Religion & Jewish Life

The unexpected upside of caring for a sick baby

(Kveller via JTA) – “Winter is coming.” These three words have hung over mothers like dark clouds for decades, long before “Game of Thrones” came along. For we all know what that short, ominous phrase means: months of interminable sickness in the house. As the days shorten, germs will… Read more »

New Yorker cartoonist Liana Finck draws on the light and shadows of her Jewish upbringing

Liana Finck attends an event at the Milk Gallery in New York City, Feb. 22, 2018. (Sean Zanni/Getty Images for Moleskine)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Liana Finck is in the eating area of a grocery store in Southampton, New York, and I’ve interrupted her beach excursion. Once a week, the Brooklyn-based illustrator rides a train to the east end of Long Island to channel her creative energy. She wakes up… Read more »

Exploring the bialy challah and Polish-Jewish cuisine at a unique Shabbat dinner

The Shabbat dinner was meant to reflect the life and customs of Jewish and Polish communities, and honor the ways the cultures have coexisted. (Meg Jones)

NEW YORK — The bialy challah practically glowed, swirls of caramelized onion peeking out between its braided, poppy-dusted strands. In a charming red-and-white tiled kitchen at the back of a Brooklyn bookstore, some 50 people gathered around a long table to watch a trio of chefs prepare an unusual… Read more »

This college student created a way for nonbinary people to speak Hebrew

Lior Gross, a student at the University of Colorado Boulder, created a Hebrew grammar that lets speakers avoid identifying as male or female. (Patrick Campbell)

(JTA) — Some college students who think about becoming rabbis aren’t sure whether they will want to work in a synagogue or school. Others get hung up on which seminary to attend or denomination to join. Lior Gross had a different dilemma: How to speak Hebrew in the first… Read more »

Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin mine aging for laughs in Chuck Lorre’s latest, ‘The Kominsky Method’

Alan Arkin, left, and Michael Douglas star in "The Kominsky Method," the latest from "Big Bang Theory" creator Chuck Lorre. (Mike Yarish/Netflix)

(JTA) — “The Kominsky Method” is the wisest and saddest new comedy on television. That might be its biggest problem. The protagonist of the eight-episode Netflix series that debuts Friday is Sandy Kominsky (played by Michael Douglas), a Jewish Tony Award-winning actor who landed with a thud in Hollywood.… Read more »

How a rabbi saved 4 Torah scrolls from being destroyed in the California wildfires

Firefighters battle a blaze at the Salvation Army Camp on November in Malibu, Calif., Nov. 10, 2018. (Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

(JTA) — The death toll and damage continue to rise in California in the wildfires ravaging the state. More than 6,400 homes have been damaged and at least 31 people have been killed, according to CNN. Like other Californians, Jewish residents are evacuating their homes and dealing with the… Read more »

Tucson’s two oldest synagogues plan Kristallnacht anniversary pulpit exchange

Rabbi Robert Eisen, left, and Rabbi Batsheva Appel

Rabbi Robert Eisen of Congregation Anshei Israel and Rabbi Batsheva Appel of Temple Emanu-El will exchange pulpits this weekend for “Unity in the Faceof Brokenness,” a commemoration of the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht. Kristallnacht, which is German for “Crystal Night,” is also known as “The Night of Broken Glass.”… Read more »

JFSA women plan Mystery Mitzvah Morning

Updated 11.12.18: This event has been cancelled. Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona Women’s Philanthropy will host a Mystery Mitzvah Morning for newcomers and longtime residents on Sunday, Nov. 18, from 9:30-11:30 a.m. The event will begin with a light breakfast at the Harvey and Deanna Evenchik Center for Jewish… Read more »

Is this the last stand for Amsterdam’s Jewish market?

Nissim Kol shows off his merchandise to a prospective shopper at Amsterdam's so-called Jewish market, Oct. 26, 2018. (Cnaan Liphshiz)

AMSTERDAM (JTA) — Growing up, Jaap Soesan would count the days until his parents would take him to Waterloo Square, a central area that many people here call the Jewish market. “It was a treat to go there,” recalled Soesan, a 95-year-old Holocaust survivor from the Amsterdam suburb of… Read more »

This teen coped with unimaginable tragedy by starting a program to help others

Genevieve Liu created SLAP'D: Surviving Life After a Parent Dies in the wake of her father's tragic passing. (Diller Foundation)

  When Genevieve Liu was 13, an unimaginable tragedy dramatically changed her life. She was on the Lake Michigan shore on vacation with her family in Michigan on Aug. 5, 2012, when her father, a celebrated pediatric surgeon, spotted two boys drowning in the lake. He rushed into the… Read more »

This Pittsburgh rabbi lost 3 congregants in the shooting. Here’s how he is observing Shabbat.

Rabbi Jonathan Perlman speaks to thousands at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Pittsburgh during a service to honor and mourn the victims of the mass shooting at the Tree Of Life synagogue, Oct. 28, 2018. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Six days ago, on Shabbat, Rabbi Jonathan Perlman was hiding in a pitch-black storage closet as one of his congregants was shot dead in front of him. The time since has been filled with funerals, counseling congregants and figuring out how to move forward as a community,… Read more »

A Jewish group builds community for transgender and nonbinary teens

Moving Traditions' Tzelem group conducts its monthly meetings using video chat. (Lior Zaltzman)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Growing up, Devin Goldstein often felt alienated from Judaism. The 17-year-old recalls having to wear traditionally feminine outfits when the family attended synagogue. That was painful for Goldstein, who has since come out as transgender. “It meant I had to get dressed in clothes I… Read more »

Cleveland Browns kicker Greg Joseph’s long journey from Jewish day school to the NFL

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 07: Greg Joseph #17 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates defeating the Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 7, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns won 12 to 9. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

CLEVELAND (Cleveland Jewish News via JTA) — Browns rookie kicker Greg Joseph said it’s been a “wild ride” for him since being cut at the end of preseason by the Miami Dolphins, signing with Cleveland in Week 3 of the regular season, and just days later, playing an integral role in… Read more »

Chelsea soccer club has a plan to combat anti-Semitism by fans: Send them to tour Auschwitz

Chelsea squares off against Southampton in a soccer match at St. Mary's Stadium in Southampton, England, Oct. 7, 2018. (Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

(JTA) — The British soccer club Chelsea is planning to send fans who are caught chanting anti-Semitic songs on a tour of the former death camp Auschwitz rather than punishing them. The team’s owner, Roman Abramovich, who is Jewish, has spearheaded the initiative to combat anti-Semitism, according to a… Read more »