Plea of Alan Gross’ wife to GA

Alan and Judy Gross at the Western Wall in the spring of 2005. (Courtesy of the Gross family)

DENVER (JTA) — Alan Gross is a Jewish-American contractor who is serving a 15-year prison sentence in Cuba for “crimes against the state.” Gross, now 62 and in ill health, was arrested in 2009 as he was leaving Cuba. His family and U.S. State Department officials say that Gross… Read more »

Arab Spring carves out potential role for Arab Israelis

Tel Aviv – Pictures of unarmed demonstrators clashing with police and security forces have become the defining images of the Arab Spring. The wave of mass protests and demonstrations has led to the collapse of despotic regimes including those led by Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Tunisia’s… Read more »

Despite 30 years of setbacks to peace, Israel is still a miraculous place

Stuart and Nancy Mellan with Murray Greenfield (center), an American seaman who smuggled Jews out of Europe into Palestine in 1947, at Atlit, the British detention camp where Greenfield was held with Jewish refugees.

My first trip to Israel was in 1982 (it still seems a bit surreal when I think of it) when I went with the federation national leadership into Lebanon to witness the Israeli military action that resulted in Lebanon’s liberation from the Palestinian Liberation Organization. On that remarkable journey… Read more »

Return Torah to its place of glory

Rabbi Elie Kaunfer

I want to challenge one of the mainstay assumptions of organized Jewish life: Jewish continuity is the end goal, and everything is in service of that goal. It’s been 20 years since the release of the 1990 National Jewish Population Study, which found an unprecedented rate of intermarriage. It… Read more »

Former ambasssador: U.S. should give multilateral diplomacy a chance

My first assignment when I entered the U.S. Foreign Service in 1976 was as a “rotational officer” in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Organization Affairs. I served for six months backstopping our delegation to the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council, then another six months… Read more »

Op-Ed: Kristallnacht without my father

This is the 73rd anniversary of Kristallnacht, and the first one I will mark without my father.  Kristallnacht is referred to as the “night of broken glass.” But it was much more. It was the beginning of the end of most of European Jewry. It was two days of… Read more »

Take the food stamp challenge

WASHINGTON (JTA) — We have decided to take a journey. We will take the Food Stamp Challenge and live for one week on an average SNAP (food stamp) benefit of $31.50 per week. We are organizing and encouraging others to join us. Yet we hear one question again and… Read more »

Challenges facing the Vatican’s Jewish point man

NEW YORK (JTA) — Cardinal Kurt Koch, the Vatican’s key representative to Jews, is making his first visit to New York, home to the largest Jewish community outside of Israel. The cardinal, appointed president of the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews in 2010, has an opportunity,… Read more »

AJWS launches ‘Reverse Hunger’ campaign to help end the global food crisis

New York, NY; October 17, 2011—Building on its legacy of advancing global justice, American Jewish World Service (AJWS), an international development and human rights organization, unveiled its new Reverse Hunger campaign today. The campaign seeks to rally the American Jewish community to challenge and change a critical factor contributing… Read more »

Seven perspectives on the Gilad Shalit release/prisoner exchange

The price of allowing murders to go free By Sherri Mandell Why is it that terror victims are seemingly the only ones against the prisoner exchange? While other Israelis are rejoicing, we are in despair. Arnold and Frimet Roth circulated a petition against the release of Ahlam Tamimi, an… Read more »

Next move is up to the Palestinians

WASHINGTON (JTA) — After the mutual accusations of ethnic cleansing and the sarcastic posturing, the ball is back in the Palestinians’ court. The upshot of last week’s Lollapalooza of speechmaking at the United Nations is that the Obama administration has succeeded in persuading the international community to back the… Read more »

Op-Ed: Jewish vote in play for 2012

NEW YORK (JTA) — Will the Jewish vote, normally overwhelmingly Democratic, be up for grabs in 2012? That question became a subject of intense debate when a Republican was elected recently to the House of Representatives from New York’s 9th Congressional District for the first time in 90 years.… Read more »

Op-Ed: It’s time to stand up to Erdogan

Jason Epstein, in the Besiktas municipality of Istanbul, Turkey, in 2010.

WASHINGTON (JTA) — When Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the United Nations this week, he likely will repeat his demand that the world body “raise the Palestinian flag” without acknowledging that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas refuses to negotiate with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas leaders… Read more »

Tenth anniversary of Durban Conference is no cause for celebration

Daniel S. Mariaschin

Which nation doesn’t let women drive? Jails dissenters by the thousands? Beheads minors? Attacks civilians living peacefully in a neighboring nation? Persecutes homosexuals? Executes children? Encourages “honor killings”? Unfortunately, quite a few nations can be plugged in as correct answers. But not Israel. Yet Israel was the sole focus… Read more »

Op-Ed: Eradicating torture should be the legacy of Sept. 12

TEANECK, N.J. (JTA) — What is the legacy of 9/11? The 10th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, give us a chance as a nation to reflect on more than just our own stories of what happened that day. One theme that has emerged is “Remember Sept.… Read more »

Terror attacks highlight new challenges on Israel’s border with Egypt

Last month’s multifront Palestinian terrorist attack along the Egyptian-Israeli border highlighted two major new challenges to Israel’s national security. First is the breakdown of Egyptian central authority in the Sinai Peninsula, which has created fertile ground for terrorism against Israel. Complicating matters further is a heightened sensitivity in post-Mubarak… Read more »

Op Ed: Jews must respond to Somalia crisis

On July 14, 2011, a severely malnourished baby lies in the pediatric unit of a hospital in Lodwar, Kenya, west of Somalia. The famine in the Horn of Africa is getting worse, human rights group say.

A tragedy is unfolding in the Horn of Africa, where hundreds of thousands of children are at immediate risk of death. The disastrous combination of the worst drought in 60 years, high food prices and regional conflict has left 12 million people, including more than 2 million malnourished children,… Read more »

After Gadhafi’s fall in Libya, is Syria’s Assad next?

(JTA) – He was the Arab world’s most quixotic leader. During the Reagan era, he was Public Enemy No. 1 in the United States. Later, after his apparent cooperation in dismantling nonconventional weapons, he became an ally to President George W. Bush’s administration in the war on terror. He… Read more »