First Person

At Jerusalem Jewish media summit, focus is on Israeli-Diaspora divide

By ANDREW SILOW-CARROLL

JERUSALEM (JTA) — I was in Israel for 36 hours before I saw daylight. Which can only mean one of three things:

1. The weather was lousy. 2. I am speaking metaphorically. 3. I am at a conference in the sub-basement of a Jerusalem hotel.

Here’s a...
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Leonard Cohen, my father and me

By CNAAN LIPHSHIZ

(JTA) — Using his M-16 assault rifle as a pillow, my father awoke abruptly from a dreamless sleep by the pleading voice of a young woman outside his tent in the Sinai.

The woman, a uniformed volunteer, was urging reservists like him to forego shuteye to hear...
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Fear and loathing, but mostly loathing, on the campaign trail

By BEN SALES

(JTA) — Some of us are voting for Trump. Most of us are voting for Clinton. But we Jews are all afraid.

There are the scandals, yes. There are emails and sexual assault allegations and emails and fraud and racism and anti-Semitism and emails. There are...
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When Shimon Peres needed a speechwriter — and I needed a nap

By BEN HARRIS

(JTA) — It was 9 o’clock on a weekday evening and I was lounging around my Brooklyn apartment in pajamas when the call came summoning me to a Midtown Manhattan hotel. Shimon Peres needed a speechwriter; I was a speechwriter at the time for Israel’s...
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How my JTA reporting about an anti-Semitic cartoon changed my views of Belgium — for the worse

By CNAAN LIPHSHIZ

AMSTERDAM (JTA) — I used to think I had a pretty good understanding of what it means to be Jewish in Belgium.

A longtime observer of that polarized binational country, whose dysfunctions and successes often reflect those of the European Union headquartered in its capital, Brussels, I...
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Another year, another flood for Houston’s Jews. What now?

By JACOB KAMARAS

(JNS.org) — For the second straight year, this is a story that I wish I didn’t need to write. But for the second straight year, I’m left with no choice but to help my local Jewish community heal through the best way that I know how to...
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Why I hired a Belgian butcher to circumcise my son

By CNAAN LIPHSHIZ

AMSTERDAM (JTA) — They warn you that parenting means doing a bunch of stuff you never imagined yourself doing.

I had always assumed this applied to saying to children things like, “You watch your tone of voice, young lady” or, “Let’s not eat things we find in...
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First Person: JNS editor reflects on Houston floods

By JACOB KAMARAS

(JNS.org) — As Jewish media far and wide started picking up on the story of this week’s devastating flood in Houston, which hit Jewish-heavy neighborhoods particularly hard, JNS.org has been (in my own estimation) conspicuously late to join the reporting. That is by design. I am both...
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First Person: Boy Scout hike has Jewish touch

By ALAN SMASON

For the eleventh time in as many years, I was privileged to lead a contingent of 160 Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, adult leaders on what has become a tradition for many families, the Ten Commandments Hike.

The concept of the Ten Commandments Hike is simple....
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FIRST PERSON: Praying for three boys whose plight hits close to home

By MARCY OSTER

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...
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