Emmys 2016: The Show’s Most Jewish Moments

09/20/2016 - 12:58

Put enough Jewish talent and Hollywood brass in a room and you’re bound to create some memorable Jewish sound bites — and the 2016 Emmy Awards on Sunday night were no exception to this rule. From a shout-out to New York Jews to a tribute to late Jewish stars, here are the Jewiest moments from TV’s biggest night.

Director Jill Soloway and actor Jeffrey Tambor, who both won Emmy Awards for the series “Transparent,”. JTA

Peeping Rabbi Barry Freundel’s 6 1/2-Year Prison Sentence Upheld

09/19/2016 - 12:43

(JTA) — A federal appeals court upheld the prison sentence of Rabbi Barry Freundel, a once-prominent modern Orthodox rabbi in Washington, D.C., who secretly videotaped women in his synagogue’s mikvah.

Rabbi Barry Freundel exiting the courthouse after entering his guilty plea, Feb. 2015. (Dmitriy Shapiro/Washington Jewish Week)

Bar Mitzvah Boy Raises Money For Parkinson’s — By Hosting International Kids Film Festival

09/15/2016 - 16:50

In third grade, Ryan Levine participated in an after-school workshop on filmmaking — and he’s been hooked ever since.

Ryan Levine shooting a film (Courtesy Lisa Bercu Levine)

Donald Trump Jr. Ripped For ‘Gas Chamber’ Remark

09/16/2016 - 14:30

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Donald Trump Jr. was slammed by Democrats and the Anti-Defamation League for using the term “gas chamber” in a complaint about how the media treats Republicans and his father, the party’s presidential nominee.

Donald Trump Jr. speaking on the second day of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. JTA

Jewish Man Charged With Setting Fire To Orlando Night Club Shooter’s Mosque

Community tips, surveillance footage lead to arrest after cops find arson materials in home of ex-convict Joseph Michael Schreiber.

09/15/2016 - 17:03
Editorial Intern

A 32-year-old Jewish man is facing arson and hate crime charges after being accused of setting fire to the mosque of Omar Mateen, the Orlando nightclub shooter, ABC News reports.

Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Wilfredo Ruiz in front of the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce after the blaze. Getty Images

Obama’s $38B Aid Package To Israel Comes With Caveats: It’s Generous, But On His Terms

09/15/2016 - 11:35

WASHINGTON (JTA) – President Barack Obama’s near parting gift to Israel, a guarantee of $38 billion in defense assistance over a decade, distills into a single document what he’s been saying throughout eight fraught years: I have your back, but on my terms.

The agreement signed Wednesday in the State Department’s Treaty Room here increases assistance for Israel over the prior Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2007 under the George W. Bush administration and guaranteeing Israel $31 billion over 10 years.

But it also substantially shrinks the role Congress plays in a critical forum shaping U.S.-Israel relations, defense assistance, and in so doing diminishes the influence of the mainstream pro-Israel community, a sector that at times has been an irritant to Obama.

Wrapped into the $38 billion memorandum is $5 billion in missile defense funding, with clauses placing tough restrictions on Israel’s ability to ask for supplements from Congress.

Under Obama and Bush, that’s been an arena where the pro-Israel lobby has flexed its muscle over the last decade or so, consistently asking Congress for multiples of the missile defense appropriations requested by each president – and getting it.

“The MOU as it’s constructed seems to obviate the need for Congress’ traditional role in recent years,” said Jonathan Schanzer, the vice president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “What this means is that the relationship between Congress and Israel will have to evolve. Members of Congress feel they are being pushed out of a role that they relish.”

Democrats in Congress praised the deal unequivocally, but Republicans had caveats.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., the chairwoman of the U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee for the Middle East, led passage of a congressional resolution urging an extension of the defense assistance – coincidentally, just hours after the sides announced a deal was in the offing on Monday. Ros-Lehtinen said she intended to subject the agreement to congressional scrutiny.

“It is important for Congress to conduct its oversight authority and examine the MOU closely in order to ensure that this agreement is mutually beneficial and meets the needs of both the U.S. and Israel,” she said in a statement.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee dispensing foreign aid, was infuriated by the arrangement.

“We can’t have the executive branch dictating what the legislative branch will do for a decade based on an agreement we are not a party to,” he told The Washington Post this week, and pledged to push more funds for Israel through Congress.

Jacob Nagel, the acting Israeli national security adviser who led talks ahead of the agreement, told reporters on Wednesday, before the formal signing, that the Israelis had asked Graham to back off.

“Senator Graham is one of the greatest supporters of Israel in Congress,” he said. “But everyone who spoke with him” on Israel’s team in the talks “said it was not a good idea – Israel is a country that honors its agreements.”

Jacob Nagel, left, Israel’s acting national security adviser, signing a Memorandum of Understanding for $38 billion. JTA

WATCH: Jewish Pol Takes On NRA By Putting Together M-16 While Blindfolded

Jason Kander challenges Republican incumbent Roy Blunt to do the same in new campaign ad.

09/15/2016 - 10:55
Editorial Intern

A new ad by Democratic Senatorial candidate Jason Kander is making waves on the internet. Kander, a second lieutenant in the US Army Reserves who served in Afghanistan, is running for the U.S. Senate for the state of Missouri. In the ad, he can be seen putting together an M-16 assault rifle while blindfolded. The spot is designed to highlight the military background of Kander, a Kansas-born Jew, against attacks on 2nd Amendment issues by his GOP rival, incumbent Senator Roy Blunt.

Watch the ad here:

Jason Kander, the Democratic candidate in the upcoming Missouri Senate contest. via

The Alt-Right Meets The Media

And, not surprisingly, the Jewish question comes up.

09/13/2016 - 17:06

Washington — This was the unveiling of the alt-right, this was its moment, its confident stride onto the national stage, and there was unity — until there was internal dissent, until there was pronounced disagreement, until there was almost — almost — a voice raised against one’s white European kith and kin.

Jared Taylor, the editor of American Renaissance, addressing a news conference on the alt-right last week in Washington, D.C.

Ivanka Trump Commits Major Social Media Blunder

A recent Instagram post attributed a famous Hillel quote to actress, Emma Watson. Woops.

09/13/2016 - 15:15
Editorial Intern

It seems Ivanka Trump has her father’s knack for stirring up a social media frenzy – and her stepmother’s knack for misattribution.

A screenshot of the Instagram post. JTA

Israeli Security Chief In DC Reportedly To Sign $38B Defense Assistance Pact

09/13/2016 - 14:46

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s acting head of national security is in Washington, D.C., reportedly to sign a deal extending U.S. defense assistance to Israel for 10 years.

President Obama, right, shaking hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office, Nov. 9, 2015. JTA
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