Religion & Jewish Life

Larry Johnson, former Kansas City Chiefs running back, tweets that Jews are involved in sex trafficking, pedophilia and more

Kansas Chiefs running back Larry Johnson carries the ball during the game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, Oct. 4, 2009. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Larry Johnson, a former running back who played seven seasons for the Kansas City Chiefs, tweeted multiple times to his more than 147,000 followers over the weekend that a Jewish “cabal” is involved in “Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking, Pedophilia, Ritualistic Child Torture, Perversion, Human Sacrifice/Murder.” And on… Read more »

SF Giants’ first home game blessed by seafaring ‘Rally Rabbi’

Rabbi Yosef Langer on a yacht before the San Francisco Giants’ home opener, July 28, 2020. (Gabriel Greschler)

(J. the Jewish News of Northern California via JTA) — While the ballpark Tuesday night at the San Francisco Giants’ home opener may not have been filled with fans because of COVID-19 restrictions, nearby McCovey Cove had a familiar guest. Standing on a 75-foot yacht docked in a part… Read more »

Uzbekistan Jews fight to save 124-year-old synagogue from demolition

(JTA) — A construction firm in Uzbekistan is attempting to have a 124-year-old synagogue demolished to make way for a luxury apartment complex, according to a Russian-Jewish publication. Absolute Business Trade, a company based in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent, earlier this year sued the Jewish Ashkenazi Community of… Read more »

Confused about Judaism’s view on the afterlife? Start by watching ‘The Good Place.’

William Jackson Harper as Chidi and Kristen Bell as Eleanor on "The Good Place." (Screen shot from YouTube)

Social distancing and staying inside is hard. Thankfully, accessing good things to watch during this time is not. This is the latest installation of a weekly column on Jewish movies and TV shows that you should stream in quarantine. The Good Place Streams on: Seasons 1-3 are on Netflix, Season… Read more »

The pandemic’s first High Holiday season has synagogues wondering: Will people pay dues?

WASHINGTON, DC - Oct. 02 Adas Israel Rabbi Gil Steinaluf greets a congregation member before the start of the synagogue's Vision of Renewal Dedication Ceremony in Washington, DC Wednesday October 2, 2013. The synagogue recently invested in $15 million dollars in renovations, including a new sanctuary and a state of the art study center. (Photo by Jared Soares for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

(JTA) — Like many synagogues, Temple B’nai Hayim used to rely on the High Holiday season to survive financially. The small Conservative synagogue in Southern California would receive the lion’s share of its revenue in the run-up to the holidays: Members sent in their annual dues, which included entry… Read more »

After George Floyd, Jewish institutions consider their own shortcomings on race

Jews of color were among those representing the Indianapolis Jewish community at the annual Festival of Faiths to celebrate the diverse religious landscape in central Indiana. (Indianapolis JCRC)

When the protests over the police killing of George Floyd spread throughout the United States this spring, the moment served as a wakeup call not just for the country but for American Jews. Very quickly, leading Jewish institutions realized that the issue of racial justice wasn’t just about how… Read more »

Abe Foxman’s next act: Raising $28 million to feed thousands of struggling Holocaust survivors

A volunteer packs groceries at the Met Council's warehouse in Brooklyn. Volunteers there assemble more than 1,200 packages of groceries for Holocaust survivors each week. (Courtesy of Met Council)

(JTA) – Since retiring from his post as national director of the Anti-Defamation League in 2015, Abraham Foxman has had plenty of opportunities to take on other projects in the Jewish world. Until now, he’s always said no. But now the 80-year-old is coming out of retirement with an… Read more »

Interim rabbi takes helm at Temple Emanu-El

Rabbi Scott Saulson

Rabbi Scott Saulson, Ph.D., joined Temple Emanu-El this month as interim rabbi. With an extensive background in pastoral counseling and mediation, Saulson specializes in helping congregations in transition. This is his eighth interim rabbi position. Along with fulfilling typical rabbinic duties for a year, such as officiating at services… Read more »

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 »