Opinion

Passover in a pandemic: Families on Zoom, solo seders, broken traditions

Jewish man reads passages from the Passover Haggadah (the story of Passover) during a Passover seder in North York, Ontario, Canada on, April 19, 2019. (Photo by Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Rena Munster was looking forward to hosting a Passover seder for the first time. In past years, her parents or another relative hosted the meal. But this year she had invited her parents, siblings and other extended family to her Washington, D.C., home. Her husband, an amateur ceramics artist,… Read more »

Asian Americans are facing violent xenophobia during the coronavirus outbreak. Jews have a responsibility to speak out.

Members of the Asian American Commission hold a news conference on the steps of the Massachusetts State House in Boston to condemn racism toward the Asian- American community because of the coronavirus, March 12, 2020. (John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — In recent weeks, we’ve seen an unprecedented epidemic of the coronavirus spread across the world. Unfortunately, we’ve also seen a spike in anti-Asian violence and prejudice. In the U.S., racist and xenophobic outbursts, assaults and discriminatory practices against Asian Americans have been reported from coast to… Read more »

The coronavirus could be disastrous for Israeli service workers. Here’s what they told me.

The doorman and the roof of the Waldorf Astoria in Jerusalem (Laura Ben-David)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — For the young and healthy, the coronavirus itself is likely to be mostly an inconvenience. But for many workers, the COVID-19 pandemic could literally cost them their livelihoods. Obviously, many of us are deeply concerned about catching the highly contagious respiratory illness or about the growing… Read more »

I’m not a doctor, but I am a rabbi. Here’s my spiritual prescription for the coronavirus.

A sanitary gel is used as a precaution against the coronavirus. (Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

PHOENIX (JTA) — I am not a medical professional, an epidemiologist or an expert on pandemics. I leave the serious information in those important fields for the professionals who have the appropriate training to help us get through the coronavirus epidemic. Even though I do not possess medical knowledge,… Read more »

Sanders and Trump skip AIPAC conference but take center stage anyway

Joe Biden made an appearance via video and Mike Bloomberg turned up in person. So did Mike Pence. Even the coronavirus got a shoutout. Despite threats of a boycott by Democrats and anxieties about communicable diseases, this year’s annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee was… Read more »

I’m a veteran Middle East peace negotiator. Trump’s plan is the most dangerous I’ve ever seen.

President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrive for an announcement of Trump's Middle East peace plan at the White House, Jan. 28, 2020. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Fifteen years ago, I wrote a piece for The Washington Post titled “Israel’s Lawyer.” The conceit was pretty simple, though in some quarters it was seen as highly provocative: For too long, too many senior U.S. officials working on the Arab-Israeli peace process, including myself, had… Read more »

Bernie Sanders skipping AIPAC shouldn’t be a surprise — AIPAC has already capitulated to the right

Sen. Bernie Sanders against a backdrop of an AIPAC annual policy conference. (Getty Images/JTA Montage)

BERKELEY, Calif. (JTA) — For the casual observer, Sen. Bernie Sanders’ recent pronouncement that he is skipping the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee out of a “concern about the platform AIPAC provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights” might seem like… Read more »

Elizabeth Warren: Trump’s Middle East peace plan is a disaster. I’ve got a plan for that.

Elizabeth Warren speaks at a campaign rally on the campus of Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Feb. 1, 2020. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(JTA) — This is the fourth op-ed in a series of pieces about anti-Semitism and Jewish issues written by 2020 presidential candidates. This one is by Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic senator from Massachusetts.  The Jewish Telegraphic Agency has sent five questions about anti-Semitism and Jewish issues to all of… Read more »

This eastern Jerusalem village could become a part of a future Palestine. Its Arab residents are horrified.

Palestinian boys head towards the "Green Line" that separates the Arab village of Bartaa, which straddles the 1967 border between Israel and the northwestern tip of the West Bank, April 29, 2012. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/GettyImages)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Election rallies for the Arab parties in Israel rarely garner much attention or excitement. But recent policy proposals engineered thousands of miles away may have re-energized a once stagnant and unreliable voting bloc. The peaceful Arab village of Bartaa, home to about 4,500 residents, is located in… Read more »

Bernie Sanders says he is proud to be Jewish — so why is he skipping the biggest celebration of Jewish pride?

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks at at a campaign rally in Austin, Texas, Feb. 23, 2020. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — On Sunday night, Sen. Bernie Sanders announced via tweet that he would not be attending the upcoming AIPAC policy conference in Washington, D.C., accusing the pro-Israel lobby of being a platform for “bigotry.” His statement came one week after his campaign released a video about… Read more »

Nissim Black’s ‘Mothaland Bounce’ is the most authentically Jewish song you’ll hear this year

Hasidic Jewish rapper Nissim Black and scenes from his latest single, "Mothaland Bounce." (JTA Montage)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Fans of mainstream Jewish music may find Nissim Black’s latest single “Mothaland Bounce” jarring and alien, but they’re just not listening with an ear to the rhythm of Jewish history. Set against the aural backdrop of an African basso profundo beat, and framed by scenes… Read more »

Arizona House bill proposed adding ‘anti-Semitism’ to list of hate crimes

Alma Hernandez

A House panel agreed to add “anti-Semitism” to what is considered a hate crime amid questions of exactly what that includes — and what that change in state law would mean to those who are accused of those crimes. HB 2683 requires the Department of Public Safety to collect… Read more »

Ongoing human rights struggles inform work of Holocaust History Center

The Holocaust History Center at Tucson’s Jewish History Museum

On Feb. 21, 2020, the Jewish History Museum will mark four years since the opening of the Holocaust History Center and the expansion of the museum’s campus. The creation of the Holocaust History Center marked the realization of a decades-old community aspiration that began in the 1960s when local Holocaust… Read more »

AIPAC is coming, but no one knows who’s speaking

Background: the AIPAC Conference in Washington, March 6, 2018 (Haim Zach/GPO); foreground: Rep. Betty McCollum, a Minnesota Democrat who called AIPAC a "hate group." (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — AIPAC is coming, but no one knows who’s speaking. Just about two weeks before the activists come to town for the largest U.S. Israel lobby’s annual conference, AIPAC has no speakers listed on its convention website, though I’ve been told it will be posted in the… Read more »

Mike Bloomberg: Anti-Semitism is a problem on the right and the left. Here’s how I’d combat it from day one.

Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg holds a campaign rally in Detroit, Feb. 4, 2020. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

(JTA) — The Jewish Telegraphic Agency has sent five questions about anti-Semitism and Jewish issues to all of the registered presidential candidates from both parties. You can read Vice President Joe Biden’s responses here and Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s responses here.  1. Anti-Semitic hate crimes are currently on the rise across… Read more »

As a former Israeli lawmaker, I know Trump’s peace plan won’t work. But it could strengthen Arab-Israeli relations.

The Arab League held an emergency meeting to discuss the U.S.-brokered proposal for a settlement of the Middle East conflict at the league headquarters in Cairo, Feb. 1, 2020. (Khaled Desouki/AFP via Getty Images)

TEL AVIV (JTA) — President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan will probably not achieve its stated goal of bringing peace between Israel and the Palestinians, but it might just bring about peace between Israel and more of its Arab neighbors. Here’s why. Over the past several years, Israel… Read more »

I’m done passing as a matrilineal Jew

(We Are via Getty Images)

This story originally appeared on Alma. “Your Hebrew name?” the head of the yeshiva asked, pencil and paper poised to take it down for my aliyah, the honor of reciting Torah blessings. It was my third week at his school, a place where I’d reluctantly agreed to study for… Read more »