Wednesday, October 20th 2021   |

Jews in the News

Devorah Halberstam’s path from bereaved mother to counterterrorism authority

By UtRIEL HEILMAN

NEW YORK (JTA) – When a 16-year-old Lubavitcher named Ari Halberstam was gunned down on the Brooklyn Bridge on March 1, 1994 by a Lebanese livery cab driver, the killing seemed to be a cut-and-dried case.

The shooter, Rashid Baz, was captured the following day and confessed to police. After a trial several months later, he was sentenced to 141 years in prison.

But a murder conviction...

Beatles’ Jewish manager remembered 50 years after American debut

By ROBERT GLUCK

(JNS.org) — Amid the celebrations and hoopla surrounding the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ arrival in America and their appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” the man Paul McCartney called “the fifth Beatle” is not often mentioned. But experts say that without him, the Beatles as we know them would not have existed.

That man is Brian Epstein, the band’s Jewish manager, who died of an accidental...

At Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda, Anne Heyman’s legacy lives on

By BEN SALES

AGAHOZO-SHALOM YOUTH VILLAGE, Rwanda (JTA) – Anne Heyman’s death during a horse-riding competition in Palm Beach, Fla., on Jan. 31 shocked and devastated many in the Jewish world.

But it was Heyman’s work in Rwanda that so many of her admirers will remember most.

A former assistant district attorney in Manhattan who made a career shift to philanthropy around the time she began having children, Heyman learned...

Lifting the veil on the science of counting Jews

By URIEL HEILMAN

MIAMI (JTA) — Fueled by KitKats and Cherry Coke, some two dozen people sit hunched over stacks of questionnaires in a windowless conference room in Miami, a phalanx of 1980s-era push-button telephones in front of them.

It’s the first day of work on a new survey of Miami Jews, and operators are having a hard time finding cooperative respondents.

“To you personally, is being Jewish, 1, mainly...

For lone socialist in Congress, pet issue finds the spotlight

By RON KAMPEAS

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont and the only self-described socialist in Congress, has long been an outspoken voice in Washington on issues of economic inequality. But with the vanishing middle class figuring prominently in the campaign for mayor of the country’s largest city, and President Obama last month calling the gap between rich and poor “the defining issue of our time,” Sanders’...

Is food writer Mark Bittman going kosher?

By URIEL HEILMAN

NEW YORK (JTA) — Mark Bittman is not a religious man by any stretch of the imagination, least of all his own.

A longtime food writer for The New York Times who three years ago shifted from cooking to food policy columnist, Bittman has made a living eating the kinds of things frowned upon by Jewish tradition.

As he told me recently, “Pork cooked in milk is...

Meet the Israeli bureaucrat who decides who can marry in the Jewish state

By BEN SALES

JERUSALEM (JTA) — To be married in Israel, immigrants must prove their Jewish ancestry to the country’s Chief Rabbinate.

Couples can solicit a letter from their hometown rabbis or present their parents’ Jewish marriage contracts. Sometimes they even bring a Yiddish-speaking grandmother before a rabbinical court.

In the end, every claim has to pass through one man: a mid-level bureaucrat named Itamar Tubul.

Tubul, 35, is the...

Likud’s Moshe Feiglin: Cool on Palestinians, hot for pot

By BEN SALES

TEL AVIV (JTA) — On the bustling bourgeoisie avenue of Ibn Gvirol, beneath a portico and next to a high-end hair salon, it smells like college.

Aside from a small green sign, the clinic is unidentifiable, its one window blocked with a sheet and covered with chains. A single metal door is guarded by a man with a large knit yarmulke, ritual fringes and a holster hanging...

Steadfast opposition to public prayer took small-town litigant to Supreme Court

By RON KAMPEAS

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The need for a firm barrier between church and state is as clear now for Susan Galloway as it was in grade school, when she was expected to sing carols at the Christmas show.

Galloway grew up in McHenry, Ill., a town northwest of Chicago with few other Jews, and the carols sung in school made ample mention of Jesus. Galloway refused to take...

Yellen’s rise to Fed chief gains more attention for gender than faith

By RON KAMPEAS

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Janet Yellen is soft-spoken, tough, methodological, flexible — and Jewish.

President Obama’s announcement last week that he had tapped Yellen, 67, to succeed Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve made news in part because she would be the first woman in the top spot.

That very little was made of her Jewishness likely derives mostly from the fact that she would be...