Thursday, September 23rd 2021   |

Jews in the News

A journal’s new editor wants to steer the Modern Orthodox debate into the 21st century

By SAM SOKOL

JERUSALEM (JTA) — American Modern Orthodoxy is in many ways an ongoing argument between Jewish tradition and modernity. Leaders and followers prefer to call it a balancing act, involving everything from how to read the Bible to agreeing on the borders of a Jewish state to whether to ordain female clergy.

That argument, or balancing act, has taken place for six decades in the quarterly journal of...

Al Franken learned about justice from his childhood rabbi

By CURT SCHLEIER

(JTA) — In February 2015, Sen. Jim Inhofe carried a snowball on to the floor of the Senate to prove global warming did not exist.

Everyone knows “it is very, very cold outside,” the Oklahoma Republican said. “Unseasonable.”

That, said Al Franken, gave him an idea.

“I thought about coming into the chamber with a snowball and just packing it very tight the way we do in...

Meet Miss Israel 2017, a social media savvy beauty queen

By ANDREW TOBIN

TEL AVIV (JTA) — To become the Jewish state’s reigning beauty queen, Rotem Rabi first had to conquer the internet.

The 21-year-old Jerusalem-based model recently won the coveted Miss Israel crown and sash with the help of an army of online supporters.

“I want to thank all of you for the kindness and support I received from you,” Rabi wrote Wednesday on Facebook and Instagram. “Appreciate it and love...

Billy Crystal on being Jewish, playing ball and more

By CINDY SHER

(JUF News via JTA) — The inimitable Billy Crystal is back on the road. The six-time Emmy Award-winning comedian, actor, producer, director and writer — most recently of a book of essays, “Still Foolin’ ‘Em: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys” —  is currently touring the U.S. with his new show, “Spend the Night with Billy Crystal.”

The show, scheduled to...

Matchmaking Jewish father postpones interviews of prospective brides for son

(JTA) — The Jewish father who took out a full-page ad in an Idaho newspaper seeking a wife for his 48-year-old son has postponed the interviews with prospective brides he scheduled at an Idaho resort.

Arthur Brooks, 78, of Beverly Hills, California, decided to delay his interviews of potential wives for his son, Baron, at the Coeur d’Alene Resort over the weekend after the resort “got a little scared about...

Who is Donald Trump’s Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner?

By URIEL HEILMAN

NEW YORK (JTA) – Jared Kushner has many claims to fame.

He’s married to Ivanka Trump, daughter of the Republican presidential front-runner. He’s the scion of a philanthropy-minded Jewish family from New Jersey that is one of the biggest names in New York real estate. He’s the owner and publisher of a storied weekly, the New York Observer.

But Kushner’s celebrity may be taking a quantum leap now...

Guinness confirms candy-making Holocaust survivor is world’s oldest man

(JTA) — It’s official: Yisrael Kristal, a 112-year-old Holocaust survivor and Israeli citizen, is the world’s oldest living man.

Guinness World Records confirmed Yisrael Kristal’s status on its website last Friday.

In January, JTA and other media reported that Kristal, who survived Auschwitz and the Lodz Ghetto, was likely the world’s oldest man, but that it would not be made official until he presented documents from the first 20 years...

Orthodox billionaire Hershey Friedman: Why I bought scandal-plagued kosher meat giant Agriprocessers

By URIEL HEILMAN

NEW YORK (JTA) – When Orthodox Jewish billionaire Hershey Friedman bought America’s largest kosher meat company, Agriprocessors, out of bankruptcy in 2009, it was the Canadian packaging magnate’s first foray into the meat business.

Getting things in order was no easy task.

The year before, federal authorities carried out the largest-ever U.S. workplace raid at Agriprocessors’ plant in Postville, Iowa, arresting some 400 illegal workers. Long a target...

Bernie Sanders’ Jewishness a non-issue for Iowa voters

By JOSH TAPPER

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (JTA) — On a frigid night in what has been an unusually cold winter here, Bernie Sanders packed more than 1,200 people into the resplendent Orpheum Theatre, a nearly 90-year-old venue in this western Iowa outpost across the Missouri River from Nebraska.

After taking the stage late Tuesday night, the independent Vermont senator vying for the Democratic presidential nomination launched into a nearly 30-minute...

Rabbi Lila Kagedan poised to make history with job at Orthodox shul

By URIEL HEILMAN

NEW YORK (JTA) – When Rabbi Lila Kagedan spends her first Shabbat at the Mount Freedom Jewish Center in Randolph, New Jersey, later this month, she will be making history.

A recent graduate of Yeshivat Maharat, Kagedan, 35, is the first person ordained at the Orthodox women’s clergy training institute in New York to adopt the title of rabbi and land a job at an Orthodox synagogue....