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Uriel Heilman Twitter RSS

is JTA's senior writer and former managing editor. Follow him on Twitter at @urielheilman.

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  • HotMat, new Shabbat hotplate, offers design and safety appeal

    NEW YORK (JTA) — First there was KosherLamp, the bedside light that could be turned on and off on the Sabbath. Then came KosherSwitch, the controversial toggle that allows users to control lights and other electronic appliances on Shabbat. Now there’s HotMat, a new foldable hotplate designed to give observant Jewish consumers a safe, portable and…

  • Meet the ‘Jewish Batman’ who saved the KKK from an Anaheim mob

    (JTA) – Is Brian Levin a hero? It depends who you ask. For three long minutes on Saturday, Levin was all that stood between an angry, violent mob and some Ku Klux Klan demonstrators in Anaheim, California, in Levin’s retelling of the episode. A former New York Police Department officer who is now director of…

  • With 75% 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 discuss a passage about humility by former British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. Then a blond girl with braided hair prepares to…

  • Ramah camps a bright spot for Conservative movement, but 9 of 10 kids don’t go

    WINGDALE, N.Y. (JTA) – The sky is clearing after a damp morning at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires, and kids are emerging from their cluttered bunks. An impromptu Frisbee game breaks out on the lawn, while down by the lake a counselor prepares the water trampoline and surf kayaks. On the other side of the 200-acre…

  • Brian Hendler, longtime JTA photographer, dies

    (JTA) — Award-winning photographer Brian Hendler, who served for many years as JTA’s staff photographer in Israel, has died. Hendler, a South African immigrant to Jerusalem, died suddenly on Wednesday at 63, according to The Jerusalem Post, one of the many news outlets for which Hendler worked. The report did not offer any information on…

  • For Jewish Mormons, hybrid identity seen as no contradiction

    SALT LAKE CITY (JTA) – Phyllis Miller’s experience growing up in Southern California wasn’t much different from that of many American Jews. The product of an intermarriage — her mother wasn’t Jewish but later converted — Miller’s family attended synagogue occasionally, kept the kids home from school on the High Holidays and ate matzah on Passover….

  • A Jewish skier’s picks: Prayer, kosher food and divine snow

    Jewish skiers now can find American mountains that serve kosher food, offer daily prayers and let you ski into a Kabbalat Shabbat service. Based on this reporter’s legwork, here are some destinations that Jews should consider checking out — even if just for the divine snow. Whenever possible: Ski Utah. Park City: After Vail Resorts bought Park City Mountain Resort and linked…

  • At kosher ski restaurant in Park City, an avalanche of challenges

    PARK CITY, Utah (JTA) – Laurent Masliah likes wine as much as the next Frenchman. But that’s not why he bought up every last bottle of kosher wine in the state of Utah and is desperately angling for more. Masliah is the general manager of Prime at Canyons, the nation’s only kosher slope-side restaurant. It’s located…

  • At Utah’s on-slope Shabbat service, ski boots required

    PARK CITY, Utah (JTA) – It may be the most elevated Shabbat service in the country, and not just because of the spirited singing. Held in a rustic cabin in the woods off a ski slope at Deer Valley resort, the service is situated at about 8,800 feet above sea level, and it’s the nation’s…

  • Israeli mikvahs must allow non-Orthodox conversions, Supreme Court rules

    (JTA) – In a landmark decision, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that mikvahs in the country must open up to non-Orthodox conversion rites. Until now, Israeli mikvahs have denied access for conversion immersions to Reform and Conservative converts. Israel’s mikvahs are run by Israel’s Religious Services Ministry, which operates in lock-step with the Orthodox-dominated Israeli Rabbinate….