Articles written by Ben Harris
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Rabbi Kushner dies at 88
(JTA) - Rabbi Harold Kushner, one of the most influential congregational rabbis of the 20th century whose works of popular theology reached millions of people outside the synagogue, died on April 28,...
18 noteworthy Jews who died in 2021
(JTA) - Every year brings the deaths of Jewish icons who leave behind outsized legacies, from the realms of art and culture, government, business, philanthropy and beyond. Here are 18 whom we lost in...
These are the Jewish victims of the Surfside building collapse
This article will be updated as more names are identified by authorities in Florida. (JTA) - The Champlain Towers South building collapse is a national tragedy, one that has claimed nearly 20 lives...
Jonathan Sacks dies at 72
(JTA) - Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the former chief rabbi of the United Kingdom whose extensive writings and frequent media appearances commanded a global following among Jews and non-Jews alike, has...
Homemade shofars and 'passive' Zooming: How some British synagogues are adapting this High Holiday season
(JTA) - As night falls on the second night of Rosh Hashanah this year, Rabbi Adam Zagoria-Moffet and two shofar blowers will ascend the 144-foot tower of St. Albans Cathedral, the 11th-century church...
Palestinian counterproposal to Trump peace plan
(JTA) — The Palestinian Authority has submitted a proposal for an independent demilitarized Palestinian state in Gaza, the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem. Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said Tuesday that the P.A. had submitted a proposal to the...
This 107-year-old survived the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and COVID-19
(JTA)-After Marilee Shapiro Asher was admitted to the hospital in mid-April sick with COVID-19, her daughter got a call from the doctor telling her she ought to get down there right away. Her mother l... Full story
Rabbi who recovered contributes to treatment experiment
(JTA)—Among the mysteries of the coronavirus is that some patients suffer and ultimately die from the disease while others experience the symptoms as akin to a mild cold. Rabbi Daniel Nevins is in the latter category. The dean of the rabbinical... Full story
Passover and coronavirus: cancellations mount at kosher resorts
NEW YORK (JTA)-For the past three years, Esther Possick has avoided the hassle of hosting Passover at her Long Island home by traveling to kosher hotels in foreign locales. In 2017, she spent the... Full story
Conservative movement leaders say virtual minyans are permissible during 'crisis situation'
(JTA)—The leaders of the Conservative movement’s Jewish law committee issued a crisis declaration allowing the recitation of the Mourner’s Kaddish with a virtual online prayer quorum. In a statement issued this week, Rabbis Elliot Dorff and... Full story
Thousands of Israelis in the US called home as coronavirus restrictions tighten in their homeland
NEW YORK (JTA)—Purim celebrations at Oakland Hebrew Day School on Tuesday included a surprise, un-festive addition: farewells to two young Israeli women whose work in the Northern California school was being cut short by the global coronavirus... Full story
5 innovative ways Jewish day schools are reducing tuition costs
Ask any parent of Jewish day school students about the biggest challenge they face in providing a solid Jewish education for their kids: Chances are they’ll talk about tuition. At some schools in the New York-New Jersey area, where most U.S. Jewish... Full story
Alumni of these Jewish summer camps are making aliyah in droves
Every Friday, the staff and campers at Camp Ramah Nyack gather for a ceremony called Shishi Al Hamigrash-Hebrew for "Friday on the field." The entire camp community, some 1,100 people in all,... Full story
The Jewish year in review: #MeToo, the embassy move, and a growing gap between Israel and the Diaspora
(JTA)-For North American Jews, the Jewish year 5778 began with tensions between Israel and the Diaspora over egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall and ended with more tension over a controversial... Full story
These Jewish day schools are breaking the mold to teach fluent Hebrew
Teaching students Hebrew is a top priority for the Chicago-area day school Hillel Torah. So to ensure it has a ready supply of native Hebrew speakers on its faculty, the school goes straight to the so... Full story
A Montreal pilgrimage in the footsteps of Leonard Cohen
MONTREAL (JTA)-Just inside the gate of the Shaar Hashomayim synagogue off Boulevard du Mont Royal, a gravestone bears an unusual Star of David, the sharp angles of its two opposing triangles-one... Full story
For student with unique circumstances, new Jewish two-year college program is a godsend
NEW YORK-Yechiel Malik was born and raised an hour's drive from New York City, but until age 10 he spoke only Yiddish. He grew up in an all-Hasidic village in New York's Hudson Valley, and for most... Full story
Winter camping and fighting addiction at America's first Jewish wilderness therapy program
When Jory Hanselman was a high school student, she found herself struggling on multiple fronts. A family member was wrestling with addiction and mental illness. And two friends died suddenly, one... Full story
Zalman Schachter-Shalomi brought old world gravitas to New Age Judaism
(JTA) - Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi was one of the world's most innovative and influential Jewish spiritual leaders. To his followers, he was their Hasidic rebbe. But what other rebbe had dropped... Full story
Philanthropist Taube wants Polish Jewry remembered for life, not death
By Ben Harris NEW YORK (JTA)—When the Museum of the History of the Polish Jews opened its doors to the public recently after years of delays and tens of millions of dollars in spending, it was in... Full story
Deception deals blow to reputation of prominent Orthodox rabbi, Michael Broyde
NEW YORK (JTA)—Until [two weeks ago], Michael Broyde was considered one of the most respected Orthodox rabbis in America. A professor of law at Emory University, the author of dozens of books and articles, and a leading authority on the... Full story