Opinion

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 »

Anti-Semitism is strengthening the Jewish identity of young people. Why haven’t our organizations embraced them?

Young Jewish adults from all over the world participate in the Birthright Israel program in Jerusalem, Jan. 14, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (JTA) – The year was 2000, and Michael Steinhardt had just dropped a bombshell that nearly brought an otherwise dignified conference to blows. “I tend, in my dourest moments, to consider both the Reform and Conservative Jews as historic accidents in the 21st century and suspect,… 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 »

The Catholic Church has finally gotten serious about handling sexual abuse. Here’s what Jewish institutions could learn from the process.

Pope Francis, flanked by cardinals and bishops, attends a closing Mass of The Protection of Minors in the Church meeting in Vatican City, Feb. 24, 2019. (Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – In May, Pope Francis issued a detailed ruling on how officials in the Roman Catholic Church must handle cases of clerical sexual abuse, the first official codification of the church’s global policy. Though abuse survivors have criticized the pope’s ruling as not strong enough and for… Read more »

We Orthodox Jews desperately need gay rabbis

Israelis participate in the Gay Pride Parade on July 30, 2015 in Jerusalem, Israel. The Hebrew signs read, "Come out from the closet, the closet is death." (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — On May 24, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that I would be ordaining a gay Orthodox rabbinical student who was denied the opportunity to receive smicha from his own Orthodox yeshiva. On May 26,  I did so, ordaining Rabbi Daniel Atwood during a ceremony attended by more… Read more »

What Jewish law really says about abortion

Protesters on both sides of the abortion issue gather in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building during the Right To Life March in Washington, Jan. 18, 2019. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

(JTA) – Alabama and Georgia have passed laws recently that limit or forbid abortions in unprecedented ways, joining a growing number of states that are attempting to dramatically restrict abortion access. During these charged times, it is appropriate for the Jewish community to remind ourselves that halacha (Jewish law) has a… Read more »

New director ups ante for local security

Collaborating to strengthen security in Tucson’s Jewish community are, (L-R) Graham Hoffman, president and CEO, Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona; Paul Patterson, Jewish community security director; and Stuart Mellan, president and CEO, Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona. (Photo courtesy Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona)

The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona took a proactive stance to harden local vigilance, bringing on 23-year law enforcement and security veteran Paul Patterson in March as the Jewish community security director. Patterson is assisting all area synagogues and agencies with facility security assessments, ensuring best practices and up-to-date… Read more »

U.S. synagogues need what Europeans have — armed guards

Whether it’s a white supremacist targeting praying Jews, blacks, or Muslims, or an Islamic radical committed to killing Christians on Easter Sunday, it has become very trendy to attack houses of worship. In Europe, synagogues, unfortunately, have been targeted by terrorists for quite some time, including deadly attacks at… Read more »

One thing Crown Heights can do to really tackle anti-Semitism

Orthodox Jewish men walk through the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, Feb. 25, 2019. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) – Anti-Jewish incidents made up more than half the hate crimes reported in New York City in 2018 and so far this year. The 71st Precinct, which includes the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, reported nine incidents, the most of any precinct in the five boroughs.… Read more »