Religion & Jewish Life

Notre-Dame will be rebuilt – but most European Jewish sites never will be

A Star of David stands in the Nozyk Synagogue, Warsaw's only surviving synagogue from before World War II and located in the city's former ghetto, April 12, 2018 (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

BUDAPEST (JTA) – Architecture and built heritage can be powerful symbols. Notre-Dame de Paris is one of the most famous and familiar buildings in the world, visited by an astonishing 30,000 people a day, or 13 million people a year. It is embedded in global collective consciousness and immortalized around the… Read more »

Meet the Korean-American woman who leads the Jewish Renewal movement

SooJi Min-Maranda is among the few people of color in visible leadership roles in the Jewish community. (J.D. Scott)

(JTA) — SooJi Min-Maranda rarely sees other Jewish people who look like her. “I often feel very isolated as a Jew of color living in the Midwest,” she said. Min-Maranda, who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with her husband and two children, was born in Korea but moved with… Read more »

From 1600s Europe to a lesbian feminist seder, these 4 Haggadahs are a trip through Jewish history

A children's Haggadah from 1945 compares draws parallels between the Passover narrative and the Holocaust. (Yeshiva University Museum/Center for Jewish History)

NEW YORK (JTA) — From graphic novel Haggadahs to a Donald Trump-themed one, if you’re looking for a certain kind of guide to the Passover seder, chances are it’s out there. Recent years have seen a proliferation of political, environmental, family-friendly,  or just plain irreverent Haggadahs, but the urge to… Read more »

Leaders of liberal Orthodox yeshiva stand by decision to deny ordination to gay student

Rabbi Avi Weiss, center, the founder of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, said the decision to deny ordination to a gay student pained him but he agreed with it. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) – The leaders of a liberal Orthodox rabbinical school are standing behind their decision to deny ordination to a rabbinical student who is openly gay, even as Jewish LGBTQ leaders have criticized the move. Daniel Atwood, a rabbinical student at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah in New York… Read more »

A family Haggadah imagines a ‘complicated, engaging and fleshy’ Passover

The Kveller Haggadah is "for curious kids — and their grown-ups." (Kveller)

(JTA) — The Passover seder can be boring for kids. A new Haggadah is trying to change that. Published by Kveller, a Jewish parenting site, the Kveller Haggadah is “for curious kids — and their grown-ups.” The Haggadah’s co-creators are Elissa Strauss, a columnist on parenthood for CNN, and… Read more »

Tucson sluggers aim Team Israel at ’20 Olympics

Alexis ‘A.J.’ Kaiser, seen here at bat for Syracuse University, grew up in Tucson and will be a member of Team Israel in women's softball. (Courtesy A.J. Kaiser)

Softball players across the country are coming together this summer to train for the Team Israel women’s softball team, which will be led by Stacey Iveson, the University of Arizona women’s softball director of recruiting-operations. Iveson is a former Wildcat player and coach, and won four junior college national… Read more »

Composing prayers as a response to the world

Rabbi Hazzan Avraham Alpert

Do you get frustrated from reading the news? If you are like me, you find it difficult to restrain yourself from posting and reposting on social media in response to the stories that upset you. It’s good, though, to have other ways to answer the irritations that come with… Read more »

Orthodox-run cemetery in St. Louis OKs area for cremated remains, burial of non-Jewish family members

Beth Shalom Cemetery officials said they were trying to service the entire Jewish community in opening its new section. (Courtesy of Beth Shalom Cemetery)

ST. LOUIS (St. Louis Jewish Light via JTA) — A Jewish cemetery in a suburb here has opened a section for the burial of cremated remains and will allow for the burial of non-Jewish, immediate family members of Jews who are buried at the cemetery. The decision by the board… Read more »

We found the (actual) first Jewish woman to finish the Iditarod sled dog race

Susan Cantor ran the Iditarod in 1992 after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. (Courtesy of Cantor)

(JTA) — Blair Braverman wasn’t the first Jewish woman to finish the Iditarod sled dog race, as we mistakenly reported. That title goes to Susan Cantor, who completed the race in 1992. Twenty-seven years before Braverman crossed the finish line on Sunday, Cantor completed the grueling 1,000-mile course in 14… Read more »

Blair Braverman becomes first Jewish woman to finish the Iditarod sled dog race

Blair Braverman came in 36th place in the 1,000-mile race. (James Netz)

  Editor’s note: Blair Braverman is actually the second Jewish woman to finish the Iditarod. Susan Cantor was the first. (JTA) — Writer and adventurer Blair Braverman appears to be the first Jewish woman to race in — and complete — the historic Iditarod sled dog race, finishing the grueling… Read more »

On this Spanish island, Purim used to be the biggest holiday for persecuted Jews

Members of the Jewish community of Mallorca, Spain, attend a Tu b'Shvat picnic, Feb. 10, 2019. (Cnaan Liphshiz)

PALMA DE MALLORCA, Spain (JTA) — On this island south of Barcelona, Jews celebrate Purim these days pretty much as they do most anywhere else in Europe. There’s the reading of the Book of Esther at the small synagogue near the marina, followed by a costume party bringing together… Read more »

PJ Library national officer briefs locals on global operation

(L-R) PJ Library volunteers Jane Ash, Karen Katz, and Lee Surwit; Rosalie Eisen, PJ Library national senior program officer; Mary Ellen Loebl, Tucson PJ Library coordinator; and Deborah Oseran, incoming Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona board chair, at the Federation Feb. 19 (Debe Campbell)

In Southern Arizona, nearly 900 families with children from 6 months to 11 years old receive free books monthly from PJ Library and PJ Our Way programs. And 98 percent of those parents say PJ Library has been a valuable parenting tool. “This is the largest cohort of young… Read more »

JFCS Matza & More sees local needs increase

Volunteers unload groceries for Jewish Family & Children’s Services’s 2018 Matza & More campaign. (Jewish Family & Children's Services)

For more than 40 years, Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Southern Arizona’s Matza & More project has packed and delivered Passover bags to Tucson area families who otherwise could not afford food and items for a Seder. Volunteers and staff fill the bags with fresh vegetables, gefilte fish,… Read more »

Neshama Carlebach is figuring out how ‘to both love and not love’ her father

Neshama Carlebach says "I want to live for this moment, for today, and I want my children to know joy.” (Michael Albany)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Neshama Carlebach says she is figuring out how “to both love and not love” her father. Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, a spiritual leader and musician whose soulful melodies penetrated the hearts of people across the religious spectrum, is the man who made her into who she is… Read more »

Writer T Kira Madden on growing up queer, Jewish, Chinese and Hawaiian in Boca Raton

(Collage by Alma; photo of T Kira Madden courtesy of Madden)

This article originally appeared on Alma. T Kira Madden’s gorgeous and remarkable debut memoir, “Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls,” chronicles her childhood in Boca Raton, Florida, as the daughter of parents who struggled with addictions. “I wrote the book kind of accidentally,” Madden tells Alma. “But, I… Read more »

Here’s how young European Jews in far-flung cities are connecting to Jewish studies

The video-based learning program for European Jewish students is supplemented by in-person encounters like this Shabbaton in Berlin in March 2018. (Lauder Foundation)

When Jewish physicist Vladimir Osipov emigrated from his native Moscow 13 years ago, he first moved to Holon, a city in central Israel. But it wasn’t until Osipov relocated with his family three years later to a mid-size city in Germany that they felt part of a vibrant Jewish… Read more »

A new book sheds light on little-known American Jewish women throughout history

Pamella Nadell is the author of the forthcoming book "America's Jewish Women: A History From Colonial Times to Today." (Book photo: Courtesy of W. W. Norton & Company; Nadell photo: Sophia Myszkowski)

NEW YORK (JTA) — While looking at family photos, historian Pamela Nadell noticed how female relatives dressed differently with each generation. Her great-grandmother wore a high lace collar and covered her hair with a wig, like some Orthodox Jews. Her daughter’s go-to is a pair of skinny jeans. Nadell, a… Read more »