Pioneers in an Israel Football League game at Kraft Family Stadium. (IFL File Photos)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — It’s a cold Thursday night in Jerusalem and by the looks of it, you’d think there was a meeting of the United Nations under way. Men are carrying on in Hebrew, English, Arabic, Russian and French, but they’re not talking peace. They’re here to settle the… Read more »

Can Tel Aviv become a center for fashion?

Israeli designer Dorit Bar Or, center, acknowledging applause with models at the close of her show at Tel Aviv Fashion Week, Nov. 21, 2011. (Meir Partush/Flash 90)

TEL AVIV (JTA) — For Israeli fashionistas, last week’s inaugural Tel Aviv Fashion Week proved what they’ve known for years: Israeli fashion is creative, current and worthy of worldwide attention — and, hopefully, sales. “I wanted to help my business and help my country,” said organizer Ofir Lev, deputy… Read more »

Jewish leaders meet Biden in Thanksgiving week appeal for Pollard

Jewish leaders who met with Vice President Joe Biden, shown here checking out an iPhone app in the White House with President Obama in July 2011, said in a statment that they had a "meaningful and productive" meeting the vice president about Jonathan Pollard. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Four drug dealers, a trafficker in stolen goods, a gambler and a turkey made President Obama’s Thanksgiving freedom list, but Israel’s best-known spy did not. But advocates of releasing Jonathan Pollard aren’t giving up hope. Seven Jewish leaders who met Nov. 21 with Vice President Joe… Read more »

As haredi population grows, can Israel put them to work?

A haredi Orthodox woman taking part in one of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s technical training programs. (Courtesy JDC)

At Israel’s first college for the haredi Orthodox, lectures on social work and computer programming are conducted just down the hall from a pair of classrooms transformed into a nursery for the students’ babies. The average female student here — women comprise a majority of the 1,100 student body… Read more »

As Berlusconi exits, a new report shows rising anti-Semitism in Italy

Silvio Berlusconi (left) toasts with Israeli President Shimon Peres at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem in February 2010. (Photo: Miriam Alster/FLASH90/JTA)

Crowds on the streets of Rome jeered and cheered when their long-serving, scandal-plagued prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, stepped down earlier this month. A choir even sang Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” in front of the presidential palace as he handed in his resignation. Italian Jews don’t expect Berlusconi’s ouster to have… Read more »

ATC offers tours of Temple of Music and Art

Madeline Dreyfus Heineman Berger, founder of the Temple of Music and Art

David Ira Goldstein has been artistic director of the Arizona Theatre Company for 20 years. But the ATC’s Jewish legacy in Tucson goes back much further — all the way to the founding of the ATC’s Tucson home, the Temple of Music and Art, by Madeline Dreyfus Heineman Berger,… Read more »

Solomon brings new one-man show to Invisible Theatre

Steve Solomon

Steve Solomon, star and creator of one of the longest running one-man comedy shows in history, “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m in Therapy,” presents a new show next month at the Invisible Theatre. In “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish and I’m Home for the Holidays:… Read more »

‘Buy Israel Week’ campaign promotes Israeli products

Their effort may be coming on the heels of “Black Friday,” but organizers of a new nationwide campaign are hoping that consumers will hold on to some of their shopping dollars to show support for Israel. Jewish newspapers, pro-Israel groups, Israeli companies and retailers are joining together to launch… Read more »

Cohon award to go to ‘Jews for Judaism’ chief

Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz

The Rabbi Samuel S. and A. Irma Cohon Memorial Foundation will award the Cohon Foundation Award for 2011 to Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz, founder of Jews for Judaism International, which has helped young people resist the pull of cults and missionaries and has reunited more than a thousand young Jews… Read more »

New UA Hillel center set for dedication, tours

The University of Arizona Hillel Foundation will formally dedicate the Meyer Agron Center for Jewish Life on the Harvey & Deanna Evenchik Campus at the University of Arizona on Sunday, Dec. 11 at 3:30 p.m. A capital campaign that began in the fall of 2010 raised funds to renovate… Read more »

U.S. tightens sanctions on Iranian economy

With new measures tightening sanctions on Iran, the United States moved one step further toward effectively cutting off the Islamic Republic’s economy from the West. President Obama issued the measures Monday in the form of an executive order. At a news conference the same day, Secretary of State Hillary… Read more »

Meeting Rabbi Shlomo, Neshama Carlebach inspired Tucsonans

An innovative figure emerged in my youth who inspired me in a way that was so different from many others — a rabbi with a guitar and amazing stories who reached into the inner depths of my soul. It was Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, who became known as the “sweet… Read more »

JCF accepting Israel scholarship applications

The Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona is accepting applications from nonprofit organizations for the Goldman Family Israel Scholarship Grant, which provides up to $2,500 for one trip to Israel. Previously, the Jewish Federation’s Coalition for Jewish Education and Tucson Hebrew Academy were awarded this grant and each used… Read more »

Park Place to host Hanukkah Mall Madness

Children of all ages and their parents are invited to celebrate at Shalom Tucson’s Hanukkah Mall Madness on Sunday, Dec. 4, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Park Place, near the food court. Local synagogues, organizations, and Jewish agencies will present arts and crafts activities, including holiday cards and… Read more »