Opinion

Notre-Dame will be rebuilt – but most European Jewish sites never will be

A Star of David stands in the Nozyk Synagogue, Warsaw's only surviving synagogue from before World War II and located in the city's former ghetto, April 12, 2018 (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

BUDAPEST (JTA) – Architecture and built heritage can be powerful symbols. Notre-Dame de Paris is one of the most famous and familiar buildings in the world, visited by an astonishing 30,000 people a day, or 13 million people a year. It is embedded in global collective consciousness and immortalized around the… Read more »

Hookup culture? Not on the Birthright trips I’ve led.

Young Jewish adults who participated in Birthright Israel celebrate 10 years of the program at an event in Jerusalem. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) — After I spoke to a group of people whose post-college-aged children would soon be going on a Birthright Israel trip, one father leaned in close to me, winked and whispered, “Just do what you have to to make sure my son finds a nice Jewish… Read more »

The Passover kitniyot argument isn’t worth a hill of beans

Rice, lentils, chick peas, beans and other legumes shown in a produce market in Netanya, Israel. (David Silverman/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Israel held elections under the cloud of its leader’s possible indictment. The world’s far right and its far left have found common cause in their hatred of the Jews. There is a measles outbreak among the Orthodox. And friends want to kvetch about kitniyot. Every year around… Read more »

Allowing Michael Steinhardt’s bad behavior is not our biggest mistake. Obsessing over Jewish continuity and megadonors is.

Rokhl Kafrissen (Courtesy of Kafrissen)Rokhl Kafrissen (Courtesy of Kafrissen)

(JTA) — The high-profile allegations of sexual harassment against Michael Steinhardt are an opportunity for us to deconstruct how money, power and sexism have warped the nonprofit world in the shape of its largest donors. Take, for example, the case of Sheila Katz, a vice president at Hillel International who… Read more »

What it’s really like for Palestinians at the Israeli checkpoints

Palestinian men wait by the side of the road near Checkpoint 300 in Bethlehem, minutes from Jerusalem. (Laura Ben-David) (Laura Ben-David)

BETHLEHEM, West Bank (JTA) – I believe in the Jewish people’s right to live in our homeland. That profound belief has no bearing on the rights of others to live here as well. There are Palestinians who live and work in the land of Israel, and while I may… Read more »

Michael Steinhardt sexually harassed me. I spent the next 4 years trying to hold him accountable.

Sheila Katz, vice president of Hillel International, and Michael Steinhardt (Katz photo: Courtesy of Katz; Steinhardt photo: Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – It wasn’t funny the first time prominent philanthropist Michael Steinhardt asked me to have sex with him. It wasn’t funny the second time, either. It wasn’t funny the third time, or the fourth time in that meeting. It wasn’t funny when he attempted to auction me off… Read more »

Pittsburgh protected my family after the synagogue massacre. Now we must do the same for Christchurch families.

A picture is left among flowers and tributes near the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 18, 2019. (Carl Court/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH (JTA) – The universe cracks. That’s how you feel when a beloved family member is violently torn from this world while she or he is at prayer. That’s how 50 families half a world away feel right now in the wake of Friday’s violent attacks on two mosques… Read more »

Russian Jewish mogul: European anti-Semitism sadly not a thing of the past

Israel’s Minister of Immigration and Absorption, Yoav Gallant, recently lashed out at France for an increase of anti-Semitic incidents and called upon French Jews to leave the country and emigrate to Israel for their own safety. Such a significant statement by an Israeli government official in the midst of… Read more »

It’s not just anti-Semitism: Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit problem is also a disaster for Jews

Jeremy Corbyn leads the British Labour Party. (Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Jews are rarely central to peacetime domestic British politics. But on Feb. 18, Jewishness appeared front and center at Westminster when seven members of Parliament left the Labour Party, citing its inability to effectively oppose an unworkable Brexit and its apparent unwillingness to confront anti-Semitism. Some of… Read more »

What a Bergen-Belsen prenup teaches us about Jewish resilience

A post-Holocaust marriage contract features a Jewish star between the words Bergen-Belsen, a notorious concentration camp. (Archives of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research)

(JTA) — It is jarring to see a Star of David placed between the Hebrew transliteration of the words Bergen-Belsen, the notorious Nazi concentration camp where 37,000 Jews, including Anne Frank, were murdered – and on a marriage contract, no less. But there it was, a small bureaucratic form, typed in Rabbinic… Read more »

Eurovision contender showed how Israel has failed its religious Jews

The Shalva Band had a shot at becoming Israel's representative at the Eurovision contest. ( Screenshot from YouTube)

A beloved group of Israeli musicians, the Shalva Band, recently made the tough decision to give up a musical chance of a lifetime rather than risk being asked to desecrate the Sabbath. The group, which is comprised of musicians with various disabilities and diverse religious commitments, could not get… Read more »

Conservative Judaism: Reassessing numbers from 2013 Pew Survey

Jewish decision-makers and funders in Israel, the United States, and around the world in part shape allocations and the dispensing of positions of influence on the basis of demographic studies. When interpretations of these studies are misapplied, too often pivotal policy mistakes are made. Jack Wertheimer’s “The New American… Read more »

An idiot’s guide to anti-Semitic tropes

(JTA) — Dear JTA, I am an elected official in a large democracy in the Western hemisphere. A lot of my colleagues have gotten into trouble recently for using anti-Semitic “tropes.” I know what anti-Semitism is, but am less sure how that differs from a “trope.” Any guidance so… Read more »

Right-wing killings eclipsed all other extremist-related murders in 2018. The numbers don’t lie.

Protesters and counterprotesters clash during the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Aug. 12, 2017. (Calla Kessler/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Every year, extremism takes a deadly toll around the world. No region is immune — not the Middle East, not Europe, and not the United States. In 2018, there were at least 50 Americans killed by extremists from different movements. Many of the victims were Jews. Eleven… Read more »

How to tell if your child is traumatized by the Pittsburgh shooting, and what to do about it

One of the most important responses in the wake of a traumatic incident like the Oct. 27 Pittsburgh shooting is for the community to come together, experts say. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

This article is sponsored by Hadassah. Within 24 hours of the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Judith Cohen’s cellphone was ringing incessantly with offers of help from around the world. A psychiatrist who specializes in the treatment of trauma and grief in children and adolescents, Cohen is one… Read more »

OP-ED When George H.W. Bush was reluctant to wear a yarmulke

President George Bush poses for photographers following his Oval Office address to the nation, Sept. 27, 1991. (Luke Frazza/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — George H.W. Bush was a man of uncommon decency. He also was a man of uncommon integrity. I worked for him for over 10 years, while he was the vice president and then president. My memories could fill a book (or at least a chapter of… Read more »