Opinion

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 »

How going to synagogue regularly turned me into a dumpster diver

Cnaan Liphshiz examines binned avocados at Amsterdam's Albert Cuyp Market, Jan. 5, 2018. (Cnaan Liphshiz)

AMSTERDAM — I was recently offered a handout while rummaging for food in a heap of trash as my two small children looked on. It happened all because I wanted to start attending synagogue regularly. To be clear, I’m writing this neither as a plea for pity nor an indictment against… Read more »

How to tell if your child is traumatized by the Pittsburgh shooting, and what to do about it

One of the most important responses in the wake of a traumatic incident like the Oct. 27 Pittsburgh shooting is for the community to come together, experts say. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

This article is sponsored by Hadassah. Within 24 hours of the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Judith Cohen’s cellphone was ringing incessantly with offers of help from around the world. A psychiatrist who specializes in the treatment of trauma and grief in children and adolescents, Cohen is one… Read more »

OP-ED When George H.W. Bush was reluctant to wear a yarmulke

President George Bush poses for photographers following his Oval Office address to the nation, Sept. 27, 1991. (Luke Frazza/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — George H.W. Bush was a man of uncommon decency. He also was a man of uncommon integrity. I worked for him for over 10 years, while he was the vice president and then president. My memories could fill a book (or at least a chapter of… Read more »

What PBS got right — and so wrong — about the Jews of Iran

A Jewish woman casts her vote at the Yusef Abad Synagogue during elections in Tehran, Feb. 26, 2016. (Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Several days after the Jewish Daily Forward published the first-ever report from the Islamic Republic of Iran by a reporter openly representing a Jewish, pro-Israel news outlet, the host of CNN’s foreign affairs show “GPS” posed a vexing question. Citing the Forward’s surprisingly favorable account of the… Read more »

OP-ED: There is no religious excuse for not vaccinating your kids

Many Jewish legal authorities have called for universal vaccination in response to measles outbreaks in the United States and Israel, according to two doctors associated with the Touro College system. (Hannah Smith/KOMU/Flickr)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Opposition to vaccination on political and religious grounds has been swaying parents across the country to refuse immunizations for their children. Recently this has resulted in two of the largest measles outbreaks in New York’s history, impacting haredi Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods. The opposition to vaccines… Read more »

When America doubted my grandmother’s loyalty

Jeanette Kern, left, receiving one of the two commendations she earned for her work during World War II as a clerk in the Army Signal Corps, July 27, 1944. (Orn Hayon)

After my grandmother Jeannette died in December 1996, the process of settling her estate worked in the same way it does in most families: There was a house to be sold and possessions to be distributed. The surviving family members were left with a few souvenirs of my grandparents’… Read more »