News

Young women cement bonds with Israel, affirm JFSA goals on mission

Rachel Green reads a newspaper while floating in the Dead Sea

Sixteen Jewish women, ages 32 to 45, plus group leader Amy Hirshberg Lederman, departed from Tucson in June on a 10-day Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona mission that many say changed their lives.  “It was a pretty emotional trip. If the personal is political then this was a political… Read more »

Diamondbacks to hold Jewish Heritage Day

The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona will take baseball fans out to the ballgame for the inaugural Jewish Heritage Day at Chase Field in Phoenix on Sunday, Aug. 22. The Colorado Rockies will play the Arizona Diamondbacks at 1:10 p.m. and fans will celebrate Arizona’s Jewish heritage with special… Read more »

Clinton-Mezvinsky wedding raises questions about intermarriage

Marc Mezvinsky and Chelsea Clinton during their wedding ceremony, July 31, 2010 (Genevieve de Manio)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Is it possible that the first iconic Jewish picture of the decade is of an interfaith marriage? Photographs taken Saturday show the Jewish groom wearing a yarmulke and a crumpled tallit staring into the eyes of his giddy bride under a traditional Jewish wedding canopy… Read more »

Elections 2010: In races for Congress, some Jewish incumbents at risk

Rodney Glassman

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Senate could go either way. Hopes are dimmer in the House. And Eric Cantor may at last have company. At least that’s the conventional wisdom on how Jewish lawmakers will do in November. If Jewish candidates sweep all the Senate races in this midterm election… Read more »

Negev wine farmers claim battle over land is sour grapes

Moshe Zohar, who grew these pomegrante trees on his farm in the Negev, is facing eviction from the same government agencies that granted him the land. (Sue Fishkoff)

BEERSHEBA, Israel (JTA) — Moshe Zohar’s hands are rough and callused, his face lined with the dust of the desert he farms half an hour outside this southern Israeli city. Eleven years ago Zohar, his wife, Hilda, and their three children settled on this harsh land to build Nahal… Read more »

Lightman grants available through May 11

The Steven A. Lightman Family Foundation, a supporting organization of the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona, is reiterating its call for grants. Areas of interest include children, education, the needy, the elderly, the environment and the arts. It is suggested that funding requests be between $500 and $5,000.… Read more »

Daniel Schorr, crusading journalist, never forgot his Jewish roots

Daniel Schorr

WASHINGTON (JTA) — It took about seven years for Daniel Schorr to tire of being a journalist for Jewish media. The distaste of digesting for JTA’s readers the news of the emerging Holocaust, combined with what he saw as the blinkered parochialism of Jewish news, led him to quit… Read more »

Tourists flocking to Israel at record pace

Tourists from Singapore cover themselves with mud while bathing in the Dead Sea. (Yossi Zamir / Flash 90 / JTA)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli tour guide Yossi Weiss was leading two busloads of American Christian pilgrims on a tour of Jerusalem’s Old City when he noted how difficult it was to move around. The Jewish Quarter was so crowded and busy Monday as the group visited the Temple Mount,… Read more »

Netanyahu hints at flexibility on Jerusalem

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a Jewish gathering in New York, July 7, 2010. (Michael Priest Photography)

NEW YORK (JTA) — It was an otherwise wholly unremarkable stump speech before a friendly audience in New York. On the evening of July 7 at Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel, the Israeli prime minister addressed a roomful of more than 300 Jews on the subjects of Iran, his government’s eagerness… Read more »

It’s all in a name: Tale of an orphan’s rescue from Chechnya

David Naumkin and Olga Elshanskaya, the Jewish Agency for Israel employee who took the 20-year-old from a Chechen orphanage to a Moscow asylum to work with him. (Anna Rudnitskaya/JTA)

MOSCOW (JTA) — In a room at a Jewish asylum in Moscow, the boy sits on the lower part of a bunk bed looking down at the floor. Headphones on his ears, he pays no notice to a visitor. Except for his name, David Naumkin, there is no evidence… Read more »

‘Cultural intifada’ as Costello, Meg Ryan and others cancel Israel plans

British singer Elton John performs in Ramat Gan, Israel, June 17, 2010. (Flash90 / JTA)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Actress Meg Ryan’s decision to cancel her appearance at this week’s Jerusalem Film Festival didn’t garner the same attention in Israel as British rocker Elvis Costello when he nixed his Israel concert this spring. Both, however, were a reminder to Israelis that in the eyes of… Read more »

Scarred by terrorism, Israeli brothers-in-law to compete in triathlon

Yeshurun Gavish, who will be participating in the July 18 New York City Triathlon, with two of his children. (Yeshurun Gavish/JTA Photo Service)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Just six months before the end of his Israeli army service, Elad Belachsan suffered a life-changing injury in a Palestinian attack. On a mission in the West Bank city of Nablus with his paratroopers unit, Belachsan, now 27, was near the front of the group… Read more »

Recession fuels rise in Russian aliyah

MOSCOW (JTA) – Years after Russian immigration to Israel dipped and then plateaued, the global economic downturn appears to be sending it higher again. Starting last year, aliyah from the former Soviet Union grew 21 percent over 2008, with 6,818 Russian-speaking immigrants moving to Israel in 2009. In the… Read more »

Stuart Levy: The man trying to make Iran sanctions work

Stuart Levey

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Stuart Levey was given a big stick when the Bush administration made him the first under secretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence. But the stick only started to hurt its targets — terrorist groups and rogue nations — when he figured out how… Read more »

Moscow exhibit gives a voice to Jewish Red Army soldiers

A Jewish Red Army veteran speaks at the "Writings and Reflections of Jewish Soldiers in the Red Army" exhibit in Mpscow. (Anna Rudnitskaya)

MOSCOW (JTA) — Lev Fein, a Jewish soldier in the Red Army, returned home to Minsk in 1945 to find a letter about his family being wiped out by the Nazis and the dire consequences of the occupation for Belarus Jews. “Father and Uncle Fein died on the third… Read more »

In a race of Jewish candidates, the challenger targets Schakowsky on Israel

Jan Schakowsky

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Joel Pollak has traveled from liberal to conservative in his young lifetime, and now he hopes to take Chicago’s storied Lakefront with him. The Harvard Law School graduate, 32, is running a quixotic campaign against U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), who has held the seat since… Read more »

Riding the French countryside in the Jewish-Muslim friendship bus

The Jewish-Muslim friendship bus team talks to a Muslim activist in the central square of Besancon, France, June 10, 2010. (Sue Fishkoff)

BESANCON, France (JTA) — On a hot afternoon in early June, an unusual looking bus is parked in the central square of this historic city in eastern France. Passers-by cast sidelong glances at the brightly colored portraits on its side accompanied by such slogans as “Jews and Muslims say… Read more »

On 100th birthday, Temple Emanu-El volunteer gets a blessing and a laugh

Elsa Leibovitz receives a blessingfrom Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon of Temple Emanu-El on her 100th birthday, June 25. (Joe Steiner)

Elsa Leibovitz celebrated her 100th birthday on June 25 in grand style by receiving a blessing from Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon at Temple Emanu-El’s Friday night service and sponsoring the evening’s Oneg Shabbat. “It’s wonderful to reach this age,” Leibovitz told the AJP by phone on the morning of… Read more »

Gay pride parade used ruse to include anti-Israel group, critics charge

An official with Kulanu, shown here marching in the Toronto Gay Pride Parade in June 2009, says the Jewish LGBT group wants to galvanize a large number of marchers for this year's parade. (Creative Commons/Sweet One)

TORONTO (JTA) – Canadian Jewish organizations are saying they will not back down after an unexpected policy reversal that will allow an anti-Israel group to participate in this year’s Toronto gay pride parade. Organizers of the annual parade, one of the largest events on Canada’s cultural calendar, backtracked this… Read more »