News

Jared Kushner relative solicits coronavirus tips for him on Facebook

(JTA) — A physician with family ties to senior White House adviser Jared Kushner said he solicited advice on Facebook for Kushner on how to deal with the coronavirus. Kurt Kloss, whose daughter is married to Kushner’s brother, on Wednesday asked a group of fellow emergency room physicians on… Read more »

Preparing for the ‘worst-case scenario’: Jewish aid groups scramble amid the coronavirus outbreak

Masbia kosher supervisor Pesach Gittleson assembles boxes containing food for people who may be quarantined or unable to obtain food due to the coronavirus outbreak. (Alexander Rapaport)

NEW YORK (JTA) — The run-up to Passover is the busiest time of the year for Masbia, a nonprofit that operates three kosher soup kitchens in Brooklyn and Queens. The organization has to order all kosher-for-Passover food and scrub one of its locations’ kitchens so it can prepare food… Read more »

Brown committee recommends university divest from companies that ‘profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land’

(JTA) — A Brown advisory committee has issued a formal recommendation that the Ivy League university divest from “any company that profits from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.” The recommendation was contained in an official report made to the university president and its highest governing body, The Brown… Read more »

Auschwitz Memorial closes to visitors over coronavirus fears

(JTA) — The Auschwitz Memorial and the site of the former Nazi camp are closed to visitors due to concerns over the coronavirus. The memorial announced on Wednesday that it would shut down until March 25. The announcement comes on the heels of the decision by the Polish government… Read more »

Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 23 years in prison

(JTA) — Disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison on Wednesday, more than two weeks after being found guilty on two counts of rape and sexual assault. Weinstein, 67, could have been sentenced to a maximum 29 years or as little as five years,… Read more »

From ‘Spock’ greetings to chopstick Torah pointers, synagogues are getting creative amid the coronavirus outbreak

To minimize the spread of germs, congregants at Temple Emanuel of the Pascack Valley are using disposable chopsticks in lieu of a shared yad when reading from the Torah. (Courtesy Alan Sokoloff)

(JTA) — On a typical Friday, some 200 people show up for services at Temple De Hirsch Sinai, a Reform congregation in Seattle. But last week, there was no one in the pews as Rabbi Daniel Weiner welcomed Shabbat in the synagogue’s smaller sanctuary. Instead, some 1,500 people watched… Read more »

‘It’s separating families’: How the unprecedented coronavirus lockdown is affecting Italy’s Jews

A man and woman stand outside the Milan Cathedral with protective masks and sanitizing gels, Feb. 23, 2020. (Andrea Diodato/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

(JTA) — The outbreak of the coronavirus in northern Italy forced Claudia Bagnarelli to make a painful choice. “To keep visiting my 94-year-old mother, I needed to stop seeing everyone else in my life,” Bagnarelli, a Jewish ballet teacher from Milan, said Monday. To avoid the risk of infecting… Read more »

Amid coronavirus fears, Tucson Festival of Books is cancelled

The   Tucson Festival of Books board of directors canceled the 2020 festival, which was scheduled for this weekend, March 14 and 15, after more than 100 authors withdrew due to fears of coronavirus (COVID-19). “We know the festival brings much joy to many in our community,” an announcement from… Read more »

Purim fun should not eclipse message on education

Rabbi Yossie Shemtov

Two thousand five hundred years ago, Haman — then prime minister of the Persian Empire — succeeded in convincing King Ahasuerus to issue a decree to destroy the Jews throughout the land.  Following the issuance of this decree, Haman and his comrades went strolling with jovial hearts and encountered the… Read more »

Tucson, Phoenix are best cities for sunshine

It’s no surprise to us who live in the Sonoran Desert that, on average, we enjoy 286 sunny days a year in Tucson — while the U.S. average is 205. Old Pueblo residents can get ample doses of vitamin D while those in the Pacific Northwest are depleted. We… Read more »

Local, Israeli experts to discuss modern Israel at NW symposium

David Graizbord

Editor’s note: This event has been postponed until November due the spread of COVID-19. The Jewish Federation and Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona have canceled all public events through April 16 out of an abundance of caution.   Israeli politics, water scarcity, and medical advances will highlight “Israel… Read more »

Surgeon looks to shed light on serial killers at medical professionals’ dinner

Brain surgeon Allan Hamilton, M.D., pictured at one of his TED talks, will speak to the Tucson Maimonides Society March 16.

Editor’s note: Due to the spread of COVID-19, the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona on March 13 has cancelled all public events through April 16.  Tucson Maimonides Society’s March presentation sounds like it comes straight from the set of a television medical drama. Indeed, speaker Allan Hamilton, M.D., is… Read more »

Tucson’s first mezuzah week set to ensure spiritual security

Rabbi Moshe Peretz Gilden

“Tucson Mezuzah Week’ is the first community-wide opportunity, offered by Congregation Chofetz Chayim and the Southwest Torah Institute, to have every Jewish home in Tucson protected by the mitzvah of placing mezuzot on every doorpost,” says the congregation’s Rabbi Israel Becker. Often called the “Jewish security system,” the mezuzah is… Read more »