Religion & Jewish Life

ANALYSIS Draymond Green says his trip to Israel wasn’t about politics. Here’s why Israel’s critics won’t accept that.

Draymond Green, right, shown before a playoff game between his Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center in Houston, May 28, 2018. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

NBA star Draymond Green on his recent visit to Israel got to meet the nation’s president and take some shooting practice — with guns, not basketballs — on a military base. Green’s visit, particularly his jovial use of Israeli military weaponry, prompted criticism from notable figures on the American… Read more »

Between jihadists, neo-Nazis, Swedish Jews fear future

arinne Sjoberg peels off a sticker that neo-Nazis left on the door of what used to be the Jewish community center of Umea, Sweden. (Photo courtesy Carinne Sjoberg)

When Carinne Sjoberg dissolved the Jewish Community of Umea in northern Sweden, she knew it would send shockwaves far beyond the small congregation that she had spent decades building. The move in May owed to intimidation by neo-Nazis, making it the first time in decades that a Jewish organization… Read more »

Out & About connects Handmaker residents with Tucson’s cultural scene

Out & About participants on a recent trip, starting with front row, (L-R): Ethel Weissman, Ramon Cruz (driver), Carol Zuckert; Debbie Smolen (volunteer), Betty Light, Leah Casey, Doris Wochley; MaryJane Gibson (volunteer); Lois Waldman, Les Waldman, Mort Edberg, Elaine McLain

Elaine McLain, a Handmaker resident for two and a half years, is delighted Handmaker recently created an Out & About program for residents, a series of trips to cultural sites similar to Handmaker’s popular Adventure Bus program, which is for people experiencing the early stages of memory loss. “It’s… Read more »

Childhood vision inspires Tucsonan to be voice for peace

Even as a child, Hana Ripp felt that she had a mission in life. She wanted to be a voice for those who couldn’t speak. Intuition guided her over decades to follow her vision of world peace and harmony through the best vehicles she knew — arts and education.… Read more »

An Israeli wrestler calls himself ‘The Chutzpah,’ and Europe loves to hate him

Lior Brooks, left, during a match in Greece, Nov. 22, 2017. (Courtesy of ZMAK)

(JTA) — Like many Israelis visiting Europe, Lior Brooks is keenly aware of his compatriots’ reputation abroad for rudeness. The boorish stereotype is so well known that it has its own term there – “the ugly Israeli” – and been the subject of many an awareness-raising campaign. There’s even… Read more »

Why synagogues started putting American flags in the sanctuary

American, Canadian and Israeli flags are displayed in the S.H. and Helen R. Scheuer Chapel on the Cincinnati campus of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. (Ady Manory)

(JTA) — Jewish tourists from North America are likely to notice one big difference when visiting synagogues around the world. Though a plethora of symbols, such as stars of David and menorahs, may be displayed, national flags are rare inside the sanctuary. Meanwhile, in the United States and Canada,… Read more »

Grilled Eggplant with Chermoula recipe

(The Nosher via JTA) – From bulbous and egg-shaped to small and thin, the eggplant (or if you’re British like me, the aubergine) is a staple fruit within Sephardic Jewish cooking. Originating in India or perhaps even China, eggplant seeds are thought to have traveled along the Silk Road… Read more »

This woman is studying to be the first female rabbi from Uganda

Shoshanna Nambi wants to teach her rabbinical school colleagues about Ugandan Jewish traditions. (Courtesy of Nambi)

(JTA) — Growing up in Uganda, Shoshanna Nambi was active in her small Jewish community. She taught songs and the Torah portion to younger children and was a member of her community’s youth group. Learning Hebrew also seemed to come easily. So it seemed obvious to her that she… Read more »

These Jewish Arizona activists are fighting against family separation on the border

Alma Hernandez, a Mexican-American Jew and daughter of immigrants, is running for the Arizona House of Representatives and founded a progressive Jewish group in Tucson. (Courtesy of Hernandez)

(JTA) — When Mary McCabe explains America’s immigration courts to children who have been separated from their parents, she tries to make it interactive. She draws a sketch of a courtroom and asks kids to identify the figures in the room — like the judge or the lawyers —… Read more »

These Dutch Holocaust survivors have been madly in love for 70 years

Meijer and Tedje van der Sluis during filming in Amsterdam of a 2018 documentary film about their marriage. (Merlijn Doomernik)

AMSTERDAM (JTA) — More than 70 years have passed since Meijer van der Sluis first laid eyes on the love of his life. He was at a home for child survivors of the Holocaust, and he opened the door for her. He still remembers her short haircut and exactly… Read more »

People in the news 6.15.18

Steven Meckler

Tucson photographer STEVEN MECKLER will receive the American Advertising Federation Silver Medal Award at the Tucson Advertising Hall of Achievement event on Sept. 6 at Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch Resort. The Silver Medal is a nationally recognized award that honors men and women who have made significant contributions… Read more »

CCC program aims to bolster ‘The Connection’

Students at the Bais Medrash of the Foxman Torah Institute in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, study with Rabbi Shimon Max. (Foxman Torah Institute)

Two rabbis and 12 yeshiva students from New Jersey will join forces with Rabbi Israel and Esther Becker of Congregation Chofetz Chayim and the Southwest Torah Institute later this month for a multifaceted program called “The Connection.” The goal of the free, three-week program is “to help the Jewish… Read more »

S’mores Babka Recipe

S'mores Babka (Shannon Sarna)

(The Nosher via JTA) – Babka is an Eastern European yeasted cake with deep Jewish roots and also great American popularity. One of babka’s most notorious moments was in an episode of “Seinfeld”:  Jerry and Elaine head to Royal Bakery to pick up babka for a dinner party, and… Read more »

Why New Jersey’s Orthodox stalled a bill banning child marriages

A New Jersey bill seeks to outlaw marriage for teenagers under 18. (Justin Oberman/Creative Commons)

(JTA) — A bill that would ban teenagers under 18 from marrying in New Jersey has been stalled because of opposition from the state’s haredi Orthodox community. Agudath Israel of America, the national haredi organization, says it supports the bill but that its provisions are too strict. Citing child… Read more »

Banned from marrying interfaith couples, Conservative rabbis are finding other ways to celebrate them

Jamila Humphries, left, and Emily Schorr Lesnick are an interfaith couple that is taking part in an aufruf ceremony in a Conservative synagogue. (Courtesy of Humphries and Schorr Lesnick)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Emily Schorr Lesnick and Jamila Humphrie always knew that Judaism would play a part in the life they wanted to build together. But experiences with Conservative Jewish institutions had made the couple feel less than welcome. Schorr Lesnick, 28, remembers encountering homophobia at her Jewish… Read more »

Rabbi Aaron Panken remembered as joyful leader who embodied the ‘best of the Reform movement’

Rabbi Aaron Panken teaching a Talmud class to Hebrew Union College students. (Courtesy of HUC)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Rabbi Andrea Weiss, an associate professor of Bible at the New York campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and its incoming provost, remembered the joy that Rabbi Aaron Panken brought to his work. Weiss recalled how Panken would pop into his colleagues’ offices asking if… Read more »

This bike saved Jews from Nazis

The Giro d’Italia bike race is moving from Israel to Italy but this story lives on — about the heroic sports hero Gino Bartali, the Tour de France and Giro champ who saved 800 Jews from the Holocaust by teaming up with a convent of singing nuns and document-forging… Read more »

This British Jewish school has mostly Muslim students

Students at the King David Elementary School in Birmingham celebrate Israel's 70th anniversary, April 19, 2018. (Cnaan Liphshiz)

BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom (JTA) — Like hundreds of Jewish institutions in the Diaspora, the King David School celebrated Israel’s 70th Independence Day with blue-and-white flags and group singing of the “Hatikvah” national anthem. But the King David is not like most other Jewish schools. Most of the dozens of… Read more »