50 years on, remembering the rally that launched the Soviet Jewry movement

“We didn’t know you couldn’t organize a mass rally in four days, and sometimes if you don’t know, then you just plunge ahead—and you do it.” So says Glenn Richter, one of the organizers of the rally in New York City, 50 years ago on May 1, which launched the Soviet Jewry freedom movement.

Posted on April 18, 2014 and filed under Features, World, U.S..

Kansas hate crime didn’t emerge from a vacuum

People like Frazier Glenn Cross—the shooter who cold-bloodedly murdered three Christians in a bloody eve-of-Passover spree at two Jewish community buildings in Overland Park, Kan.—don’t emerge from a vacuum. They are enabled by the same deadly ideas about Jews and Israel that have become so fashionable in parts of the media and academia. In the wake of the hate crime in Kansas, it’s time to start highlighting those links, writes JNS.org Shillman Analyst Ben Cohen.

Posted on April 18, 2014 and filed under Opinion, U.S..

Amid ‘Cosmos’ return, remembering famed Jewish astronomer Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan fans old and new have been gazing at their televisions in awe as host Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson’s resurrection of the science epic “Cosmos” takes them on a journey from the Big Bang, to microscopic one-celled organisms, to the ascent of man, to beyond the stars and planets. The return of “Cosmos”—which launched in March and runs for 13 episodes on the Fox network, ending June 2—provides an opportune time to remember Sagan, the show’s Jewish creator.

Posted on April 17, 2014 and filed under Arts, Features, U.S..

The conflicting agendas of Israel’s Jewish Home party

As both Haredi political parties in Israel—United Torah Judaism and Shas—are currently in the opposition, the Jewish Home party is the only representative of religion in the governing coalition. To address its multifaceted objectives, the party engages in several fronts that often come into conflict with one another. Trying to carry the heavy burden of religion alone, members of the Jewish Home are often adopting positions on religious matters in order to avoid seeming too stringent for their nationalist modern-Orthodox constituency or less religious than the Haredim, writes Moran Stern, a lecturer at Georgetown University’s Program for Jewish Civilization in the School of Foreign Service.

Posted on April 17, 2014 and filed under Israel, Opinion.

At Easter, stark contrast in life for Christians in Israel and in rest of Middle East

Millions of Christians celebrated this Easter Sunday on April 20 under threat throughout the Middle East. In recent years, Christians living in countries such as Syria, Egypt, and Iraq have suffered extreme persecution, with churches destroyed in violent acts of terror and hundreds of thousands killed. Yet in Israel, the one Mideast country where Christian residents have enjoyed security, freedom of worship, population growth, and support from the government, some Palestinian leaders are complaining about Israeli security policies relating to Easter.

Posted on April 17, 2014 and filed under Features, Israel, News, Christian.

Menschkins: Zaftig

The 31st installment of Harvey Rachlin's new comic strip, "The Menschkins." See the color version above, and the black and white version below. Click here for an introduction to the series. Click here for more JNS.org coverage on Jewish arts.

Posted on April 17, 2014 and filed under Arts, Menschkins.

Jewish organizations on alert after fatal shootings in Kansas City area

Kansas’s tight-knit Jewish community was rocked just one day before the beginning of Passover as an alleged gunman took the lives of three people and injured another in attacks just minutes apart outside the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park and a local retirement village.

Posted on April 14, 2014 and filed under News, U.S..

Can bunker busters solve Israel’s Iran dilemma?

Alarmed by what they believe to be diplomatic failures by the Obama administration in nuclear negotiations with Iran, leading scholars of a Washington, DC-based think tank have proposed to have the United States provide Israel with the largest “bunker buster” bombs in the U.S. arsenal to help restore the administration’s leverage in its negotiations.

Posted on April 14, 2014 and filed under Israel, Features, U.S., News.

‘Tears of Color’ art exhibit displays struggles of Israeli patients with eating disorders

“This is how I want to be—without fear. Independent. I want to be like a bird. I want to spread my wings.” So reads part of the description beneath one of the 30 paintings on display until the end of May at the ZOA House in Tel Aviv. The collection, dubbed “Tears of Color,” represents the first-ever art exhibit of its kind: an exhibit created entirely by Israelis in treatment for eating disorders.

Posted on April 13, 2014 and filed under Arts, Features, Israel.

Overprotective or loving? Daughters reflect on Jewish mothers in new anthology

Rachel Ament noticed that she and her friends often shared humorous anecdotes that were typically variations on a theme: overprotective, worrying Jewish moms who smothered them with love. A social media writer for Capital One, Ament decided about three years ago that it would be fun to invite Jewish women writers she admires to contribute stories about their mothers for an anthology. The resulting collection of 27 essays—dubbed “The Jewish Daughter Diaries: True Stories of Being Loved Too Much by Our Moms”—is set for a May 6 release, in time for Mother’s Day (May 11).

Posted on April 13, 2014 and filed under Arts, Features, U.S..

Jewish author of ‘Eat to Live’ dishes on health care, nutrition, disease prevention

While the national debate on “Obamacare” rages on, bestselling Jewish author Dr. Joel Fuhrman says the “current disease care model of what we call ‘health care’ cannot possibly be sustained.” Fuhrman tells JNS.org, “There is simply not enough money available to support a system in which the lion’s share of expenditures is devoted to acute care, with virtually nothing being spent on preventive medicine, i.e. health care.” Fuhrman—a member of Jewish Vegetarians of North America—is best known for his popular 2011 book “Eat to Live,” which tries to make a case for how Americans should change their diets and for why what they usually eat is killing them.       

Posted on April 11, 2014 and filed under Features, Health, U.S..

In restored historic building, Waldorf Astoria is Jerusalem’s newest luxury hotel

In the days before Passover, workmen scrambled to put the finishing touches on the grand building that was originally built by the notorious Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el Husseini, in 1929 as the Palace Hotel. The outer shell of the building, with its ornate Turkish designed masonry, has been preserved and restored, while the inside of the hotel has been completely rebuilt—into the new Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem. “It’s the longest restoration project in Israel’s history,” explains General Manager Guy Klaiman as he leads visitors through the shiny lobby, replete with exquisite Italian furniture and tasteful oversized flower arrangements.

Posted on April 11, 2014 and filed under Features, Israel, Travel.

American Jews must wake up to anti-Semitism of Hungary’s Jobbik party

While some European far-right parties have toned down their anti-Semitism for tactical reasons, and focus a greater proportion of their ire on Muslims, the Hungarian Jobbik party is proudly, unabashedly anti-Semitic—and therefore deserving of a response greater than just the standard press releases that American Jewish leaders delight in issuing, writes JNS.org Shillman Analyst Ben Cohen.

Posted on April 10, 2014 and filed under Opinion, World.

With peace talks on verge of going ‘poof,’ Kerry remark draws bipartisan ire

After spending more than two and a half hours testifying in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary of State John Kerry is fending off criticism from all sides as Democrats, Republicans, and members of the media accuse him of unduly blaming Israelis for derailing peace negotiations. 

Posted on April 10, 2014 and filed under Israel, News, U.S..

In Ukraine, caring for caregivers

The Jews of Ukraine, and caregivers working on the ground there, must know that they have a collective hand extended to them at this time—worrying for them, and working hard to be a source of strength for them. In that empathy is the ultimate expression of the story of the Jewish People: that we can transcend time, place, and even our daily worries to embrace our fellow Jews, acknowledge their suffering, and impart a sense of lovingkindess worlds away. Throughout Ukraine, they need it more now than ever before, writes Alan H. Gill, CEO of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC).

Posted on April 10, 2014 and filed under Opinion, World, Jewish Life.