News

Obama advisor: leave Jerusalem for last

 WASHINGTON (JTA) — A top adviser to President Obama said talks on Jerusalem should be left for last. “The president agrees that Jerusalem as an issue can’t be the first issue for negotiations,” David Axelrod, Obama’s top political adviser, told a small group of journalists working for Jewish media.… Read more »

U.S. Communities are building ties to Haiti

 PETIT-GOAVE, Haiti (JTA) — Not a single Jew lives among the 170,000 inhabitants of Petit-Goâve, nor among the 20,000 refugees from Port-au-Prince who have crowded into this town since a magnitude-7.0 earthquake leveled Haiti’s capital in January.  But Jews are among those helping bring Petit-Goâve back to life.  “After… Read more »

Young Israeli choreographer brings hot dance group to U.S.

Israeli choreographer Shlomi Elimelech, center, rehearses with Tzuza Dance Troupe members

Israeli choreographer Shlomi Elimelech, 21, started Tzuza Dance Troupe, which performed to a standing-room-only crowd at Tucson’s Israel Festival on April 25, when he was just 16. Tzuza now has schools in two cities with more than 500 students and recently took second place in an Israeli dance competition… Read more »

Palestinians seek nonviolent movement

BIL’IN, West Bank (JTA) – Rami Burnat sits in his wheelchair toward the back of a sprawling courtyard where Palestinian speakers take turns championing the cause of nonviolent resistance. Burnat, 29, has been disabled ever since a bullet pierced his neck in clashes in late 2000, shortly after the… Read more »

At Shavuot, Or Chadash to dedicate orphan Torah scroll

Herb Cohn reads from Or Chadash's new Czech Torah scroll.

When Congregation Or Chadash formally received a Czechoslovakian Holocaust Scroll in December 2009, a once vital Czech Jewish community “was brought back to life,” says Rabbi Thomas Louchheim. Scroll MST-1408, an orphan scroll that survived World War II, is on long-term loan to Or Chadash from the Memorial Scrolls… Read more »

Wounded days after nuptials, Israeli soldier gets plastic surgery in Tucson

Wounded Israeli soldier Aharon Karov lights the memorial torch at the Israel Center's Yom Hazikaron (Israeli Memorial Day) ceremony April 18.

The morning after his wedding on Dec. 25, 2008, Aharon Karov, a 2nd Lt. in the Israel Defense Forces Paratroopers Brigade, was called up for service in Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. Twelve days later, the 22-year-old platoon leader was critically wounded as his unit entered a booby-trapped building.… Read more »

Immigration bill thrusts Arizona into national spotlight; Tucsonans react

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed Senate Bill 1070, the Safe Neighborhoods; Immigration; Law Enforcement Act on April 23, opening the floodgates to torrents of criticism and discussion of state vs. federal immigration policy. The debate has ranged from outrage about potential racial profiling, to legal opinions about the new… Read more »

THA tidbits: SMART boards rule

“We want to have SMART boards in every classroom,” says Ronnie Sebold, director of admissions at Tucson Hebrew Academy, which currently has two such devices. The big whiteboard in front of the 6th grade literature class, taught by Jordan Hill, takes the place of a traditional blackboard. But its… Read more »

New Arizona law brings renewed attention to immigration reform

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Jewish groups are slamming Arizona’s stringent new immigration-enforcement law, but hope outrage over the measure will reignite efforts to push comprehensive immigration reform on a national level. “I believe that it has absolutely ignited a movement across this country for comprehensive immigration reform,” said U.S. Rep.… Read more »

Rally takes aim at Obama’s Mideast policies

NEW YORK (New York Jewish Week) — As the rain came down and a crowd estimated at about 1,000 listened to speeches, the organizers of a rally opposed to President Obama’s policies on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict fielded a request from U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner. Weiner (D-N.Y.), who represents a… Read more »

Liberators gather, perhaps for last time, to recall the camps

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Walking along the dimly lit corridors of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the liberators peered at black-and-white photographs and listened to tour guides detail events that many had witnessed as young men in the armed forces.  The relative quiet was a sharp contrast to the flurry… Read more »

Israelis maintain presence in Haiti for the long haul

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (JTA) — Amir Kashi, a 34-year-old social worker from Ma’ale Adumim, and Yehonatan Abraham, a 30-year-old medic from Beersheva, knew nothing about Haiti before the earthquake in January.  But both Israelis felt compelled to act after the disaster struck.  “I felt impotent in Israel, sitting in front… Read more »

Poll: Jews more conflicted on immigration than leadership

By Ron Kampeas/Jan. 5, 2010  WASHINGTON (JTA) — A new poll suggests that American Jews are more conflicted about the challenges of immigration than their communal leaders — but that’s to be expected, the Jewish leaders say.  The poll, commissioned by the pro-enforcement Center for Immigration Studies, shows that… Read more »

Mass converts pose dilemma for Latin American Jews

CARTAGENA, Colombia (JTA) -- Luis Alberto Prieto Vargas appears to be a Jew. He wears a kipah, he introduces himself as Jewish and two years ago Vargas, a Christian by birth, underwent a conversion ceremony to Judaism following several years of religious study. But Vargas’ conversion hit a key… Read more »

Poland’s Jewish heritage is about more than just death

BIELSKO-BIALA, Poland (JTA) -- Outside the elegant theater in the city of Bielsko Biala in southern Poland, a billboard advertises an upcoming play. Stark letters spell out the title: "Zyd" -- Jew. The lettering looks almost menacing, like scrawled graffiti, and I am a little taken aback. But then… Read more »

Family tragedy spurs resources for therapists

Ester LautenbergEster Lautenberg

“It was wonderful therapy” to begin writing books the year after Mitchell died, says Leutenberg, whose daughter Kathy Khalsa, a psychiatric occupational therapist, had approached her about a collaboration. Khalsa wanted to create a workbook with reproducible handouts that would be fun to use, and would help people open… Read more »

Stand-up comic/rabbi to do his shtick for Bet Shalom

    Many rabbis tell jokes during their sermons, but Rabbi Bob Alper makes his living primarily as a stand-up comic. And he still conducts High Holiday services at Temple Micah in Philadelphia “so I don’t have to listen to other rabbis preach, because I’m funnier,” he says.  … Read more »