Opinion

To accurately count Jews of color, we need to radically alter assumptions

Marc L. Dollinger (Courtesy)

Two summers ago, I published an academic book about blacks and Jews that did not include a single black Jew in the narrative. Ilana Kaufman, founder and president of the Jews of Color Field Building Initiative, encouraged me to open my eyes to my own implicit assumptions about Jews,… Read more »

It is time for Hasidic leaders to embrace the internet

SUFFERN, N.Y. (JTA) — My two children, aged 13 and 15, attend daily Zoom classes from designated corners of our suburban home. Slovenly habits aside, their workspaces are virtual classrooms in which they analyze George Orwell’s work and ponder Talmudic passages in equal measure. Online classes — the ones they… Read more »

Our post-pandemic Shabbat meals should include far less meat

Melissa Hoffman (Justin Hackworth)

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — Last year I wrote about how, as we come to terms with the existential threat of climate change, our joyous occasions will shift in both spirit and practice — including the food we eat and how it is produced. The same is true in the… Read more »

When did elderly people like me become disposable?

An elderly man leaves a metro station in Rome during a test scenario amid the coronavirus pandemic, April 27, 2020. (Antonio Masiello/Getty Images)

TORONTO (JTA) — The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 is shaking the world in disturbing ways. As someone who is no longer young, I find one aspect of the crisis to be particularly unnerving: the attitude toward the elderly. The media is filled with stories about the problem represented by the… Read more »

Pandemic exposes U.S. food insecurity crisis nonprofits alone cannot fix

Liz Kanter Groskind

As Jews, we are commanded to be just, to aid and care for those most vulnerable among us. The word “tzedakah” itself translates to “justice,” not simply “charity,” as many believe. This is a value  Jews have internalized and acted upon over the centuries. Social justice is not merely a… Read more »

Zoom is getting safer. Here’s how you can make your meetings even more secure.

A family takes part in a shiva call, a Jewish mourning period, in a Zoom videoconference. (Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Just a few weeks ago, most Americans were not familiar with the concept of Zoombombing. But as the COVID-19 pandemic forced many business, community and even social meetings online, Zoom increasingly became the platform of choice for videoconferencing. The rapid growth in its use came with… Read more »

Israel is suffering from coronavirus. Haredim have been made scapegoats

A haredi Orthodox man wearing a protective mask crosses a street in the Israeli city of Bnei Brak amid the novel coronavirus pandemic crisis, April 6, 2020. (Photo: Menahem Kahana / AFP via Getty Images)

After the deluge of negative headlines over the last several weeks, when COVID-19 is finally beaten back, it will be the scenes of police cordoning off Bnei Brak like a medieval plague city that will define the corona crisis for most Israelis and international observers. These media attacks, which… Read more »

The upside to celebrating in isolation: This might be the holiest Passover ever

A mezuzah is seen in the doorway of a Jewish home during the celebration of Passover (Mikhail Tereshchenko / TASS via Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Sitting at my Seder table with my two eldest daughters and my wife, I was struggling to find something to say that would provide meaning to this moment. Here we were: alone, beginning a Passover unlike any other we had ever experienced and, please God, will… Read more »

Passover demands we remember the Exodus. That means taking care of our most vulnerable.

A homeless man crosses the almost deserted Times Square in New York City, April 13, 2020. (Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Every Passover, we strive to experience Egypt in our own lives. Locating the suffering of our Egypt wasn’t hard this year: It seems like most days my husband and I share the names of new people we personally know who have passed away from COVID-19… Read more »

To give my Israeli synagogue a chance of surviving the pandemic, I had to quit my job as rabbi

Rabbi Mikie Goldstein at Kehillat Adat Shalom-EmanuelRabbi Mikie Goldstein at Kehillat Adat Shalom-Emanuel in Rehovot. (Facebook / JTA Montage)

REHOVOT, Israel (JTA) — To help my kehillah survive the coronavirus pandemic, I had to do something dramatic and counterintuitive: step away from being its official rabbi. Our faith communities need spiritual leaders in these trying times more than ever. But as a non-Orthodox rabbi in Israel, I am largely… Read more »

For young Jews away from families, COVID-19 puts Passover in jeopardy

Randi Bergman says her Toronto apartment is not an ideal setting for a seder. (Photo courtesy of Bergman)

Randi Bergman isn’t sure of her Passover plans yet, but there’s a good chance she’ll be spending the holiday alone. Bergman, a 34-year-old freelance fashion writer, lives alone in what she calls a junior one-bedroom apartment in downtown Toronto. The setup — desk, bed, couch, TV, kitchenette but no dining… Read more »

You don’t need Zoom or Skype to say Kaddish without a minyan. Here’s a healthier option for the community.

A man recites the Mourner’s Kaddish from a prayer pamphlet. (Getty Images)

WALTHAM, Mass. (JTA) — Like so many others, I am feeling the spiritual loss and pain of our current inability to learn Torah and pray together in person. Many mourners are devoted to the customary recitation of Kaddish for a deceased close relative and struggling with how to do… Read more »

I’m a pediatrician who sees kids with coronavirus every day. It’s changed my whole way of life.

Health care providers wear protective equipment, like gloves, but some still get the coronavirus. (Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — I am a pediatrician who for 15 years has practiced in a medical office in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We serve the local Hasidic community and see a variety of other patients from Brooklyn, the Lower East Side and Queens. When the coronavirus emerged… Read more »

JHM vandalism symptom of rising anti-Semitism

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These are troubling times. Anti-Semitic threats and messages are escalating all around us. Three weeks ago, the words “Hail Hitler” (sic) were found scrawled on an exhibit inside our Holocaust History Center. March 5, a man brazenly unfurled a Nazi flag as Senator Bernie Sanders took the stage at… Read more »