Religion & Jewish Life

Brazil’s president has COVID-19 and the country is a coronavirus hot spot. Here’s how Rio Jews are adapting to the pandemic.

An aerial view of Flamengo Park in Rio de Janeiro, July 5, 2020. (Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — The bombshell news on Tuesday was ironic for some — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, one of the world leaders who has most staunchly downplayed the potential of the coronavirus pandemic, had contracted the virus. Despite his ardent support of Israel, Bolsonaro’s tempered rhetoric on… Read more »

After World War II, there were 100 Jews left in Frankfurt, Germany. Today, the community has a potent voice.

A view of the Frankfurt skyline, May 8, 2020. (Boris Roessler/picture alliance via Getty Images)

BERLIN (JTA) — There were approximately 30,000 Jews in the city of Frankfurt before World War II, making it the largest community in Germany. By the time the U.S. military occupied the city in 1945, there were only about 100 left. “Jewish life was destroyed,” said Tobias Freimuller, author… Read more »

New Hampshire lawmakers send bill requiring Holocaust education to governor

BOSTON (JTA) – New Hampshire will mandate Holocaust and genocide prevention education under a bill passed overwhelmingly by its House of Representatives. If Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican, signs the measure into law, New Hampshire would become the 14th state to require genocide prevention education in public schools, according… Read more »

For Orthodox groups, the Supreme Court’s ruling on aid to religious schools is a big win

The U.S. Supreme Court handed proponents of school vouchers a victory in the Ezpinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue case. (Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)

(JTA) – For Orthodox Jewish advocacy groups, the last day of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2020 session brought a big win. On Tuesday, the high court handed school voucher proponents a victory in ruling that a state-run scholarship program funded by tax-deductible gifts could not exclude religious schools. The… Read more »

For this Black Jewish leader, George Floyd protest movement shows some Americans finally get it

As senior vice president at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Gamal Palmer is in charge of professional development for the federation’s staff and does leadership development for its board. (Courtesy of Gamal Palmer)

Gamal Palmer has spent virtually his entire professional career working to advance racial diversity, equity and justice. As a Jew of color in charge of leadership and professional development at the Los Angeles Jewish federation, he’s spent years running diversity workshops and pushing for conversations about race within the… Read more »

Here’s how Jewish schools found creative ways to maintain community during COVID lockdown

Yeshivat Noam, a Modern Orthodox school in Paramus, N.J., organized a graduation float that visited students' homes so that members of the class of 2020 could celebrate safely amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Courtesy of Yeshivat Noam)

As soon as it became clear in March that COVID-19 would force school closures around the country, Jewish day school administrators faced a conundrum that went beyond the question of how to continue educating students. The challenge: how to maintain a sense of community at a time when everyone… Read more »

Austria breaks ground for Holocaust memorial in Vienna

(JTA) — A new Holocaust memorial will be built in Vienna engraved with the names of 64,000 Austrian Jews killed by the Nazis. A groundbreaking ceremony was held Monday for the The Memorial to the Jewish Children, Women and Men of Austria who were Murdered in the Shoah, will… Read more »

Pride Month isn’t the focus for LGBTQ Jews this year

From left to right, Lesléa Newman, Michael Twitty, Joy Ladin, Daniel Atwood and Yelena Goltsman reflect on celebrating Pride in 2020. (Header image design by Grace Yagel)

(JTA) — Rick Landman still remembers how nervous he felt. Just 18, he had traveled to downtown Manhattan from his parents’ home in Queens for a march to mark the one-year anniversary of the violent police raid on the Stonewall Inn gay bar — an event that had kicked… Read more »

Auschwitz memorial and museum will reopen to visitors on July 1

(JTA) — The Auschwitz Memorial and the site of the former Nazi camp will reopen to visitors on July 1. The memorial and museum said it will open for guided tours and individual entry beginning on that date. Reservations must be made online. It closed to visitors in mid-March… Read more »

Some New York City yeshivas are operating in the shadows

Orthodox children watch as protesters march through Brooklyn, June 3, 2020. Some yeshivas have provided instructions for parents to bring their children back to yeshiva three months after schools closed due to the pandemic. (Angela Weiss/Getty Images)

(JTA) – As Orthodox lawmakers were brazenly cutting the locks off a New York City playground on Tuesday morning, Orthodox children were settling in for a school day just nine blocks away. The classes at Yeshiva K’tana Torah Vodaath in Brooklyn were the first held in the school building… Read more »

The first female chancellor of JTS shares her plans for the seminary – and getting through the pandemic

Shuly Rubin Schwartz was named the eighth chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary in its 134-year history. (Ellen Dubin Photography)

(JTA) – Shuly Rubin Schwartz’s appointment as the Jewish Theological Seminary’s eighth chancellor comes just in time for the historian to guide the institution through a period of unprecedented crisis management. The flagship university of Judaism’s Conservative movement recently completed a major renovation project of its Morningside Heights campus… Read more »

For Orthodox Jews, George Floyd protests stir complicated feelings

Members of the Orthodox Jewish community watch as protesters walk through the Brooklyn borough on June 3, 2020. (Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

(JTA) – On Sunday night, Rabbi Richard Altabe marched arm in arm with two black politicians protesting police brutality at a demonstration in Far Rockaway. The next morning, Orthodox Jews in the same New York neighborhood showed up at the local police precinct to drop off pastries for the… Read more »

‘We have to be there’: 5 Jews on taking part in the George Floyd protests

Rachel Sumekh, right, marches in Los Angeles with David Bocarsly, June 3, 2020. (Courtesy of Sumekh)

(JTA) — It has been a trying week and a half for Beejhy Barhany. Her Israeli-Ethiopian fusion restaurant, Tsion Cafe, had already been struggling to make ends meet after months of closure due to the pandemic. Then the protests over the death of George Floyd swept through the city,… Read more »