Thursday, September 16th 2021   |

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For Jews with eating disorders, new traditions aim to make Yom Kippur a safer experience


(JTA) — Shonna Levin is an Orthodox Jew, but she won’t be spending Yom Kippur in a synagogue.

The Brooklyn activist had planned to set up camp in Prospect Park, where she was going to host an all-day gathering for Jews with eating disorders for whom the holiday centered around fasting can be especially difficult.

Levin, who herself has struggled with disordered eating in the past, was...

Prayer written for Yom Kippur asks for ‘Forgiveness’

Forgiveness, written by Aaron Samuels and produced by Reboot in partnership with Hillel International, explores the transitional spiritual space that we enter on Kol Nidre when we move from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur as part of a larger transition from one year to the next.

In this process we reflect upon our shortcomings and enter a period of repair, atonement, and forgiveness. This piece interrogates the...

UPDATE: Area synagogues prepare for a post-Hurricane Ida Yom Kippur

By ALAN SMASON, Exclusive to the CCJN

New Orleans area synagogues are bracing for in-person gatherings again this Yom Kippur, following virtual gatherings of Reform and Conservative congregations and limited Orthodox in-person services for Rosh Hashanah due to the passage of Hurricane Ida and the loss of electric power.

Congregations Anshe Sfard and Beth Israel will be back in business for Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur in-person worship following the...

‘A rising baseline of fear’: How 9/11 changed the way American Jews keep themselves safe


NEW YORK (JTA) — Like many New Yorkers, Dara Horn remembers the weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, unfolding like a surreal nightmare. 

Sitting in her Manhattan apartment, watching the second tower go up in smoke on live TV. Walking down streets plastered with posters bearing the faces of missing people. Crying every day for six months. 

But it was four weeks after 9/11, on the festive Jewish...

20 years ago, the UN Durban Conference aimed to combat racism. It devolved into a ‘festival of hate’ against Jews.


(JTA) — Some of the Jewish organizational officials flying into the coastal city of Durban, South Africa, on the last week of August 2001 were excited. They believed the U.N.’s anti-racism conference there would be an opportunity to exchange notes on a cause that the Jewish world had worked on for decades.

Others, steeped in how the United Nations and its affiliates functioned, were wary of some...

Federation coordinates Dallas kosher food distribution in Metairie

By ALAN SMASON, Exclusive to the CCJN

Jesse Shamka normally works in the kitchen at Kosher Palate supervising the kosher food being cooked at his employer Chaim Goldfarb’s Dallas grocery store, upscale restaurant and full-service catering company.

His duty this Labor Day morning was anything but ordinary.

With a driver navigating the trip from Dallas, Shamka rode in the cab of a huge 24-foot refrigerated truck  fully laden with kosher...

CCJN editor gives personal account of recovery from Hurricane Ida

By ALAN SMASON, Exclusive to the CCJN

The thick blanket of heat and humidity that enveloped my bedroom at night is what made sleep nearly impossible. No matter how one tried to ignore it, the ever present high temperature and high humidity was as unrelenting and persistent as the powerful storm that lashed New Orleans for hours and savagely ravaged the communities of Houma, Laplace and Grand Isle a week...

Hurricane Ida presents challenges which differ from Hurricane Katrina recovery

By ALAN SMASON, Exclusive to the CCJN

Hurricane Ida, one of the strongest storms registered in more than 150 years, came crashing into the Louisiana Gulf Coast on Sunday bringing with it a massive storm surge and incredibly powerful winds that tore roofs off structures and downed trees and power lines across much of Southeast and South Central Louisiana.

Expected to stay on a track northwest of the city, the...

Scattered by Hurricane Ida, the Jews of New Orleans prepare for High Holidays


(JTA) — Once the hospice care workers evacuated and electricity went out in New Orleans, Alan Smason and his sister had to figure out what to do about their mother. 

At 89 and suffering from dementia and a heart condition, she can hardly tolerate the heat of a Louisiana summer without air conditioning. An auxiliary oxygen supply is helping keep her alive. 

That meant her native city...

Hurricane Ida destroys one-time Jewish family’s residence that was Louis Armstrong’s ‘second home’


(JTA) — Hurricane Ida flattened the New Orleans home where a youthful Louis Armstrong spent time with a Jewish immigrant family who mentored him.

CNN reported Monday that the Category 4 storm destroyed the brick structure on South Rampart Street where the Karnofsky family lived and ran a tailor shop at the turn of the 20th century.

Starting at about age 5, Armstrong was friends with the...