Opinion

Photographer captures experience of Palestinians at Israeli checkpoints

Not every Palestinian crossing into Israel is going for work. Some 15 percent cross the border for medical, educational or other purposes. (Photo: Laura Ben-David/JTA)

I believe in the Jewish people’s right to live in our homeland. That profound belief has no bearing on the rights of others to live here as well. There are Palestinians who live and work in the land of Israel, and while I may seldom agree with the positions… Read more »

Allowing Michael Steinhardt’s bad behavior is not our biggest mistake. Obsessing over Jewish continuity and megadonors is.

Rokhl Kafrissen (Courtesy of Kafrissen)Rokhl Kafrissen (Courtesy of Kafrissen)

(JTA) — The high-profile allegations of sexual harassment against Michael Steinhardt are an opportunity for us to deconstruct how money, power and sexism have warped the nonprofit world in the shape of its largest donors. Take, for example, the case of Sheila Katz, a vice president at Hillel International who… Read more »

What it’s really like for Palestinians at the Israeli checkpoints

Palestinian men wait by the side of the road near Checkpoint 300 in Bethlehem, minutes from Jerusalem. (Laura Ben-David) (Laura Ben-David)

BETHLEHEM, West Bank (JTA) – I believe in the Jewish people’s right to live in our homeland. That profound belief has no bearing on the rights of others to live here as well. There are Palestinians who live and work in the land of Israel, and while I may… Read more »

Michael Steinhardt sexually harassed me. I spent the next 4 years trying to hold him accountable.

Sheila Katz, vice president of Hillel International, and Michael Steinhardt (Katz photo: Courtesy of Katz; Steinhardt photo: Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – It wasn’t funny the first time prominent philanthropist Michael Steinhardt asked me to have sex with him. It wasn’t funny the second time, either. It wasn’t funny the third time, or the fourth time in that meeting. It wasn’t funny when he attempted to auction me off… Read more »

Pittsburgh protected my family after the synagogue massacre. Now we must do the same for Christchurch families.

A picture is left among flowers and tributes near the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 18, 2019. (Carl Court/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH (JTA) – The universe cracks. That’s how you feel when a beloved family member is violently torn from this world while she or he is at prayer. That’s how 50 families half a world away feel right now in the wake of Friday’s violent attacks on two mosques… Read more »

Russian Jewish mogul: European anti-Semitism sadly not a thing of the past

Israel’s Minister of Immigration and Absorption, Yoav Gallant, recently lashed out at France for an increase of anti-Semitic incidents and called upon French Jews to leave the country and emigrate to Israel for their own safety. Such a significant statement by an Israeli government official in the midst of… Read more »

Donald Trump says Jews are leaving the Democrats. Are they?

President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House, March 10, 2019. (Al Drago/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The House hearing was about foreign aid, and almost as soon as it started it took a political turn: The most powerful congressional appropriator was asking one of Washington’s most influential lobbyists about bipartisanship. “What in your view would be the consequence of making Israel a… Read more »

Israel’s haredi Jews get preferential treatment

Regarding Rabbi Shlomo Brody’s article, “This Eurovision contender showed how Israel has failed its religious Jews,” (AJP 2/22/19), what else do the haredi want? They (for the most part) don’t serve in the army. Most businesses are closed on Shabbat even if they would have opted not to. Marriages,… Read more »

It’s not just anti-Semitism: Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit problem is also a disaster for Jews

Jeremy Corbyn leads the British Labour Party. (Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Jews are rarely central to peacetime domestic British politics. But on Feb. 18, Jewishness appeared front and center at Westminster when seven members of Parliament left the Labour Party, citing its inability to effectively oppose an unworkable Brexit and its apparent unwillingness to confront anti-Semitism. Some of… Read more »

What a Bergen-Belsen prenup teaches us about Jewish resilience

A post-Holocaust marriage contract features a Jewish star between the words Bergen-Belsen, a notorious concentration camp. (Archives of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research)

(JTA) — It is jarring to see a Star of David placed between the Hebrew transliteration of the words Bergen-Belsen, the notorious Nazi concentration camp where 37,000 Jews, including Anne Frank, were murdered – and on a marriage contract, no less. But there it was, a small bureaucratic form, typed in Rabbinic… Read more »

Eurovision contender showed how Israel has failed its religious Jews

The Shalva Band had a shot at becoming Israel's representative at the Eurovision contest. ( Screenshot from YouTube)

A beloved group of Israeli musicians, the Shalva Band, recently made the tough decision to give up a musical chance of a lifetime rather than risk being asked to desecrate the Sabbath. The group, which is comprised of musicians with various disabilities and diverse religious commitments, could not get… Read more »

Conservative Judaism: Reassessing numbers from 2013 Pew Survey

Jewish decision-makers and funders in Israel, the United States, and around the world in part shape allocations and the dispensing of positions of influence on the basis of demographic studies. When interpretations of these studies are misapplied, too often pivotal policy mistakes are made. Jack Wertheimer’s “The New American… Read more »

An idiot’s guide to anti-Semitic tropes

(JTA) — Dear JTA, I am an elected official in a large democracy in the Western hemisphere. A lot of my colleagues have gotten into trouble recently for using anti-Semitic “tropes.” I know what anti-Semitism is, but am less sure how that differs from a “trope.” Any guidance so… Read more »

Local film screening reminds us of cost to survivors of bearing witness

(L-R): Pawel Lichter, Walter Feiger, Sidney Finkel, and Wolfgang Hellpap pose with their ‘World War II Holocaust Survivor’ caps at the Holocaust History Center in Tucson. (Courtesy Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Southern Arizona)

In an interview published Aug. 27, 2012, five years before his death in 2017 at the age of 87, Elie Wiesel spoke of devoting his life to the principle and the ideal of memory and remembrance. The article was titled “Elie Wiesel on His Fear of Being the Last… Read more »

Reflections: The Jewish view of love goes far beyond hearts and flowers

In Western culture today, Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, is a time to celebrate romance and love.  Despite its commercial appeal of candy, Cupid and romantic dinners, its origins are actually much darker. Dating back to the 3rd century CE, on Feb. 14, Roman Emperor Claudius Gothicus beheaded at least… Read more »

I was barred from becoming a foster parent because I am Jewish

Many states have passed laws that permit taxpayer-funded child welfare agencies to exclude prospective foster and adoptive parents based on religious criteria. (Pixabay)

GREENVILLE, S.C. (JTA) — When my father was 7 years old, he was placed in an orphanage. His own father had died and his mother’s mental illness prevented her from caring for him. Growing up, I heard his stories of “kid prison,” as he called it, and I dreamed… Read more »

Right-wing killings eclipsed all other extremist-related murders in 2018. The numbers don’t lie.

Protesters and counterprotesters clash during the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Aug. 12, 2017. (Calla Kessler/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Every year, extremism takes a deadly toll around the world. No region is immune — not the Middle East, not Europe, and not the United States. In 2018, there were at least 50 Americans killed by extremists from different movements. Many of the victims were Jews. Eleven… Read more »

Amos Oz’s fiction is forever, while reality left his politics behind

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin speaks at a memorial service for novelist Amos Oz in Tel Aviv, Dec.31, 2018. (Mark Neiman)

The young nation of Israel has witnessed in recent years a dwindling of its founding generation — from the passing of statesmen like Shimon Peres to the death last month of novelist and political activist Amos Oz. Oz was 79; Israel is but 70. Oz was old enough to… Read more »