Thousands march in Berlin against anti-Semitism

(JTA) — More than 10,000 people marched in Berlin against anti-Semitism and in a show of support for the victims of anti-Semitic violence in the city of Halle. The march on Sunday left from Bebelplatz, significant as a site of Nazi book-burning, to the New Synagogue in central Berlin.… Read more »

Here’s what it’s like to grow up as a Jew in Iraq

Ceen Gabbai was born and raised as a Jew in Iraq, and received asylum in the United States in 2015. She now lives in Brooklyn. (Courtesy of Gabbai)

NEW YORK (JTA) — When Ceen Gabbai argued with her first-grade teacher about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, she didn’t realize how big of a risk she was taking. The year was 2000 and students across the world held strong opinions about the Second Intifada, an outbreak of violence that claimed… Read more »

In Belgium, Jewish leaders worry that anti-Semitism has gone mainstream

A Belgian politician presented this painting featuring a large swastika at the Bog-Art Gallery in Brussels. (Courtesy of LBCA)

BRUSSELS (JTA) — At a parade here in March, revelers danced to a song about Jewish greed while standing on a float shaped like an Orthodox Jewish man with a rat on his shoulder holding money. In August, an op-ed in a major Belgian newspaper called Jews in Israel… Read more »

Lithuanian descendants return for dedication

Tucsonans Joel Alpert and Nancy Lefkowitz attended the Synagogue Square Memorial dedication in Yurburg, Lithuania, on July 19. (Courtesy Joel Alpert)

The town of Yurburg, Lithuania, dedicated a new Synagogue Square Memorial on July 19. Tucson genealogist and author Joel Alpert and his wife, Nancy Lefkowitz along with 10 of his relatives from Israel, Canada, and the United States, represented the descendants of emigres from the once-thriving Jewish community. “It… Read more »

Finkel to lead teens on March of the Living

Tucson Holocaust survivor  Sidney Finkel will lead Southern Arizona teens on the 2020 March of the Living. Participants will retrace his steps through his childhood home of Piotrkow, Poland, including the first Nazi decreed ghetto in occupied Poland, where he and his family were forced to live. Finkel is… Read more »

Documents about Holocaust survivors online

After Hitler’s regime was defeated, many Holocaust survivors and liberated forced laborers wanted to leave Europe. Along with the United States, the most desirable emigration destinations included Canada and Australia. Most of the emigrants were carried by nearly 400 ships the Allies supplied for this mass migration movement; some… Read more »

Jewish and Arab astronauts head to space together

The first Arab to visit the International Space Station launched there on Wednesday with the daughter of an Israeli father. Hazzaa al-Mansoori, 35, of the United Arab Emirates and Jessica Meir, an American, took off on the historic trip from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on a Soyuz rocket. They will remain… Read more »

Israeli minister: Promoters of the Israel boycott movement are anti-Semitic

Israel’s public security minister presented a report at a conference in Brussels on Wednesday that includes 80 examples of what he called anti-Semitism by key European promoters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. In one example from April, Jenny Tonge, a lawmaker in the upper chamber… Read more »

‘Why is it that I can’t say something against the Jews?’ Malaysia’s leader asks at Columbia

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, Aug. 31, 2019. (Chris Jung/NurPhoto/Getty Images/JTA Photo Service)

NEW YORK (JTA) — The prime minister of Malaysia defended his past anti-Semitic statements and questioned the number of Jews killed during the Holocaust in a speech at Columbia University. “I am exercising my right to free speech. Why is it that I can’t say something against the Jews,… Read more »

Bulgaria opens 1st Jewish school in over 20 years

(JTA) — Bulgaria’s Jewish community opened its first Jewish school in over 20 years. The opening last week of the Ronald S. Lauder Day School in Sofia is a significant development for the some 6,000 members of the Jewish minority in Bulgaria. Lauder, the president of the World Jewish… Read more »

Vilnius, a hub of Torah study destroyed by Nazis, to get new yeshiva

(JTA) — A rabbi in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, is opening there what he says is the city’s first yeshiva, or Jewish religious seminary, since World War II. The Vilna Yeshiva will have about a dozen students when it opens this fall, Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky, the Chabad-Lubavitch… Read more »

United Arab Emirates will build its first official synagogue

(JTA) — Construction on the first official synagogue in the United Arab Emirates will begin in several months. The synagogue, slated to be completed by 2022, will be part of a multi-faith complex called the Abrahamic Family House in the capital Abu Dhabi, Reuters reported, citing the Abu Dhabi-based… Read more »

Extreme Jewish religious sect Lev Tahor requested political asylum from Iran

(JTA) — Lev Tahor, a fringe haredi Orthodox sect, requested political asylum from the Iranian government. In its request, the group “declared their loyalty and submission to the Supreme Leader and Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” It asks for “asylum, protection and religious freedom of the families… Read more »

2 new synagogues open in Budapest

(JTA) – Chabad-Lubavitch rabbis in Hungary opened two new synagogues in the Budapest area. The larger synagogue in Újlipótváros, a central area of the capital city, is housed in a riverside building overlooking the Danube River. It will be part of a three-story Jewish community center and worship complex… Read more »

Transnistria is a tiny, poor state in Eastern Europe. The few Jews left there eye an escape.

Anastasia and Vitaly pose for wedding photos in Tiraspol, Transnistria, Aug. 24, 2019. (Courtesy of Roman Yanushevsky/Channel 9)

TIRASPOL, Transnistria (JTA) — Officially, this disputed sliver of land between Ukraine and Moldova is called the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic. But to visitors to Transnistria, a breakaway region that declared its independence in the 1990s but which most of the world considers part of Moldova, it looks more like… Read more »

Netanyahu’s push to annex the Jordan Valley, explained

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement in Ramat Gan on September 10, 2019. Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90

(JTA) — Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that if he is re-elected next week, he’ll immediately annex a big part of the West Bank: the Jordan Valley. That’s kind of a big deal. On the other hand, it’s not really — yet. That specific eastern swath of the West Bank… Read more »

How should Jews treat each other? Jewish thinkers have come up with a plan.

Jeiwsh thought leaders and activists from around the world present the Declaration of Our Common Destiny to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Sept. 10, 2019. (Avishag Shaar-Yashuv)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Despite our differences, Jews around the world have remained bound together by a shared history, by the Torah and by our core values, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin told Jewish thinkers from around the world. The 30 scholars and activists met this week in Jerusalem to hammer… Read more »

British House of Commons’ Jewish speaker John Bercow to resign

(JTA) — John Bercow, the British House of Commons speaker who became widely known for his cries of “Order!” and other colorful rhetoric, announced Monday that he will resign his post by the end of October. Bercow is Jewish and said last year: “I’ve always been very open about… Read more »