Religion & Jewish Life

Online programs aid Southern Arizona community connections

synagogues and Jewish agencies offer an assortment of virtual engagement programs for long summer days spent sheltering from the heat and the coronavirus. The list below includes some items that have crossed our desks recently but it is by no means exhaustive; check with other local organizations for additional… Read more »

What Hank Greenberg’s friendship with Jackie Robinson can teach us today

From left: Jackie Robinson in 1945 (Hulton Archive/Getty Images); Hank Greenberg (Getty Images); Zach Banner (Katharine Lotze/Getty Images); and DeSean Jackson (Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Zach Banner posted a video late last week in response to Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson’s anti-Semitic screed against Jews. After describing his horror at the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, Banner preached that as important as the work of Black… Read more »

Zach Banner wants to team up to fight hate. He’s also looking forward to lots of Shabbat dinners (after COVID-19).

Zach Banner after a game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa, Fla., Sept. 24, 2018. (Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

(Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle via JTA) — Just two days after Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson posted an anti-Semitic message he attributed to Adolf Hitler on social media, Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Zach Banner came to the defense of the Jewish community. In a series of tweets and videos,… Read more »

Want to pray with a synagogue minyan? Sign this COVID-19 waiver first.

Some synagogues are requiring congregants to sign waivers releasing them from liability for COVID-19 infections. (Graphic: Laura Adkins)

(JTA) — If you want to pray with a minyan at Beth Sholom Congregation in Potomac, Maryland, the synagogue has a page on its website that guides you through the process. At the top is a helpful video in which the Orthodox synagogue’s two rabbis describe the procedures the… Read more »

Jewish NFL players say education, not ‘cancellation,’ is the right response to DeSean Jackson’s anti-Semitic posts

Jewish football players participated in an online conversation July 12, 2013. Clockwise from upper left: Anthony Firkser, conversation organizer Michael Neuman, Geoff Schwartz and Greg Joseph. (Screenshot from virtual event)

(JTA) — Former professional football player Geoff Schwartz wasn’t surprised when he heard about Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson’s anti-Semitic Instagram posts. “I just thought to myself it’s ignorance — someone who has no idea whatsoever what anti-Semitism is, why his quote could be hurtful to Jews, or… Read more »

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 »