JTA 5773: Shofar so good

U.S. Olympic gymnast and gold medalist Aly Raisman lighting the torch during the opening ceremony of the 19th Maccabiah Games at Jerusalem's Teddy Stadium, July 19, 2013. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90/JTA)

U.S. Olympic gymnast and gold medalist Aly Raisman lighting the torch during the opening ceremony of the 19th Maccabiah Games at Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium, July 19, 2013. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90/JTA)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Here’s a list of folks who had plenty of people shepping nachos this past year:


Yityish Aynaw became the first black winner of the Miss Israel competition entitling her to compete for the title of Miss World in September in Indonesia. Aynaw, who came with her family from Ethiopia at age 12, cited Martin Luther King, Jr. as one of her heroes.

Jack Antonoff, a Solomon Schechter graduate, won two Grammy Awards. Lena Dunham, who gave us a riff on Camp Ramah in “Girls,” took home two Golden Globes. And they’re an item.

It’s official: Maria Chudnovsky is a genius.

Drake, we always loved you. But it’s nice to have the Grammy too.

Rachel Kohl Finegold, Ruth Balinsky Friedman, and Abby Brown Scheier sparked headlines in May, becoming the first graduates of Yeshivat Maharat. While the decision to ordain women as spiritual and halachic authorities is still generating a great deal of controversy and criticism, it also underscored the gains that women scholars are making in many parts of the Orthodox world.

As far as we can tell, in the storied history of kosher diner owners, brothers Ken and Daniel Hechtman are the only ones to have saved several people from a fiery wreck.

Aly Raisman had us with Hava Nagila and her gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics. But she took our devotion to new heights with her agreeing to light the torch at this summer’s Maccabiah Games.

What would this list be without new additions to the list of Jewish Nobel laureates — welcome to the club Serge Haroche, Robert Lefkowitz and Alvin Roth.

Many of the 70% of American Jews who voted for President Obama would have experienced a meltdown long before Election Day without Nate Silver’s unwavering insistence that the incumbent had it in the bag. In the end, the numbers-crunching guru ran the table, accurately predicting the winner in all 50 states — and scoring a victory for math over political spin, blow-hard punditry and partisan wishful thinking.

In an era when paranoia and conspiracy theories often hold sway in the anti-Obama camp, Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens offered up a refreshingly coherent and rational critique of the administration’s policies. The former Jerusalem Post editor was rewarded with a Pulitzer Prize for his efforts.

Ami Eden is JTA’s CEO and editor in chief, responsible for overseeing all aspects of the agency’s operations, including editorial, business, marketing and fundraising. Before joining JTA in the summer of 2007, he served as executive editor of the Forward newspaper and the founding editor of the Jewish Daily Forward Web site. He also worked as an editor of the Jewish Exponent in Philadelphia.