First Person

FIRST PERSON: Why I traveled to Las Vegas to help after the deadly shooting

By ALISSA THOMAS-NEWBORN

LAS VEGAS (JTA) — We just got into our car and drove. Going to Las Vegas after the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history felt like the right thing to do. As Americans and as Jews, we wanted to be a source of support and love in the...
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First Person: Hurricane Harvey the peak of devastating 3-year period of floods

By JACOB KAMARAS

(JNS.org) — As a member of Houston’s Jewish community writing about a devastating flood for the third time since May 2015, I’m at a loss for words. Sitting in the comforts of my third-floor apartment, where I’m fortunate enough to view the unprecedented waters of Hurricane Harvey...
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First Person: I am a rabbi, and my place was in Charlottesville

By Lizz Goldstein

(JTA) — I was in Charlottesville on Saturday. I felt called to go because white supremacy is a hateful ideology that has murdered millions throughout history and continues to kill.

I went because my family and ancestors suffered at the hands of anti-Semites throughout history, because I...
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First Person: The day the Nazi called me Shlomo

By RON KAMPEAS

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (JTA) — The white supremacists, for all their vaunted purpose, appeared to be disoriented.

Some 500 had gathered at a park here Saturday to protest this southern Virginia city’s plans to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from the park. Pressured by the American...
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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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