Reports: Israel ready to accept Egypt-proffered cease-fire

An Iron Dome missile defense battery set up near the southern Israeli town of Ashdod fires an interceptor missile, July 14, 2014. (David Buimovitch/Flash 90)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israel is ready to accept an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire, multiple media reports said, although it is unclear whether Hamas also has agreed. The cease-fire that would end the eight-day Gaza conflict was first posted Monday on Twitter by Yossi Melman, a veteran Israeli journalist, who cited Palestinian… Read more »

Tucson Hebrew Academy 8th graders bond on Israel adventure

Tucson Hebrew Academy eighth grade students partcipate in a team-building activity on the beach in the Hof Ashkelon region, recording their thoughts on the trip. Back, (L-R): Rafe Centuori, Jacob Anderson, Max Silverman, Adrian Lehrman, Benjamin Manninen, Avin Kreisler (obscured); front: Rochelle Felix, Dreo Polonski, Sapir Curiel, Alexis McKinstry, Emily Youngerman, Heidi Sexton, Alyssa Lee (Courtesy Tucson Hebrew Academy)

When Tucson Hebrew Academy eighth grad­ers Emily Young­erman and Alyssa Lee first spotted the Western Wall in Jerusalem, they squealed to each other, “Look! It isn’t just a picture anymore!” While most Tucson eighth graders finished up their year with paperwork and exams, the THA eighth grade class spent… Read more »

With discovery of Israeli teens’ bodies, national ordeal ends in tragedy

At the hitchhiking spot in the West Bank where teenagers Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Fraenkel and Gilad Shaar were abducted, Israelis light memorial candles after the discovery of their bodies, June 30, 2014. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90)

TEL AVIV (JTA) — A national ordeal here ended in tragedy as three Israeli teenagers kidnapped earlier this month were found dead near Hebron. The discovery of their bodies Monday night by the Israeli army and volunteer searchers brings to an unhappy conclusion the intensive effort to find the… Read more »

In suburban settlement bloc, kidnapping shakes sense of security

Israeli soldiers guard near where Jewish settlers hitchhike at the Gush Etzion junction in the West Bank, June 16, 2014/ (Flash 90)

EFRAT, West Bank (JTA) — At a shopping center in the middle of Efrat, families eat pizza, a deliveryman unloads a cart and a barista serves coffee. On a passing bus, a banner reads “Gush Etzion — an Israeli home.” In many respects it’s a normal, quiet Monday in… Read more »

Praying for three boys whose plight hits close to home

Racheli Frenkel, center, mother of kidnapped teenager Naftali Frenkel, stands with the mothers of the other abducted teens, Eyal Yifrah and Gilad Shaar, outside her home in Nof Ayalon in central Israel, June 17, 2014. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash 90)

KARNEI SHOMRON, West Bank (JTA) — Four days into the search for three kidnapped Israeli teens, I attended a group prayer session dedicated to their safe return. Dozens of women gathered together to read responsively psalms seeking God’s mercy and intervention before the start of our morning Jewish studies… Read more »

The Jews of Bisbee, Arizona: diverse, passionate and proud

Howard Kline welcomes patrons to his art gallery on the sunny side of Bisbee’s Main Street. (Heather Green)

A visual artist who started out as a rock drummer in the ’60s, a bookstore owner about to make aliyah, a Harvard Law School graduate who headed west to practice on the Navajo reservation — these are three of the 40 to 50 Jews currently living in Bisbee. Although… Read more »

Shavuot, when we became who we are

Thousands attend the blessing of the priests during the morning prayer on Shavuot at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City on May 15, 2013. (Silman Khader/Flash 90)

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — Rabbinic tradition teaches that when God spoke at Sinai, the world was silenced — birds did not sing, breezes did not rustle leaves in the trees. Out of that profound silence came the word, and were the world silent again, for even an instant, we could… Read more »

Geert Wilders and Dutch Jews — end of the affair?

Australian protesters rallying against Dutch politician Geert Wilders in Sydney, Feb. 22, 2013. (Brendon Thomas/Getty Images)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (JTA) — Standing in front of a giant flag, a politician asks his excited followers whether their country should have greater or fewer Moroccans. When they are done chanting “fewer,” the speaker, Geert Wilders of the far-right Dutch Party for Freedom, promises his listeners that he… Read more »

As U.S. tries to save talks, Kerry touts past progress, says ‘fight is over process’

Secretary of State John Kerry testifies during aSenate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on April 8, 2014. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Obama administration is sticking with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process for now despite a crisis that has threatened to scuttle talks. That’s the message U.S. officials were peddling as a top State Department team was in the region turning over the engine attempting to restart the… Read more »

Rabbi, JDC execs to brief community on Georgia, Ukraine

Rabbis on a Jewish Federations of North America mission to Tbilisi, Georgia, brought a food basket to the family of 10-year-old Nodar Abramishvili, who immediately shared a bag of M&M candies with the visitors. (Courtesy Rabbi Robert Eisen)

On Thursday, March 27, Rabbi Robert Eisen will share insights from his recent visit to the Jewish community of Tbilisi, Georgia, as part of a “Between the Headlines: Tbilisi, Ukraine and the Global Jewish Community” briefing sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona. It also will feature Danny… Read more »

‘Story of the Jews’ sneak preview planned

Simon Schama at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (Photo: Tim Kirby © Oxford Film & Television 2012)

Prize-winning author of 15 books and Emmy Award-winner Simon Schama brings to life Jewish history and culture in a new five-part documentary series, “The Story of the Jews with Simon Schama.” To celebrate the series, airing on PBS 6 March 25 and April 1, the Tucson Jewish Community Center… Read more »

Op-Ed: Beating back the assault on Israel’s legitimacy

Anti-Israel protesters march in front of the White House in 2013. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Leaders of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement say they are protesting Israel’s policies in the West Bank. They are doing far more than that. BDS advocates routinely oppose a two-state solution and seek to delegitimize the sovereign, Jewish State of Israel. In some cases,… Read more »

UA Mars project reaching out in Hebrew

A color-enhanced image shows outcrops that are likely volcanic (basalt) in origin, in Mars’ Valles Marineris canyon.

Ari Espinoza, outreach coordinator for HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) at the University of Arizona, wants to help Hebrew speakers learn about Mars. The HiRISE camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been taking photos of the planet since 2006. In 2010, HiRISE started working with volunteers… Read more »

‘Most influential rabbi in America’ to speak at free JFSA event

Rabbi David Wolpe

  David Wolpe — named the most influential rabbi in America by Newsweek magazine and one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by the Jerusalem Post — will speak in support of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona 2014 Community Campaign on Wednesday, Feb. 12. The… Read more »

Mitzvah plans add vigor to JFSA Super Sunday

Super Sunday co-chairs Kris and Ben Silverman

The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona will hold its annual fundraising phone-a-thon, Super Extraordinary Sunday, on Jan. 26 at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. Several mitzvah projects, including a Red Cross blood drive and a Gift of Life bone marrow registry, will help make the day special. “Arizona is… Read more »

Desert Caucus PAC, known in D.C., spreading word in Tucson

Desert Caucus President Chuck Gannon, M.D., in the waiting room of his ophthalmology office. (Nancy Ben-Asher Ozeri)

Although it’s been around for 37 years and currently has over 200 members, the Desert Caucus has a reputation as the best-kept secret in Tucson’s Jewish community. President Chuck Gannon would like to see that change. According to Gannon, an ophthalmologist who has been with the organization for the… Read more »

Unique Jewish Latino Teen Coalition to celebrate 10th year

In Washington, D.C., for a 2011 lobbying trip are Jewish Latino Teen Coalition members (L-R) Maia Schneider, Rena Barber, Harrison Avigdor, Roberto Flores, Susan Keovongsa, Amanda Monroy, Brian Molina, Analiza Grabowski, Louie Sanders, Natalia Navarro and Lindsey Bressler. Many will attend the coalition’s anniversary celebration in Tucson on Jan. 5.

More than 100 teens who otherwise may have never met have shared their cultures through the Jewish Latino Teen Coalition, a program founded by Rep. Raul Grijalva and the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona. The purpose of the coalition, which may be the… Read more »

Jerusalem blanketed by biggest snowstorm in half a century

Young people sit a cafe table set up amid the snow on Jerusalem's Jaffa Road on Dec. 15, 2013. (Hadas Parush/Flash 90)

Only about 20 minutes outside of the city did it begin to appear — patches of white on the rough hills abutting the road, sprinklings of flakes on the pines. By the time our bus reached Mevasseret Tzion, near Jerusalem, the snow was blanketing the ground, building up in… Read more »

New initiative seeking to improve Hebrew literacy among American Jews

Campers at Ramah Day Camp in Nyack, N.Y., participating in a pilot Hebrew immersion program. (Ramah Day Camp)

NEW YORK (JTA) — For the first 3 1/2 weeks of the summer, one group of 5-year-olds at Ramah Day Camp in Nyack, N.Y., was “very quiet” as the children went about the typical camp activities, according to Amy Skopp Cooper, the camp’s director. But in the fourth week,… Read more »

Chief rabbi recounts Ugandan Jews’ trials, triumphs for JFSA

Rabbi Gershom Sizomu

As the first black rabbi from Sub-Saharan Africa, Rabbi Gershom Sizomu, chief rabbi of Uganda and leader of the Abayudaya Jews, may seem like an anomaly to some, but his commitment to Judaism is staunch. “I grew up in eastern Uganda with no electricity or water,” Sizomu told around… Read more »