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Judge Amy Coney Barrett is impressive. She appears intelligent, articulate, confident and poised, and spoke evenly in her public testimony over several days of lengthy proceedings last week before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Barrett has served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals…

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The sometimes violent protests last week in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Borough Park were disturbing. Although the communal frustration that prompted the reaction may have been fueled by poor or misleading communications by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, much of the graphically reported respon…

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On May 15, with the coronavirus raging around the world, Israel reported just 13 new cases. It appeared that the start-up nation had succeeded in flattening the curve, as only a few other countries had done. That was cause for praise. Indeed, as others struggled to address the coronavirus, I…

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Last week’s first “debate” between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden was a mess. More than 70 million people tuned in to watch. Unfortunately, they didn’t get to hear the candidates discuss their views concerning the significant issues and challenges facing our country.

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California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to sign into law Assembly Bill 331 this week, which will require public high schools to offer an ethnic studies course by 2025, and to begin making the course a requirement to graduate by 2029. While the innovative educational effort is commendable,…

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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s remarkable career ended with her death on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. An icon for liberals, Ginsburg stood with the “the outsider in society … telling them that they have a place in our legal system,” as President Bill Clinton described her when he nominated her t…

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It is now more than seven decades since the end of the Holocaust. The number of precious survivors continues to diminish, even as we pledge to never forget. Numerous impressive projects have been undertaken to record the history of one of the world’s darkest chapters and combat the lies of H…

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The historic Abraham Accords, signed at the White House last week, established normalized relations between Israel and two Arab monarchies, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. While the ceremony was impressive and its results significant, the Accords had an important side benefit: They cleared…

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How much government support is required in order to address the extraordinary needs of Americans more than a half-year into the coronavirus pandemic? No one knows for sure. But everyone knows that the number is very high, and that the needs are extraordinary.

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The Hebrew month of Elul, which precedes the beginning of the Jewish new year, has always been a time of reflection and introspection. Particularly as we get closer to Rosh Hashanah — which we will celebrate this weekend — we look back over the past year and think about the possibilities and…

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We are all familiar with the term “cybercrime” — we regularly read about hackers who steal financial or personal information from individuals, institutions or businesses through which they gain access to money or valuable data. Sometimes, the theft stops with the targeted taking. Other times…

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Among the many issues we are confronting during the coronavirus pandemic, public policy regarding housing affordability and stability ranks near the top. Affordable housing is an essential component of our societal infrastructure, and has a direct impact on our most vulnerable.

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The recent Democratic and Republican conventions told two very different stories. They reflected a political divide in our country that goes well beyond policy differences. The back-to-back made-for-TV events made clear that the two campaigns have decidedly different perceptions of today’s p…

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Conspiracy theories are hard to kill. They exist almost entirely in the mind of the believer. State a fact to disprove the theory and, to the believer, it will prove how well those carrying out the conspiracy are keeping it hidden. We go through life “connecting the dots,” or reaching logica…

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When President Donald Trump raised concern about mail-in voting for the upcoming November elections and suggested that the U.S. Postal Service could be an instrument for voter fraud, political reactions were quick and intense. In the process, Americans rediscovered their love of the post office.

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Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s selection of Sen. Kamala Harris as his vice presidential running mate was wise. Harris checks nearly all of the boxes Biden needs to round out his ticket and still appeal to progressives, independents and disillusioned Republicans.

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With the announcement on Aug. 13 that Israel and the United Arab Emirates were formalizing their relations, there was near universal praise for the diplomatic achievement. Credit for the historic accord was shared by U.S. President Donald Trump, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and…

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The novel coronavirus is testing our resources and creativity in ways we never imagined. We look to government for support; we turn to communal social service organizations for assistance; we look to our scientific and medical community for innovation and answers; we look to our schools for …

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It is a rare accomplishment for a rabbi to have his name attached to the word “Talmud,” the corpus of Jewish law and lore that has been the subject of Jewish study and scholarship for close to 2,000 years. But becoming identified with his eponymous translation of the Talmud was only one of R…

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As so often happens in our social-media-driven political world, the tweets of President Donald Trump get a lot of coverage and strong reaction. Last week was no exception, as the president got people buzzing with a series of tweets about the November elections. Following up on his repeated a…

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There were many items up for consideration when the Democratic National Committee’s platform committee held a virtual meeting last week to consider changes to a draft version of the platform, including proposals regarding Medicare for All and the legalization of marijuana, both of which were…

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What is the proper role of the federal government in local law enforcement activity? Two different programs being pursued by the Trump administration highlight the potential benefits and some real concerns that can come from such involvements.

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Since Israel’s emergency government was formed in May, the problems have only gotten worse. Last week, there was talk of another national election by the end of 2020 — the fourth in the span of two years.

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“Beloved” is an apt word to describe John Lewis. He was more than a member of Congress, more than a civil rights leader and more than a friend of the Jewish people. Lewis, the Georgia Democrat who died July 17 at the age of 80, possessed an unusual combination of strength, courage, modesty, …

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Once you get past the schadenfreude, one could almost feel sorry for the New York Times. With the very public and searing announcement by op-ed staff editor and writer Bari Weiss of the reasons for her resignation from the paper, the curtain has been pulled back from the Gray Lady, leaving t…

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Peter Beinart, the journalist and political columnist, asks in an essay published last week in Jewish Currents: “What makes someone a Jew — not just a Jew in name, but a Jew in good standing — today?” He answers: “In haredi circles, being a real Jew means adhering to religious law. In leftis…

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July 1 has come and gone. That was the date Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set for moving ahead with Israel’s annexation of 30% of the West Bank. Perhaps it was a ploy to rally his base. Or maybe it was perceived as an opportunity to execute on a lifelong dream, which was sidetracked by t…

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Four months ago, all of our schools were forced to close. That unexpected development required area educators to adapt their efforts to teach our children in ways they may have thought about, but never expected to invoke in the middle of the school year. Distance learning became part of our …

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A state does not have to fund private schools. But if it does direct public funds to private schools, it may not discriminate against private religious schools. That’s the essence of last week’s common-sense 5-4 Supreme Court decision.

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Rep. Eliot Engel’s loss last week in a New York Democratic primary after 31 years in office is perhaps the most visible sign of the generational and ideological changes the party is undergoing. It also suggests that 2020 may be the year of Black candidates, as 2018 was the year of the woman.…

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Amid the coronavirus pandemic, which was particularly brutal in New York State, Gov. Andrew Cuomo prohibited overnight camps from opening this summer. The theory is that the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks outweighs the need for children to get away to camp after months of lockdown at home. But n…

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For more than 30 years, charismatic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has spewed hatred and vitriol against Jews, white people and the LGBTQ community. And while he appears to be an equal opportunity hater, there is clearly a special place in his arsenal of blasphemy reserved for the Je…

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Why is food rotting in farmers’ fields while millions of Americans are facing food insecurity? Why are we forcing vulnerable people to line up for hours and place themselves in unsafe conditions to receive vital nutrition assistance?Why are policymakers hesitating to use every tool at their …

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he will put the question of Israel annexing about 30% of the West Bank to a government vote as early as July 1. As that date draws closer, critics are struggling to understand why a unilateral move is necessary, and supporters are struggling…

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There is no constitutional requirement that a president be the country’s consoler in chief, but there is a long history of presidential empathy.

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Late night talk show host Jimmy Fallon recently made an awkward but admirable attempt to address his own perceived acts of racism and, in contrition, focused nearly his entire show on interviews with prominent African Americans and civil rights activists. He asked his guests what whites can …

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It may be hard to believe, but it was once considered unseemly for a U.S. presidential candidate to be seen campaigning for the job. Instead, a candidate would sit on his porch at home, welcoming supporters and collecting endorsements. While we have moved away from that more passive approach…

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The coronavirus has shaken the world. It has brought us worry, fear and helplessness. While sheltering in place, we have been searching for a better understanding of the virus, and anxious about prospects for resolution. These concerns have heightened our need for leadership, guidance and a …

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It almost sounded like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s message to the Israeli people was something like: “Be careful what you wish for.” Instead, what he said in his Knesset speech as Israel’s 34th government was sworn in was: “The public wants a unity government and this is what the pub…

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The first jolt of the coronavirus pandemic hit young people just as the country was learning the scope of the danger. Schools were closed. Malls were closed. Extracurricular activities were canceled. And kids were forced to distance from their friends.

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Ellis Island. The Statue of Liberty. The promise of religious liberty and religious freedom. American Jewish history begins with these images and concepts.

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The coronavirus pandemic has prompted serious review by governments, businesses, organizations and communities of various aspects of their day-to-day operations, as each seeks to innovate or adjust in an effort to protect public health and safety.

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There’s a good reason why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank is being criticized by friends of Israel on the left, right and center. That’s because it’s a bad idea. As described in a New York Times op-ed by Daniel Pipes, one of Israel’s more forceful rig…

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India has been called the world’s largest democracy. With its billion-plus citizens, it was founded as a secular democracy to be shared by a multiplicity of groups, languages and religions.

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Joe Biden, the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, has a problem. Those competing in the vice-presidential sweepstakes to join the Biden ticket as his running mate have a problem. Most of all, the Democratic Party has a problem. What the Democratic Party has touted in t…

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The emergency government agreed to last week by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Knesset Speaker Benny Gantz promises to free Israel from the political paralysis it has endured for more than a year. With no majority coalition achieved by either leader after three elections, and with COV…

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None of us has ever seen anything like COVID-19 before. So we have no handbooks to tell us how we should respond to something so debilitating that demands intense initiative and creativity. Fortunately, there are organizations and individuals within our communities that have responded with e…

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The London Jewish Chronicle used to bill itself as “The Most Widely Read Jewish Newspaper in the World.” That was true. The Chronicle was founded in 1841, and was the oldest continuously published Jewish newspaper anywhere. After the advent of the internet, it struggled like other publicatio…

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