World

Exhibit at Schindler factory site recalls Nazi-era Krakow

The factory in which Oskar Schindler used Jewish slave labor during World War II has been turned into a Holocaust museum. (Patti McCracken/JTA Photo Service)

KRAKOW, Poland (JTA) — In January 1994, an American tourist stepped out of a taxi into a cold, drizzling rain and entered the Jarden Jewish Bookshop at the far end of the square in the Jewish quarter of Krakow. On the counter he splayed a weeks-old copy of The… Read more »

Germany’s Oberammergau Passion Play better, but not good

This scene in the Oberamergau Passion Play, showing Jesus' crucifixion, perpetuates the charge against the Jews of deicide, some Jewish critics say. (Passion Play/Obergammergau 2010/JTA Photo Service)

Berlin (JTA) — It’s a tradition that goes back hundreds of years in the Bavarian village of Oberammergau, nestled in the German Alps. After witnessing it in the 1930s, Hitler reportedly proclaimed, “Never has the menace of Jewry been so convincingly portrayed as in this presentation of what happened… Read more »

Volunteers bring some relief to needy Lithuanian, Latvian Jews

MOSCOW (JTA) — It took them five days and nights in four hotels through three countries to deliver two vans from London to the Jews of Latvia and Lithuania. Eight British volunteers went on a “Mission Impossible,” a program of the British charity World Jewish Relief, to aid Jewish… Read more »

Helping Russian Jews build community themselves

MOSCOW (JTA) – After decades of community-building from the top down, often with the aid of donors from overseas, can Russia’s Jewish communities build themselves from the bottom up? That’s the question that a group of, well, donors from overseas are trying to determine with a new educational program… 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 »

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 »

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 »