Opinion

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 »

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 »