First Person

The Netherlands is OK with citizens being exposed to the coronavirus. That’s terrifying to me and nearby Jewish communities.


After a couple of hours, we nearly forgot that most of our friends and family across Europe, in Israel and beyond are under varying degrees of house arrest due to emergency government measures against the coronavirus.

That’s because Holland has taken a different approach.

Prime Minister Mark...
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90,000 Orthodox Jews celebrated the Talmud on New Year’s Day. So did these 350 secular teens.


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (JTA) — I have never been to a football game. But on Wednesday, I entered MetLife Stadium, home of the NFL’s New York Jets and Giants, with over 350 teenagers. 

My group joined as a part of Yarchei Kallah, the weeklong Torah learning program...
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Anne Frank’s childhood friend tells the story of the German official who saved her family


(JTA) — At age 92, Laureen Nussbaum is one of the few people still alive who personally knew Anne Frank.

Nussbaum’s family lived in the same Amsterdam neighborhood as the Franks, and Anne’s father, Otto, was the best man at her 1947 wedding. After the war, Otto...
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I spoke to the creators of Belgium’s anti-Semitic carnival float. They’re not sorry.


(JTA) — I initially had some sympathy for the creators of an anti-Semitic carnival float in Belgium. Studying their CVs and past creations for the annual carnival of Aalst, I saw that they were a group of some 20 upstanding citizens — a fireman, a technician, an...
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When an old synagogue downsizes, what do you do with all its stuff?

ERIE, PA. (JTA) — There was some debate about putting the old synagogue building up for sale and moving to a new, smaller building, but not much. When a major pipe burst at Temple Anshe Hesed in 2012, the cost of repairing the nearly century-old building convinced the small but...
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First Person: What a liberal rabbi learned at the Trump Chanukah party


DES MOINES, Iowa (JTA) — A Jewish woman walks into the post office to buy Chanukah stamps for her holiday cards.

The person behind the counter asks, “What denominations?”

The Jewish woman responds, “Oy! Are we so polarized? Some Orthodox, some Conservative and some Reform.”

Yes, we...
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I was just accused of being an Israeli spy in the Dutch parliament


AMSTERDAM (JTA) — This week, only six months after I became a Dutch citizen, my wife congratulated me for being mentioned in parliament for my reporting on the Netherlands’ relations with Israel.

Flattered, I looked it up, expecting to find praise for my work. I was already...
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FIRST PERSON: Why I traveled to Las Vegas to help after the deadly shooting


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


( — 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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