Thursday, September 23rd 2021   |

Jews in the News

3 centuries after excommunication, is it time to lift ban on Spinoza?


AMSTERDAM (JTA) – More than 350 years after this city’s Portuguese Jewish community excommunicated Baruch Spinoza and banned his writings for eternity, the philosopher’s books are for sale at the souvenir shop of the community’s synagogue.

Spinoza, a Dutch-born Jewish philosopher who laid the intellectual foundations of the Enlightenment and is sometimes referred to as history’s first secular Jew, was banished by Amsterdam’s Portuguese Jews in 1656...

Naftali Bennett: Time to annex parts of West Bank


NEW YORK (JTA) – Naftali Bennett, the leader of Israel’s Jewish Home party, has had a few headaches recently.

Earlier this week, one of his party’s Knesset members, Yinon Magal, resigned amid allegations that he sexually assaulted several women who worked for him. Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly rebuked Bennett for apparently telling a group of settler leaders that he shot a proverbial “bullet...

Bernie Sanders, he’s not — he’s Barney Frank


(JTA) — When Barney Frank first ran for a seat in the Massachusetts legislature, he more closely resembled a rumpled guy who slept in his suits than a polished pol. His campaign poster featured a photo of Frank looking typically disheveled. The slogan: “Neatness isn’t everything.”

More recently, he prepared bumper stickers that read “Vote Democratic. We’re not perfect, but they’re nuts.” The “they’re” in this case...

Ivanka Trump is pregnant with her third child


(JTA) — If you can’t get enough Trump, good news: Another one is on the way!

Ivanka Trump, who converted to Judaism in 2009, announced across her social media platforms that she is expecting her third child with husband Jared Kushner, a real estate mogul who owns the New York Observer.

I’m beyond excited to announce that Baby No. 3 will be arriving this Spring!


Campbell Brown’s new education website has made her a lightning rod


(JTA) — “The public school system in this country is broken,” says Campbell Brown, education-reform advocate and former NBC and CNN news anchor.

It’s this sentiment that led Campbell to create The Seventy Four, a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational news site launching Monday. The name refers to the 74 million school-age children in the United States.

In January, New York magazine dubbed Brown “the Most Controversial Woman...

Rabbi quits N.J. pulpit, finds God and community in Montana


WHITEFISH, Mont. (JTA) – Until last year, Rabbi Francine Green Roston was among the Conservative movement’s rising stars.

The first woman in the movement to head a congregation with more than 500 members, Roston, the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth El in South Orange, New Jersey, also published Op-Eds in local newspapers, gave talks at the Jewish Theological Seminary and more than once had a sermon cited...

5 delightfully Jewish things from Dr. Ruth’s New York Mag interview


(JTA) —Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the 87-year-old sex therapist and TV host, has been in the news this week for a controversial statement on sexual consent. However, she’s also been on the interview circuit to promote her new memoir, “The Doctor is In: Dr. Ruth on Love, Life, and Joie de Vivre,” which was published Tuesday. In a New York Magazine interview published on Friday, Westheimer reveals some intriguing facts from her book and her...

Citing the Talmud, Dr. Ruth questions sexual consent requirements. Is her reading correct?


NEW YORK (JTA) — Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the octogenarian therapist and TV host, is famous for her frank and open talk about sex. But she’s being called out for her recent comments about sexual consent — and using the Talmud to back up her controversial point of view.

With her new book, “The Doctor is In: Dr. Ruth on Love, Life, and Joie de Vivre” (Amazon Publishing),...

Meet the L.A. attorney whose successful restitution effort inspired ‘Woman in Gold’


LOS ANGELES (JTA) — When attorney E. Randol (Randy) Schoenberg saw himself portrayed on the big screen by hunky Ryan Reynolds in the movie “Woman in Gold,” he immediately spotted a difference.

“Obviously, I’m not the sexiest man alive,” Schoenberg acknowledged in an interview at his West Los Angeles home, referring to People magazine’s designation of Reynolds in 2010. “I don’t look like Ryan, with a T-shirt...

Transgender teen comes out in emotional ceremony

By Drew Himmelstein

(j. weekly) — In the middle of the school day on March 13, the community at Tehiyah Day School in El Cerrito, Calif., gathered to give a boy his name.

The boy in question was a bit older than is typical in a naming ceremony. Wearing a white button-down shirt, gray slacks and red sneakers — with red and blue patches dyed into the sides of his...