Religion & Jewish Life

Meet Mitchell Schwartz, the Jewish Kansas City Chiefs lineman heading to Super Bowl LIV

Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz enters the game against the Tennessee Titans at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Jan. 19, 2020. (William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

(JTA) — Kansas City Chiefs lineman Mitchell Schwartz does more than start for perhaps the best offense in the NFL. The 6-5, 320-pound tackle is a star at his position and has been for much of his eight-year career since turning pro following a standout career at the University… Read more »

Diego Schwartzman and the outsized power of Jewish representation in sports

Diego Schwartzman, listed at 5-7 but probably shorter, is congratulated by Alexander Zverev, who stands 6-6, at the 2019 U.S. Open. Schwartzman defeated Zverev in the fourth round. (Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

This article originally appeared on Alma. I was never the best tennis player. Nor was I particularly good at soccer, basketball or any other sport my parents signed me up for. Still, I stuck with tennis through my junior year of high school, when I was unceremoniously cut from the… Read more »

Israel’s Olympic baseball team preps for Tokyo and looks to expand the sport

Team Israel players Danny Valencia, left, and Jeremy Bleich with students at the Hand in Hand Galilee School in Eshbal, Israel, Jan. 16, 2020. (Hillel Kutler)

MISGAV, Israel (JTA) – As more than 20 men wearing blue-and-white baseball uniforms walked along Tel Aviv’s bustling Allenby Street on a recent Tuesday, a motorcyclist called out in Hebrew and English. “Good luck! We’re behind you!” the man shouted to the group, members of the baseball team that… Read more »

In Amsterdam, the world’s priciest menorah gets a new life

The Rintel Menorah on display at the Jewish Historical Museum of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. (Courtesy of the Jewish Cultural Quarter/JCK)

AMSTERDAM (JTA) — For the Amsterdam Jewish Historical Museum, Hanukkah this year entailed the stressful chore of assembling the world’s most expensive menorah. Last week, the Rintel Menorah, a 266-year-old menorah valued at over a half-million dollars, was put back on display at Amsterdam’s Jewish Historical Museum following the… Read more »

McDonald’s public menorah is Hanukkah symbol in Brazilian Amazon

MANAUS, Brazil (JTA) — A large menorah at a McDonald’s branch has become the only Hanukkah symbol in the streets of Brazil’s largest city in the Amazon region. In a first, the 7-foot-tall, nine-branched candelabrum made of iron in the front yard of the Jewish-owned fast-food restaurant has become… Read more »

10 years after the founding of the first Orthodox school to train female clergy, what’s actually changed?

Rabbanit Jenna Englender dances with the Torah during her graduation ceremony from Yeshivat Maharat in New York, June 17, 2019. (Shulamit Seidler-Feller/Maharat)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Growing up in a Modern Orthodox community in South Africa, Sara Hurwitz never imagined that she would one day become a clergy member. The Conservative and Reform movements have been ordaining female rabbis for decades. But in the Orthodox world, women are barred from many… Read more »

Inside the biggest American Shabbat service of the year

Friday night prayers at the Union for Reform Judaism Biennial featured a 78-person choir and screens projecting the words of the service, Dec. 13, 2019. (Rob Dicker/Union for Reform Judaism)

CHICAGO (JTA) — Josh Nelson sat onstage in front of 5,000 people, accompanied by eight other musicians and perched next to a ginormous video screen bearing the words to one of Judaism’s central prayers, the Shema. It was the largest Shabbat service in America and the apex of the… Read more »

Crafts, volunteering, variety make Hanukkah meaningful for children

Hanukkah’s proximity to Christmas can complicate the holiday. For those who try to make Hanukkah more like Christmas, it inevitably seems to fall short. Yet while Hanukkah traditionally was not one of the most central holidays of the Jewish calendar, it can offer many opportunities for fun and joyous… Read more »

Author to share insider look at widowhood in local talks

Sula Miller

Tucson resident Sula Miller will discuss her recent book “Welcome to … The Widows Club” (CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2017) at two local venues next week. Tucson is the last stop on Miller’s seven-state book tour that began in Florida. The novel was inspired by her mother-in-law, Bernyce, who became… Read more »

Hallmark Channel to broadcast its first Hanukkah movies

Brittany Bristow, center, plays Brooke in the first of two new Hallmark Channel Hanukkah-themed features, ‘Holiday Date.’ Photo courtesy Crown Media

The Hallmark Channel will premiere its first two Hanukkah-themed movies this month in honor of the holiday, which starts this year on Dec. 22. “Our audience is very vocal, and they tell us when they’d like to see more of something,” says Michelle Vicary, Crown Media’s executive vice president… Read more »

M’kor Hayim joins URJ

(L-R): Carol Weinstein; Janice Brumer, a member of the Union for Reform Judaism national board; and Rabbi Helen Cohn Photo courtesy Congregation M’kor Hayim

Congregation M’kor Hayim has joined the Union for Reform Judaism, the association of nearly 900 Reform congregations in North America.  “Our congregation began in 2008. Now that we are fully established locally, we felt it was time to connect with the wider Jewish community,” Rabbi Helen Cohn said. She… Read more »

Tiffany Haddish’s celebrity-filled bat mitzvah, in photos

Rabbi Susan Silverman, left, with Tiffany Haddish at Haddish's bat mitzvah at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., Dec. 3, 2019. (Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Netflix)

(JTA) — Tiffany Haddish celebrated her bat mitzvah Tuesday night surrounded by an array of Jewish celebrity friends, including Billy Crystal, Chelsea Handler and Sarah Silverman. The comedian, who celebrated in Beverly Hills on the occasion of her 40th birthday, released her Netflix standup special, “Black Mitzvah,” on the same… Read more »