Opinion

BLOG Jared and Ivanka do their own thing as observant Jews. And that’s normal.

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 10: (AFP OUT) White House Senior Advisor to the President for Strategic Planning Jared Kushner (L) and his wife and President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump walk down the West Wing Colonnade following a bilateral meeting between Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe February 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump and Abe are expected to discuss many issues, including trade and security ties and will hold a joint press confrence later in the day. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

  (JTA) — So apparently Jared and Ivanka play golf on Shabbat. Cue the handwringing. The New York Post reported Wednesday that the president’s Jewish daughter and son-in-law like to hit the links on the holy day, and stay within the bounds of the Sabbath rules by walking the… Read more »

OP-ED Fewer marriages and fewer children means fewer Jews doing Jewish

Rabbi Jonathan Roos blows the shofar for nursery school children at Temple Sinai synagogue in Washington, D.C., Sept. 30, 2016. (Evelyn Hockstein/for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

  (JTA) — On Jan. 16, 1949, Toby Fassman married Max Cohen (Steven M. Cohen’s parents, now both of blessed memory). At 24, Toby was among the last of her circle of friends in Brooklyn to marry, and several jokingly remarked that Max had rescued her from lifelong singlehood.… Read more »

ANALYSIS ‘Jewish spouses matter,’ says a new demographic study. Let the battle begin.

Adam and Eve depicted on a 19th-century ketubah, a Jewish marriage contract, from the Norsa-Torrazzo Synagogue in Mantua, Italy. (DeAgostini/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — One of the wisest things ever said about intermarriage came from former Atlantic sports columnist Jake Simpson: “No stat could have predicted … the wonder that was David Tyree’s helmet catch in Super Bowl XLII.” Granted, Simpson wasn’t writing about the high rates of Jews marrying non-Jews.… Read more »

OP-ED Retaining ban on partisan pulpits is key to protecting religious freedom

Rabbi Jack Moline (Courtesy of the Interfaith Alliance)

That small little law known as the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits electioneering by houses of worship and other charities and which President Trump has vowed to repeal, is exceptionally important to preserve. Even if it is not widely enforced, the permission it grants to the Internal Revenue Service to… Read more »

OP-ED Trump’s cuts to foreign aid budget are dangerous and inhumane

Young women rally against child marriage, dowry and domestic violence in a protest organized by an American Jewish World Service grantee, the Masum Foundation, in Mavadi, India, March 31, 2015. (Jonathan Torgovnik/AJWS)

  NEW YORK (JTA) — This week, President Donald Trump proposed radical and cruel cuts to U.S. foreign aid. If his budget for 2018 is approved by Congress and implemented, it would slash crucial aid and development programs and weaken key institutions upholding human rights worldwide. As the head… Read more »

Covenant House grateful for assistance from Handmaker

B’nai B’rith Covenant House of Tucson is a low-income HUD housing community for seniors that provides safe, affordable housing for 120 older adults in mid-town. Early in the morning on Sunday, May 14, which was Mother’s Day, 40 residents living in building one were awoken to a blaring fire… Read more »

ANALYSIS Tel Aviv is the ‘home of Judaism.’ So is Boston, Sao Paulo, Marseille …

Ivanka Trump prays at the Western Wall, May 22, 2017. (Mendy Hechtman/Flash90)

  (JTA) — Donald Trump and his staff may have left Israel feeling pretty friendly to the Jews, but man, we don’t make it easy for them. Flying with reporters from Saudi Arabia to Israel on Monday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that they were “nto the second… Read more »

OP-ED Making the most of technology in Jewish education

An Israeli working with campers at the Union for Reform Judaism's 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy in New Jersey. (URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy)

(JTA) — You’ve seen the advertisements: A fit young woman pedals a stationary bicycle while an instructor on a video screen shouts encouragement. The company, Peloton, promises “fitness at your fingertips,” and both “live and on demand” spin classes and “world class instructors,” all from the comfort of your own… Read more »

ANALYSIS When a government won’t let you look away

President Donald Trump walks to a waiting limousine to greet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House, May 16, 2017. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

  NEW YORK (JTA) — No one who has lived in Israel or even visited for an extended time can forget the top-of-the-hour news broadcasts on Kol Yisrael, or Israel Radio. Before its shutdown this week as part of a byzantine reform of public broadcasting, the government-run station preceded… Read more »

ANALYSIS Emmanuel Macron wins French election, but Marine Le Pen wins legitimacy

Emmanuel Macron addressing supporters at the Louvre in Paris after winning the French presidential election, May 7, 2017. (David Ramos/Getty Images)

  (JTA) — Emmanuel Macron, the 39-year-old  former investment banker and political centrist, handily defeated the far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen in France’s presidential election. Exit polls showed Macron winning Sunday’s vote by a margin of 65 percent to 34 percent. Although her bid to lead the country failed, Le Pen’s divisive campaign against Macron achieved some of… Read more »

ANALYSIS Bernie Sanders just defended Israel on Al Jazeera. Here’s why that’s a big deal.

Bernie Sanders at Bronx Community College in New York City, April 9, 2016. (Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

  WASHINGTON (JTA) – In an appearance on Al Jazeera, Bernie Sanders defended Israel’s right to exist, rejected BDS as a tactic and assailed the United Nations for singling out the country for condemnation. The Vermont senator’s interview May 3 on the Qatar-based network, known for its often hypercritical coverage… Read more »

FIRST PERSON I’m Jewish and I just became an EU citizen. It feels a little like boarding the Titanic.

Cnaan Liphshiz, his wife and eldest son in a tulip field near Amsterdam, April 3, 2016. (Courtesy of Liphshiz)

  AMSTERDAM (JTA) — Considering Marine Le Pen’s historical gains in the French presidential elections, the Dutch far-right’s rise and the assault on ritual slaughter in Belgium, this spring is shaping up to be a life-changing time for Europe — its religious minorities in particular. In other words, it’s… Read more »

OP-ED The war never ended for poor, elderly Jews in the former Soviet Union

Afim and Emma A. are clients in need of assistance from the Hesed social welfare in Rustavi, Georgia. (Sarah Levin of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee)

  (JTA) — We Americans use the phrase “the greatest generation” to describe those who grew up during the Depression, prevailed in World War II and contributed to America’s postwar prosperity and influence. But on a visit last week to Jewish communities in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and Belarus’ Minsk and… Read more »

OP-ED Why Radiohead’s Israel show matters

Thom Yorke of Radiohead performs at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., April 21, 2017. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella)

(JTA) — It may be the 20th anniversary of Radiohead’s seminal album “OK Computer,” but for some Jewish fans of the band, like me, all is not OK. You might even say I’m feeling “Let Down.” Here’s why: In February, the British band announced that it was playing Tel… Read more »

ANALYSIS Spicer, Hitler and the Soup Nazi: Why can’t this White House get the Holocaust right?

Sean Spicer in a TV interview at the White House apologizing for comments he made suggesting that President Bashar Assad of Syria was worse than Hitler, April 11, 2017. (Olivier Douliery/Pool/Getty Images)

  NEW YORK (JTA) — We interrupt this Passover to bring you two news bulletins: Bashar Assad is worse than Hitler. The Soup Nazi was almost a real Nazi. Let’s start with the second revelation, since Sean Spicer’s Hitler gaffe about Hitler is probably better known. Entertainment Weekly reported… Read more »

ANALYSIS Is Mike Pence’s marriage rule anti-women, or pro-religion?

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, walk in the presidential inauguration parade in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2017. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(JTA) — I am a huge fan of monogamy. My wife and I have been married for — well, let’s just say we met in high school (we didn’t get together until after college, but I was trying to avoid saying “a long time”). I took it personally when… Read more »

Daughter’s aliyah plans fill family with pride, hope

My wife, Sue, and I are new to Arizona, having moved here from West Chester, Pa., in August 2016. However, we are not new to Judaism or a love of Israel and Jewish culture. But this is not about us, it’s about our daughter, Alexandra Simone Penfil. When Alli… Read more »

From disabilities awareness month, a way to think about bomb threats

Julie Zorn

Last month was Jewish Disabilities Awareness month, and as I found myself in a situation where I was suddenly asked to be a substitute teacher for sixth and seventh grade students at the local reform Jewish synagogue, I really felt that this was a good topic to discuss with… Read more »

OP-ED The surge in anti-Semitism? Here’s how to stop it

People demonstrate at a Stand Against Hate rally at Independence Mall in Philadelphia, March 2, 2017. (Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Almost daily accounts of vandalized cemeteries, spray-painted swastikas and bomb threats to JCCs and other Jewish agencies have naturally evoked considerable alarm. Clearly, we must never reconcile ourselves to an America where this is considered normal. Yet we must not succumb to the opposite tendency to see… Read more »