Articles written by Uriel Heilman

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 By Uriel Heilman    News    May 15, 2020

How the coronavirus is hitting Jewish communities worldwide

(JTA)—The impact of the coronavirus on the Jewish world is a study in contrasts. In Israel, where the total death toll as of Tuesday was 238 and the number of new daily infections below 50, the country has significantly eased its lockdown. School h...


Welcome to Mount Hermon, Israel's only ski mountain-it shuts down when it snows

MOUNT HERMON, Israel (JTA)-Standing on a peak atop Israel's highest mountain on a dazzlingly bright February morning, I had just stepped into my skis and begun to descend when I heard someone yelling... Full story

 By Uriel Heilman    News    March 13, 2020

My family is among the 80,000 Israelis in quarantine

MODIIN, Israel (JTA)—When our seventh day of quarantine began with a knock on the door from a guy in a hazmat suit, it was almost a relief finally to have a visitor in the house. He had come to test my wife and me for coronavirus. My four children e... Full story


Shmura matzah for Passover: The real reason it's so expensive

NEW YORK (JTA)-It costs more per pound than filet mignon. It might be burnt or taste like cardboard. It's so delicate it often breaks in the box, rendering it unfit for Passover ritual use. Yet every... Full story


The time Israeli security strip-searched me at their embassy in Jordan

(JTA)-"Drop your pants" The order came curt and clipped, and it caught me by surprise. What?! "Drop your pants," he repeated sternly. I had been subject to the indignities of Israeli security before,... Full story

 By Uriel Heilman    News    June 10, 2016

Donald Trump's anti-Semitism controversies: A timeline

NEW YORK (JTA)-Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is facing growing accusations that his campaign is countenancing anti-Semitism-if not encouraging it outright. Trump's foreign... Full story

 By Uriel Heilman    News    June 10, 2016

Israel takes anti-boycott fight to halls of United Nations

UNITED NATIONS (JTA)—It was an incongruous sight: The U.N. General Assembly hall filled to capacity with 1,500 cheering people waving miniature Israeli flags and singing “Hatikvah,” Israel’s national anthem. No, hell hadn’t frozen over. The occas... Full story

 By Uriel Heilman    Features    May 27, 2016

Beating health scares, Jonathan Sarna seals status as rock star Jewish historian

WALTHAM, Mass. (JTA)-When Jonathan Sarna was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 1999 at the age of 44, it changed his life. Already a highly regarded historian at Brandeis University, Sarna was in... Full story

 By Uriel Heilman    Features    May 13, 2016

Great Adventure: How an amusement park goes Orthodox for Passover

JACKSON, N.J. (JTA)-Pinchas Cohen spent most of Monday wandering around Six Flags Great Adventure under a blazing sun, wearing a knee-length black coat and carrying a big box of shmura matzah under hi... Full story

 By Uriel Heilman    News    March 25, 2016

The Jewish life of Merrick Garland

(JTA)-Americans have heard a lot about Merrick Garland since President Barack Obama nominated him to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court. But there's a lot we still don't know. What are his... Full story


Understanding the American Jews who support Trump

NEW YORK (JTA)—America’s political system is broken, and the last thing the country needs is another career politician at the helm. With money more than ever a corrupting influence in politics, the White House should be occupied by someone who isn... Full story


These may be America's proudest Shabbos goys

NEW YORK (JTA)-For Samir Patel, the term "goy" is no slur. It's a point of pride. Patel is a manager of Suhag Wine & Liquors, a family-owned business in the heavily Orthodox neighborhood of Kew... Full story


Schmear campaign: Baking a perfect bagel in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY (JTA)-When Robb Abrams first moved to this mountain city from the New York area six years ago, he loved the idea of living in an outdoorsman's paradise. But there was one thing in parti... Full story


With 75 percent non-Jewish students, Utah's Jewish school seeks to universalize Judaism

SALT LAKE CITY (JTA)-It's Friday afternoon at the McGillis School in Salt Lake City, and students from the third through fifth grades are gathered for the weekly Shabbat celebration. They read and... Full story


NH Jews like Sanders' authenticity, but voting all over the map

MANCHESTER, N.H. (JTA)-Michael Harris probably isn't your typical New Hampshire Republican. A 71-year-old from Hollis and president of his synagogue in nearby Nashua, Harris isn't sure who he would... Full story

 By Uriel Heilman    News    January 1, 2016

Barry Freundel's former DC synagogue trying to move past mikvah trauma

WASHINGTON (JTA)—Though it’s been more than a year since Rabbi Barry Freundel was hauled away in handcuffs for installing secret cameras at his synagogue’s mikvah, his crime still casts a shadow over his longtime Orthodox congregation, Kesher Israe... Full story


Five questions to ask after San Bernardino

(JTA)-Since the mass shooting in the California city of San Bernardino, U.S. authorities have been piecing together what might have led Syed Farook and his wife, Tafsheen Malik, to gun down 14 of Faro... Full story


More men making monthly mikvah dunks as menstrual rite

NEW YORK (JTA)—Mikvah night has an unusual meaning in the Ozur Bass household. As for many observant Jewish women, it’s the night each month that Janet Ozur Bass immerses in the mikvah ritual bath following menstruation. Once she emerges from the... Full story


Teaming up, Welch's and Manischewitz challenge kosher grape juice monopoly

SECAUCUS, N.J. (JTA)-Welch's is coming to seder this year. For decades, America's kosher grape juice market has been dominated by Kedem, whose sweet libations come in concord, blush, white, peach,... Full story


What Americans had to say about Jewish war refugees

NEW YORK (JTA)-They were called "so-called" refugees, told they were alien to American culture and warned against as potential enemies of the United States. This heated anti-refugee rhetoric in... Full story


What do Jewish federations actually do?

NEW YORK (JTA)—Some 3,000 Jews gathered in Washington Nov. 8-10 for the annual General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America. If you’re a little fuzzy on what Jewish federations are and what they do, you’re not alone. Here’s a primer.... Full story


At Reform biennial, focus on social justice and tradition

ORLANDO (JTA)-Growing up in a traditional Jewish household, Joan Cubell didn't really know much about Reform Judaism. But after obtaining ordination a few years ago from a little-known rabbinical... Full story

 By Uriel Heilman    News    October 16, 2015

What Syria's refugees think about Israel might surprise you

BERLIN (JTA)—Israel’s government is in cahoots with Syrian President Bashar Assad. America wants to keep the Syrian civil war going for as long as possible. Russia is outmaneuvering the United States on the global stage. Those are some of the vie... Full story


Looking back at 5775

NEW YORK (JTA)-As 5775 winds to a close, here's a look back on the highs and lows (and everything in between) of the year that was. September 2014 At the annual U.N. General Assembly, President... Full story

 By Uriel Heilman    News    August 21, 2015

When it comes to Jewish ties, no GOP candidate trumps Trump

NEW YORK (JTA)-Among the expansive field of 2016 Republican presidential candidates on display in the party's first debates, Donald Trump may be the most closely connected to the Jewish people. Trump... Full story


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