Religion & Jewish Life

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 »

Netflix included her in a documentary about leaving Orthodox Judaism. They didn’t say she was gay.

Etty Ausch said her sexuality was cut from Netflix's "One of Us." (Courtesy of Ausch) --

  NEW YORK (JTA) — A woman who was featured in a hit Netflix documentary about former Orthodox Jews says the fact that she was openly lesbian was cut from the film. Etty Ausch, 33, is one of three people who tell their stories of leaving the Brooklyn Hasidic… Read more »

Only 6 percent of Washington DC’s Jewish community identify as Republican

The U.S. Capitol building shown on Feb. 9, 2018. (Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Jews in and around the nation’s capital do plenty of Jewish things. Many of them just don’t do those things as members of Jewish institutions. That’s one of the main takeaways from a wide-ranging survey of Washington, D.C.-area Jews published this week by the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.… Read more »

The youngest Schindler’s list survivor is still telling her story

Eva Lavi, who was 2 years old when the Nazis invaded Poland, addressing the United Nations last week. (Courtesy of the Israeli mission to the U.N.)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Eva Lavi’s earliest memories are of the Holocaust. She remembers how her mother made her hide outside in below-zero weather, clutching a standing pipe, as Nazis searched her home in Poland. She remembers her father telling her to swallow a spoonful of cyanide — better… Read more »

Winter Olympics 2018: 5 Jewish storylines to watch

Short track speed skater Vladislav Bykanov, lower left, leading the Israeli Olympic team at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Feb. 7, 2014. (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

(JTA) — The world is about to revolve around Pyeongchang, a mountainous county in the northern half of South Korea, for the upcoming Winter Olympics. Jewish fans won’t have quite as many standout athletes to cheer for this year as they did in 2016, when multiple American members of the… Read more »

In the #MeToo era, these synagogues are banning Shlomo Carlebach

NEW YORK (JTA) — When Rabbi Angela Buchdahl announced how her synagogue would respond to the #MeToo moment, she singled out a man. But he wasn’t one of her congregants, synagogue clergy or staff members. He was Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, perhaps the most prominent 20th-century composer of American Jewish… Read more »

Poland wants to ban the term ‘Polish death camps.’ There are historical inaccuracies on both sides of the debate.

The main gate of the former Auschwitz extermination camp in Oswiecim, Poland. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

(JTA) — The Polish parliament’s bill to criminalize the use of the term “Polish death camps” prompted an avalanche of criticism in Israel by officials and individuals who warned that it is excessive and risks stifling research on the Holocaust. Following the bill’s passing Friday in the Sejm, or the lower… Read more »

UA Hillel alumni plan pre-game dinner

Lorenzo Romar.

The University of Arizona Hillel Foundation will host its annual alumni and friends basketball event on Thursday, Feb. 8 at 5:15 p.m. The pre-game dinner will feature Lorenzo Romar, UA associate head basketball coach under Coach Sean Miller, who will brief attendees on this year’s Wildcat team. A silent… Read more »