Argentina’s history-making rabbi-lawmaker wears Jewishness on his sleeve

Rabbi Sergio Bergman campaigning for the PRO party, which came in first in Argentine elections Sunday.

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — When he takes the oath of office in December as a new member of Argentina’s lower house of parliament, Rabbi Sergio Bergman will eschew the Christian Bible used by other legislators in favor of the Five Books of Moses. Bergman, whose PRO party won 34.5… Read more »

Israeli group quietly feeding Syrian refugees in Jordan

Syrian refugees in the Jordanian city of Mafraq collect supplies funded by IsraAid, an Israeli humanitarian aid organization, and distributed through a local Jordanian NGO.

MAFRAQ, Jordan (JTA) — The purple plastic sacks fill two rooms in the otherwise sparsely furnished headquarters of a Jordanian NGO, awaiting distribution to Syrian refugees already lined up on the sidewalk. They contain an array of staple dry goods — lentils, pasta, powdered milk, tea — as well… Read more »

Reporter’s Notebook: One in 800,000 at Rav Ovadia’s funeral

Hundreds of thousands of mourners attended the funeral procession of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef who was buried at the Sanhedriya cemetery on Oct. 7, 2013. (Yaakov Naumi/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — I didn’t need to ask directions. Stepping out of the Jerusalem Central Bus Station, I saw them, men in hats and coats walking together slowly, a steady stream moving  east along one of Jerusalem’s central thoroughfares to the funeral of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. At 5 p.m.,… Read more »

Colorado flooding wreaks havoc on Yom Kippur observances

A Chabad volunteer helps people clear damaged goods from their homes in Colorado. (Courtesy of Chabad)

DENVER (IJN) — Before the start of Yom Kippur, a flood of historic proportions swallowed Boulder, Colo., and surrounding areas, displacing families, damaging synagogues and threatening services on the holiest day of the Jewish year — until determination came to the rescue. Orthodox Boulder Aish Kodesh hit the Internet… Read more »

Initial reluctance gone, AIPAC makes big push on Syria response

Protestors rally Sept. 9 on Capitol Hill in support of possible U.S. military action in Syria. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Pro-Israel officials rolled their eyes this week in response to the opposing spins about their support for President Barack Obama’s drive to punish Syrian President Bashar Assad for his purported use of chemical weapons against his own people. Some suggested that once again, the tail was… Read more »

Ahead of High Holidays, Bennett unveils new platform for egalitarian prayer

Women of the Wall leader Anat Hoffman gestures toward a new platform built for egalitarian prayer at Robinson's Arch. (JTA/Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

TEL AVIV (JTA) — Israel’s religious services minister, Naftali Bennett, has unveiled a temporary platform for non-Orthodox prayer at Robinson’s Arch, the archaeological site adjacent to the Western Wall plaza used by egalitarian groups. The platform, which will include Torah scrolls, prayer books and prayer shawls and be open… Read more »

Liberal Jewish groups unleash on doomed abortion bill

Pro-choice supporters at a candlelight vigil in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, Jan. 22, 2013. (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Liberal Jewish groups fired a verbal barrage against a restrictive abortion bill passed by the Republican-dominated U.S. House of Representatives, calling it “egregious,” “outrageous,” “an affront,” and “deeply disappointing.” Such strong language is unusual in any case for groups that must engage with Congress, but especially… Read more »

In Senate, Lautenberg maintained commitment to Jewish community

Sen. Frank Lautenberg attending a Holocaust memorial ceremony in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, May 1, 2008. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — In 1982, Frank Lautenberg was running for New Jersey’s U.S. Senate spot at a time when  Democrats in the state were down on their political fortunes. The Jewish community knew and liked Lautenberg, a data processing magnate who died Monday at 89 after serving more than… Read more »

Haredi Orthodox youth mob Western Wall to protest women’s prayer service

Young Israeli Orthodox women turn out by the hundreds to protest Women of the Wall's monthly prayer service at the Western Wall, May 10, 2013. (Ben Sales)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Haredi Orthodox youths mobbed the Western Wall plaza by the thousands to protest Women of the Wall as they held their monthly prayer service. The youths, many of them students from haredi Orthodox yeshivas, filled the Western Wall Plaza by 6:40 a.m. on Friday, 20 minutes… Read more »

Obama: Peace is possible

President Obama speaks to Israeli students at the Jerusalem International Convention Center, March 21, 2013. (Uriel Sinai/Getty/JTA)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — President Obama reaffirmed his commitment to Israel and called for a renewed peace process in a speech to thousands of Israelis in Jerusalem. In the centerpiece of his first presidential visit to Israel, Obama on Thursday stressed America’s “unbreakable” alliance with Israel and support for Israel in the… Read more »

As trip begins, Obama and Netanyahu are all smiles

President Obama greeted by children waving Israeli and American flags at a welcoming ceremony at Shimon Peres' residence in Jerusalem, March 20, 2013. (Uri Lenz/FLASH90/JTA)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it’s safe to say, haven’t always been the best of friends. The leaders of two closely allied countries, they’ve have had a relationship described more often as tense than anything else. But on the first day of Obama’s… Read more »

Flower of Israel Mikveh to dedicate Women of Valor windows

Stained glass window representing Rachel, the wife of Rabbi Akiva, by Ami Shamir

Perach Yisroel, the Flower of Israel Mikveh at Congregation Chofetz Chayim, will dedicate new stained glass windows and unveil a metal logo sculpture on Sunday, March 17. “Since its opening in 2004, the Perach Yisroel Mikveh has proudly served all members of the Tucson Jewish community … regardless of… Read more »

Dropping in on Irving Olson

Irving Olson, 99, with one of his water drop photographs (Renee Claire)

Irving Olson has been capturing photographic images for nearly 90 years. He continues to create pictures in a dark room, just not the “dark room” one typically associates with photo development. In a specially outfitted kitchenette in his Oro Valley home, Olson shuts out all light and digitally captures… Read more »

Consul talks up the U.S.-Israel relationship

David Siegel, consul general of Israel in Los Angeles, speaks at the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, Jan. 30. (Kathryn L. Unger)

David Siegel, consul general of Israel in Los Angeles, gave a briefing to more than 40 Jewish community leaders on Wednesday, Jan. 30 at the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona. Siegel became consul general in 2011, serving the Southwestern United States. Most recently, he’d served as chief of staff… Read more »

Ed Koch, pugnacious New Yorker and passionate Jew till his dying day

Even in his late 80s, political endorsements from Ed Koch, who served as New York City's mayor from 1978 to 1989, were prized. He appeared in this 2012 video supporting President Obama's bid for reelection. (Obama Campaign/YouTube)

NEW YORK (JTA) — One of the proudest moments of Ed Koch’s life came during a trip to Israel in 1990, in the midst of the first Palestinian intifada. Koch had recently left City Hall after 12 years as mayor of New York City and was touring Jerusalem when… Read more »

ISRAEL VOTES 2013: On Election Day, Israel’s undecided voters face moment of truth

An Israeli man casts his vote at a polling station in Jerusalem, Jan. 22, 2013. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90/JTA)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israelis are rarely shy about offering their opinions, especially on politics. This year, however, a good number of them aren’t sure what their opinions are. As Election Day approached, a large proportion of voters — 15 percent — were still undecided, according to polls. Some remained… Read more »

Provocative Holocaust exhibit, “Deadly Medicine,” coming to UA

International Hygiene Exhibition, 1911 promotional poster. The eugenics movement pre-dated Nazi Germany. A 1911 exhibition at the German Hygiene Museum in Dresden included a display on human heredity and ideas to improve it. The exhibition poster features the Enlightenment’s all-seeing eye of God, adapted from the ancient Egyptian “Eye of Ra,” symbolizing fitness or health. (Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin)

The Nazi regime was known for devising scientific theories to prop up its drive to perfect an “Aryan master race,” which led to the murder of millions of Jews and others during the Holocaust. “Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race,” a traveling exhibition produced by the United States Holocaust… Read more »

In Tucson, JFNA vp stresses unending support for communities in need

William C. Daroff of the Jewish Federations of North America with Tucson’s freedom quilt, marking the 25th anniversary of the Freedom Sunday March on Washington to support Soviet Jewry, at a Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona campaign summit on Dec. 5.

When TV cameras have already left scenes of tragedy at home and in Israel, the Jewish Federations of North America is still on the scene. That’s what William C. Daroff, vice president for public policy and director of JFNA’s Washington office, emphasized at a Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona… Read more »

As it pummels Gaza, Israel faces a Hamas with stronger missiles and closer allies

Israeli soldier praying next to a tank along the Israel-Gaza border, Nov. 18, 2012. (Tsafrir Abayov/Flash90/JTA)

KFAR AZA, Israel (JTA) — In some ways, Israel’s latest confrontation with Hamas looks like past conflicts in the Gaza Strip. Operation Pillar of Defense has left some key Hamas leaders dead, depleted weapons supplies and hit more than 1,000 targets in Gaza. “We are exacting a heavy price… Read more »

Deterrence is the idea behind Israel’s strikes in Gaza, but how far will conflict with Hamas go?

The Iron Dome defense system firing missiles to intercept incoming rockets from Gaza in the port town of Ashdod, Nov. 15, 2012. (Tsafrir Abayov/Flash90/JTA)

SDEROT, Israel (JTA) — Wage war to make peace. That’s the idea behind Israel’s strikes this week against Hamas targets in Gaza, including Wednesday’s attack that killed Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari. What’s not clear is how far Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense will go, what price Israeli civilians… Read more »