Connect with us


The Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s 10 most-read stories of 2022



(JTA) — From the very beginning of the year, 2022 was anything but easy for American Jews. 

The year began with a harrowing crisis at a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, during which an armed assailant took a rabbi and three of his congregants hostage during Shabbat services.

From there, Jewish communities across the United States weathered book bans that targeted revered Holocaust stories, and more recently, a high-profile spate of antisemitism by one of the world’s biggest pop stars that has inspired antisemitic extremists.

But it wasn’t all bad news. Jews grabbed starring roles in TV and film, on game shows and on TikTok. Through it all, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency tracked each development, from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows — and JTA readers came along for the ride. 

Here are our 10 most-read stories of the year.

10. Meet Danielle Finn, the Modern Orthodox high schooler bringing her voice to ‘American Idol’ by Sarah Rosen (Feb. 25)

Danielle Finn, a 17-year-old young Orthodox Jewish woman from Los Angeles, will be featured in the upcoming season of American Idol. (ABC/Eric McCandless)

Los Angeles teen Danielle Finn competed in this year’s season of the popular TV singing competition show “American Idol.” The 17-year-old wore a chai necklace to her audition, telling JTA, “I feel like I’m making a great representation of the Jewish community.”

9. The great ‘Maus’ giveaway is on as bookstores, professors and churches counter Tennessee school board’s ban by Andrew Lapin (Jan. 28)

Art Spiegelman, author of Maus, poses in Paris, March 20, 2012. (Bertrand Langlois/AFP via Getty Images)

When a rural Tennessee school board pulled the celebrated Holocaust graphic novel “Maus” from the district’s curriculum, backlash was swift.

A local comic-book store gave away the book for free to every student in the county, a nearby church held a discussion on its themes and a college professor offered free classes on the book to students in the county. Author Art Spiegelman even Zoomed with locals.

8. Comedian who went viral after having beer thrown at her makes a very Jewish TV debut on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ by Caleb Guedes-Reed (Oct. 25)

Ariel Elias makes her TV debut on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Oct. 24, 2022. (Screenshot from YouTube)

Jewish comedian Ariel Elias went viral for her response to a heckler who threw a beer can at her during a stand-up set at a New Jersey comedy club. 

Elias’ fame earned her an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” — her television debut — where she performed a very Jewish set. “I’m Jewish and from Kentucky,” she said to applause. “That’s an insane origin story.”

7. Kanye West’s vow to ‘go death con 3’ on Jews and his antisemitism controversy, explained by Philissa Cramer and Ron Kampeas (Oct. 12)

Kanye West attends the Givenchy Spring-Summer 2023 fashion show during the Paris Womenswear Fashion Week, Oct. 2, 2022. (Julien de Rosa/AFP via Getty Images)

Perhaps the biggest Jewish narrative of 2022 kicked off in October, when rapper Kanye West, who also goes by Ye, unleashed a series of antisemitic comments on social media, initiating a cascading series of consequences for one of the world’s largest pop stars.

We explained the scandal, and the many responses and subsequent stories that continue to develop. More on West below.

6. Jon Stewart vs. Hannah Einbinder: Jewish comedians weigh in on Dave Chappelle’s ‘SNL’ monologue by Jackie Hajdenberg (Nov. 17)

Jewish comedians Jon Stewart and Hannah Einbinder had opposite reactions to comedian Dave Chappelle’s monologue on ‘Saturday Night Live.’ (Screentshots via YouTube. Image via Getty. Design by Grace Yagel.)

Scandal begets scandal. In the wake of the Kanye West episode, comedian Dave Chappelle hosted “Saturday Night Live,” joking in his monologue about Jews running Hollywood.

Jewish comedian and “Hacks” star Hannah Einbinder said Chappelle’s monologue was “littered with antisemitism,” while fellow Jewish comedian Jon Stewart defended Chappelle.

5. Our breaking news coverage of the Colleyville, Texas, synagogue hostage crisis by Ron Kampeas and Andrew Lapin (Jan. 15) 

The chair and the teacup from the Colleyville, Texas, synagogue hostage crisis will be entering the American Jewish history museum in Philadelphia. (Images courtesy of Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History and Emil Lippe/Getty Images. Photo illustration by Mollie Suss)

On Saturday, Jan. 15, all eyes were on Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, where a gunman took Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker and three of his congregants hostage during Shabbat services. 

The standoff lasted 12 hours, and all four hostages left unharmed. The assailant was killed. The incident renewed attention to synagogue security, and to questions of how to balance safety and inclusion.

4. Texas school district orders librarians to remove a version of Anne Frank’s diary from shelves by Andrew Lapin (Aug. 16)

“Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation” (Courtesy Anne Frank Fonds)

Less than 10 miles from Colleyville, the school district in Keller, Texas, made headlines last summer when librarians were ordered to remove an illustrated adaptation of “The Diary of Anne Frank” from their shelves and digital libraries.

“It’s disgusting. It’s devastating. It’s legitimate book banning, there’s no way around it,” Laney Hawes, a parent of four children in the Keller district, told JTA. “I feel bad for the teachers and the librarians.”

3. Emma Saltzberg didn’t expect to win on ‘Jeopardy!’ — but criticism of her Israel activism came as no surprise by Philissa Cramer (Feb. 9)

Emma Saltzberg, a Jewish activist from Brooklyn (by way of Philadelphia), won nearly $60,000 on “Jeopardy!” in February 2022. (Screenshot)

From her years of experience in progressive Jewish groups, including IfNotNow, Emma Saltzberg knew that her appearance on one of the most popular TV shows in the United States would likely generate negative comments from those who believe criticizing the occupation is antisemitic.

“That was priced in to my decision to do something public,” she told JTA shortly after winning $60,000. “I was totally expecting it.” What she hadn’t counted on, she said, was her fellow contestants standing up for her. 

2. Michelle Williams, who plays Steven Spielberg’s mother in ‘The Fabelmans,’ says she plans to raise her children Jewish by Philissa Cramer (Nov. 25)

Paul Dano, Steven Spielberg and Michelle Williams attend “The Fabelmans” premiere during the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival, Sept. 10, 2022. (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Actress Michelle Williams isn’t Jewish, but her children will be.

In press coverage of her latest movie, Steven Spielberg’s autobiographical “The Fabelmans,” she said that she and her Jewish husband, director Thomas Kail, are raising their two young children with Judaism and that she is studying the religion herself.

“I can’t teach it to them unless I learn it first,” said Williams, who was raised Christian.

1. The Nazi history of Adidas, the sportswear giant that took weeks to drop Kanye West over antisemitism by Andrew Lapin (Oct. 24)

(Getty Images)

In the fallout over West’s antisemitism, one of the biggest storylines was the rapper’s lucrative relationship with sportswear company Adidas, which itself has a complex history with antisemitism. 

Adidas ultimately severed ties with Ye, after weeks of criticism and pressure. With the company in the spotlight, we took a look at its Nazi history — something Adidas has rarely addressed publicly. 

From all of us at The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, thank you for reading! We look forward to covering the next chapter of the unfolding Jewish story in 2023. As always, feel free to reach out with tips, questions or feedback, and if you value the journalism we produce, please consider supporting us with a tax-deductible donation.

The post The Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s 10 most-read stories of 2022 appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *





Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.

Continue Reading

Local News

Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary



By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”

Raquel Dancho (left), Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St.Paul, and Nikki Spigelman, President, Gwen Secter Centre

Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)

Continue Reading


Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station



This is a developing story.

(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.

An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.

Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.

The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.

The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to  transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.

Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.

The post Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Continue Reading

Copyright © 2017 - 2023 Jewish Post & News