Opinion

What we can still learn from the Lubavitcher Rebbe about climate change

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson lectured frequently on the intersection of climate, politics and the divine. (Getty Images/JTA Montage)

PENN YAN, N.Y. (JTA) – With refineries recently ablaze in Saudi Arabia, you might be forgiven if you forget that in the Amazon and Indonesia, forests are ablaze as well. Yet these two conflagrations are not unconnected. As ever, ecological crises and geopolitical crises are deeply intertwined – and… Read more »

By chilling out on Rosh Hashanah, I made my Judaism truly meaningful

Julie Matlin (Courtesy of Matlin)

MONTREAL (JTA) — Picking through gefilte fish in the kosher department, searching for the freshest packages, I think of my Grandma Fanny. She made her gefilte fish from scratch, lovingly combining the cod, whitefish, pike and whatever other secret ingredients she threw in that made it so good. “This… Read more »

My congregation prays at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue. Here’s how we are coping this Rosh Hashanah.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, right, holds hands with Rabbi Jonathan Perlman, who survived the attack at the Tree of Life synagogue, at Rodman Street Missionary Baptist Church during a service for victims of the mass shooting, Oct. 31, 2018, Perlman's wife, the author Beth Kissileff, is seated to his left. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images/JTA Photo Service)

PITTSBURGH (JTA) — Our sages teach us that kol hatchalot kashot, all beginnings are difficult. This phrase feels especially resonant this Rosh Hashanah. The man who blew the shofar last year at my Pittsburgh synagogue, New Light, is not here to blow it now. He was murdered on Oct. 27… Read more »

My family synagogue burned down in Minnesota this week. We lost much more than a building.

The Adas Israel Congregation in Duluth, Minn., burned down of yet unknown causes, Sept. 9, 2019. (Duluth News Tribune Screenshot)

NEW YORK (JTA) — American Jews woke Monday morning to the ancestrally terrifying image of a synagogue on fire. It was my family’s shul: Adas Israel in Duluth, Minnesota. There is a dollhouse model of the Great Synagogue of Vilna in Israel’s Museum of the Jewish People. “That is… Read more »

Abandoning East Jerusalem would undermine Zionism and the city’s Arab residents

Israeli security forces stand guard in one of the alleys of Jerusalem's Old City following a knife attack, May 31, 2019. (Thomas COEX / AFP)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Fifty-two years ago, following the Six-Day War, Israel took control of the eastern part of this city. After annexing additional Arab villages to the north and south, it created what we know today as East Jerusalem, where approximately 200,000 Jews and 300,000 Arabs live. While Israel… Read more »

As a Mexican-Jewish lawmaker, I feel doubly targeted by hateful rhetoric

Alma Hernandez (center) with her family at her naming ceremony at Congregation Chaverim, April 8, 2016. (Courtesy Hernandez)

I  am proud to be Jewish, Latina and bilingual. I have the honor of representing the state House of Representatives district where I was born and raised in Arizona. My home in Tucson is less than one hour away from the U.S.-Mexico border. Tucson and El Paso in many… Read more »

False accusations of anti-Semitism hurt the Jews more than you realize

Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota, shown in 2018, was recently accused by his state's Jewish leaders of peddling anti-Semitic tropes when he sent out a letter accusing George Soros and Michael Bloomberg of having "bought" the media. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

BALTIMORE (JTA) — As Americans of conscience, many of us are deeply troubled by the hyperpartisan tone that seems to color almost every news story and cycle. The sensationalism that is so often present within our nation’s discourse undermines our collective ability to assimilate information and reach well-reasoned conclusions.… Read more »

What The New York Times got right and wrong about BDS: An exchange

A New York Times explainer of the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel; a gathering on the International Day of Quds in Times Square, NYC. (Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) – The Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s editor in chief, Andrew Silow-Carroll, and its opinion editor, Laura E. Adkins, shared their thoughts on a recent New York Times article answering “some of the most difficult questions” about BDS, or the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. Andrew… Read more »

The Lubavitcher Rebbe died 25 years ago, but his impact lives on across all Jewish denominations

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, at the microphone, shown in New York circa 1975. (Tim Boxer/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) — When the last Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, died in July 1994, I was one of many journalists in the Jewish media who did not see how the Hasidic movement he led could survive, much less thrive, in his absence. It has, of course. That… Read more »

Mad magazine taught me to think like a furshlugginer Jewish intellectual

A cover of Mad Magazine, which will no longer publish new content, from 1968. (Elizabeth W. Kearley/Getty Images)

Mad magazine is on life support, and I can’t say I’m either surprised or all that sad about it. DC Entertainment announced last week that the satirical magazine will stop publishing new content. It was like hearing about a beloved old relative who passed away: I hadn’t had any… Read more »

An Israeli cop shot an unarmed Ethiopian teen. Here’s why American Jews should care.

Family and friends mourn at the funeral of Solomon Tekah, outside Haifa, July 2, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) *** Local Caption *** ?????? ????? ?????? ??? ????? ???? ????? ??? ???? ????? ???? ???? ?????? ???????

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israeli society has been gripped over the past week by the killing of Solomon Tekah, an unarmed 19-year-old Ethiopian Israeli. On June 30, an off-duty Israeli police officer shot and killed Tekah under highly contested circumstances. While emerging evidence seems to indicate that the policeman was not… Read more »

Intermarried Jews are not a second Holocaust

A Jewish wedding ceremony. Israeli Education Minister Rafi Peretz caused a stir when he compared Jewish intermarriage to a "second Holocaust." (Frank Rosenstein / Getty Images)

PHOENIX (JTA) – Israeli Education Minister Rafi Peretz’s recent tone-deaf declaration that intermarriage is akin to a “second Holocaust” was shocking and shameful, and desecrates the memories of those who perished in the Holocaust. While Peretz leads the Jewish Home party as well as the United Right coalition, and is… Read more »

Legacy institutions don’t get to dictate how Jews use the lessons of the Holocaust

Protesters demonstrate against the Trump administration's immigration policies at a Never Again Is Now rally on Independence Mall in Washington D.C., during the city's Independence Day festivities, July 4, 2019. (Michael Candelori/NurPhoto/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) – At the annual Christians United for Israel conference, Vice President Mike Pence lambasted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for comparing U.S. migrant detention centers to concentration camps. “This slander was an insult to the 6 million killed in the Holocaust, and it should be condemned by every American… Read more »

Get ready for the new wave: Young, passionately Jewish — and anti-Zionist

A Jewish woman holding a candle, with a "We Will Outlive Them" banner in the background, at a New York vigil for the victims of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh. (Gili Getz)

NEW YORK (JTA) – In 2019, there are more haters than lovers of the Jewish Left. Especially in the United States, the mainstream Jewish community reviles left-wing Jews who embrace anti-Zionism. Meanwhile, the Jewish Left itself is split. On one side are the “Left Zionists” who support a two-state… Read more »

The new Netflix show ‘Family Business’ is a French-Jewish version of ‘Breaking Bad’

Jonathan Cohen, third from left, is seen with other members of the Netflix series "Family Business." (Netflix)

(JTA) — One fan’s recent description on Twitter of the new Netflix series “Family Business” isn’t too far off: a “French Breaking Bad but with weed.” The French series, which debuted last week, is a wacky comedy about a Parisian Jewish family, the Hazans, that turns its failed kosher… Read more »

Untold stories: Jews in Arab countries suffered unbearable discrimination

A Jewish mother and her children are photographed outside a synagogue in Djerba, Tunisia, Jan. 1, 1950. Some 850,000 refugees from Tunisia and other Arab countries were expelled from their countries after the creation of Israel.

June 20 was World Refugee Day. And according to the United Nations page devoted to this commemoration, every minute 20 people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution or terror. I am one of those people. In 1948, when I was 6 months old, my mother risked everything to… Read more »

Why the Supreme Court’s decision to let a taxpayer-funded cross stand is dangerous for American Jews

The World War I memorial cross in Bladensburg, Md., is built on public land and its maintenance is paid for with public funds. (Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty Images)

(JTA) — On June 20, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a four-story-high cross on government land abutting a major road — brightly lit at night and maintained by taxpayer funds — can continue to loom over drivers because the monument has stood for almost a century. In doing… Read more »

What preparing a Jewish body for burial is really like

Hundreds attend the funeral of former Israeli army's chief rabbi, Avihai Ronsky, in the Jewish settlement of Itamar, April 1, 2018. In Jewish tradition, the body must undergo a series of rituals after death and before burial known as tahara, performed by a chevra kadisha, a holy society of volunteers. (Miriam Alster/Flash 90)

(JTA) — In Jewish communities around the world, there is a little known group of men and women dedicated to performing the mitzvah of preparing a body for burial, a ritual called tahara. The group is called the chevra kadisha, the holy society. The chevra kadisha isn’t a secret… Read more »

We need fewer stereotypical Jews on TV — and more Walter Sobchaks

John Goodman, right, plays Walter Sobchak in the Coen brothers' classic film "The Big Lebowski" opposite Jeff Bridges in the title role. (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

(JTA) — The other day, my Catholic mother-in-law again implored me, her sole Jewish daughter-in-law, to watch “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” The third season of the award-winning show is expected to air in a few months, so I dutifully resigned myself to the task. But as I watched, I… Read more »