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  • Ashkenazi or Sephardi? Dna Unites Jewish Families, but Raises Questions

    Twenty-five families, 22 of them now Jewish, have been identified via DNA testing as descendants of a common paternal ancestor who lived several hundred years ago. The families were connected through Family Tree DNA, a DNA testing company with a large Jewish database. Using DNA in genealogical research is becoming increasingly common, and many people… More ▸

  • After Recent Uproar, It’s Time to Address the Israel-disapora Gap

    By now, the tremor that A.B. Yehoshua set off along the relatively sensitive Israel-Diaspora fault line has subsided. But the aftershocks have exposed a widening rift between the Israeli and American Jewish communities. Earlier this month, at the 100th annual conference of the American Jewish Committee, during a symposium entitled, “The Future of the Past:… More ▸

  • Israel’s Top Rabbinate Rejects Orthodox Conversions As Well

    Earlier this month, an Orthodox couple flew from the United States to Israel to be married in the Jewish state. When they arrived, they discovered they had a problem on their hands. The woman had converted to Judaism, and despite the fact that the converting rabbi in the United States was himself Orthodox, he didn’t… More ▸

  • Right or Wrong, Yehoshua Opened a Pandora’s Box with Diaspora Slur

    When novelist A.B. Yehoshua told an audience of American Jews recently that Jewish life is experienced more completely in Israel than anywhere else, he opened a Pandora’s box of identity politics, with no lid in sight. Though provocative, Yehoshua’s comments are nothing new in the lexicon of Zionist thought, and in fact his approach even… More ▸

  • Travel There Are Few Creature Comforts, but Ethiopia Has Rich Jewish History

    The ferry ride across the river is brief, two or three minutes in a small wooden dinghy with a plastic awning that barely fends off the midday sun. With three foreigners, a rangy pilot and his youthful assistant, our craft is relatively empty — at least, compared to the adjacent boat that perches perilously low… More ▸

  • New Study Ponders Key Question: How to Promote Active Converts?

    Low conversion rates among intermarried Jewish families continue to plague those working to reverse the demographic downtrends in American Jewry. Fewer than one-fifth of gentiles who marry Jews convert to Judaism, according to a new study distributed by the American Jewish Committee. The “Choosing Jewish” report, which interviewed 94 mixed marriage couples and nine Jewish… More ▸

  • Former Netanyahu Aide’s Party Overtakes Likud with Russian Vote

    Avigdor Lieberman, a stern-mannered immigrant from Moldova, has become the new face of the Israeli right. Lieberman’s party, Yisrael Beiteinu, became the fourth-largest party in Israeli politics Tuesday, winning seats in the next Knesset from a strong base of Russian-speaking voters as well as tens of thousands of veteran Israelis. “The party’s values are becoming… More ▸

  • WZO Elections Send a Message on Pluralism — but Who’s Listening?

    America may be thousands of miles from Israel, but some here hope that the results of recent World Zionist Organization elections send a powerful signal to Israeli leaders about American Jewry’s commitment to religious pluralism in Israel. Of the 145 delegates up for grabs in balloting for the U.S. slate to the WZO’s 35th Congress… More ▸