Two Palestinian prisoners whose hunger strike stoked clashes in the West Bank have ended their protest after Israel agreed to release them in May, a Palestinian official said on Wednesday.
Monday’s 57th Presidential Inauguration officially sent off Barack Obama into a second term as America’s 44th President and the country’s first African American commander-in-chief. After being formally sworn in Sunday at the White House, Obama gave his inaugural address to about one million people Monday, according to a recent White House estimate. This day also coincided with Martin Luther King Day.
After graduating from a Modern Orthodox high school in New York, 30-year-old author Yoseph Needelman moved to Jerusalem to explore the use of marijuana in Jewish tradition.
Republicans and Democrats may not have much common ground this election year, yet their national conventions shared one feature: Both gatherings were blessed from the podium by prominent American rabbis.
Witwatersrand University in South Africa has distanced itself from a student association decision to boycott Israel.
Falling between the giving season of Chanukah and the getting season of tax refunds, Purim time finds households like mine searching for ways to keep holiday expenses down to earth without losing the mirth.
The chairman of the main settler organization visited the tent city in Tel Aviv to express solidarity.
The activists aboard the lone Gaza-bound flotilla ship intercepted by Israel were deported.
Palestinians favor negotiations and nonviolent means but still do not accept Israel's legitimacy, a poll showed.
Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski asked for forgiveness at a ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the Jedwabne massacre.
The "Quartet" of entities guiding the Israeli-Arab peace processes is meeting next week amid signs that the Obama administration is pressing the Israelis and Palestinians back to peace talks.
Aviv Russ stands behind a console with his headphones on and speaks into a large microphone. “We’re here: 'Kol Berlin,' the German-Israeli radio program. Shabbat shalom!” says Russ, 34, an Israeli expatriate.
Rabbi Sergio Bergman, already one of Buenos Aires’ most prominent spiritual leaders, has become one of the Argentine capital’s most highly visible political candidates. Bergman was tapped by the city’s incumbent mayor, Mauricio Macri, to lead his PRO party’s list for the municipal legislature. As the top candidate on the center-right party's slate, the rabbi is virtually assured of securing a spot in the city legislature in the July 10 municipal elections.
AIPAC Executive Director Howard Kohr said Monday that U.S. President Barack Obama should not take an even-handed approach to the Middle East conflict, as it puts Israel at a disadvantage.
This coming weekend, there will be two major events in the Jewish world, each representing a unique perspective on Israel and Judaism.
President Obama’s advisers have said time and again that the major speech he is to deliver Thursday will not be about Israel, but about the Middle East. Jewish groups must wait until Friday, when Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Sunday, when the president addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, for the president's message for Israel, the advisers said.
The best thing about last week’s conviction in Germany of Sobibor guard John Demjanjuk is that the case works from the bottom up. The low-level functionary was brought to justice.
Popular filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen said during a visit to Israel that they do not agree with artists who boycott the Jewish state. Asked during a news conference about music and film artists who boycott Israel over its policies regarding the Palestinians, Ethan Coen said it was a mistake.
DNA evidence has proven with 99.9 percent confidence that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is dead, two officials in U.S. President Barack Obama's administration said Monday.
At the Republican Jewish Coalition's winter leadership retreat here, it was the absence of certain likely candidates for president that had the crowd most excited. While names like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann generate enthusiasm at some other conservative gatherings, their absence over the weekend here had the Jewish crowd giddy that ahead of the 2012 race, the Republican Party may be retreating from the divisive hyper-conservatives that have frustrated Jewish attraction to the party in recent years.
I was made by my mom and a donor. A donor is someone who will give up something they have, specifically medical, for someone else who needs it; in this case, my mom needed sperm to make me. Canterbury Elementary was my school, and that was the place where it all started. In the first couple of years of my life, I thought I was either adopted or something much more complicated and hard to think about. In the end, I was right about the complicated part when I found out. My friends always thought that I was lucky to have two moms, but they were never right. My friends used to make up stories that I was an abandoned princess or an orphan, but they were wrong.
Jewish tradition instructs that young children should begin their Jewish education by studying the book of Leviticus. Even a cursory reading of the blood and gore that make up the sacrificial rites described in the third book of the Torah would lead most teachers to conclude that these verses would likely be the beginning of the end for a child’s Jewish education.
Al Jazeera television said Libyan rebels rejected an offer by Muammar Gadhafi on Monday to hold a parliament meeting to work out a deal under which he would step down. Al Jazeera said sources from the rebel interim council told its correspondent in Benghazi that the offer was rejected because it would have amounted to an "honorable" exit for Gadhafi and would offend his victims.
Iran is protesting the logo for the 2012 Olympic Games, saying it spells the word "Zion." Mohammad Aliabadi, head of Iran's National Olympic Committee, accused the British Olympic organizers of "racism" in a letter to International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge, the Iranian ILNA news agency reported, according to news agencies.
An Orthodox Jewish plaintiff in a medical malpractice trial will be allowed a retrial after he missed part of the trial for a religious holiday. The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 24 that by not rescheduling the court date so that Alexander Neustadter could appear, his opponent went unchallenged, prejudicing the trial.
In 1939, sailing from Hamburg, Germany, 938 refugee Jews boarded the St. Louis to flee the Third Reich. They were destined for Cuba. We all know the end of this story. Anti-Semitism and xenophobia prevailed in Cuba; efforts were made for the St. Louis to divert to the United States, but the same exclusionary forces prevailed here. Americans and Cubans alike feared that the Jews would steal jobs and that relaxed immigration policies and quotas would hurt economic recovery; politicians were persuaded that these Jews would somehow bring down, or perhaps sully, society. In that instance alone, 938 Jews were sent back to Europe, most to face extermination in the Holocaust. It is commonly accepted that it is the story of the St. Louis and others like it that helped secure the world’s support to establish the state of Israel at the conclusion of World War II.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has split from the Labor Party, which he serves as chairman, and will form a new party. Four other Labor lawmakers joined Barak on Monday: Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon; Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai; Deputy Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Orit Noked; and freshman Knesset member Einat Wilf. The new party is expected to be called Atzmaut, or Independence.
A controversial ban on kosher slaughter by New Zealand's agriculture minister has been partially reversed amid allegations that his decision was taken to appease Muslim countries that have lucrative trade relations with New Zealand. The reversal marked only a partial victory for the Jewish community: While the ban on kosher slaughter of poultry was suspended and a deal on kosher lamb is still being negotiated, the ban on beef is expected to remain in place. That means kosher beef will have to be imported from Australia. New Zealand Jewish Council President Stephen Goodman, who had described the ban as "a direct threat to our existence," said the partial reversal was a "small victory confirming our rights to practice as Jews in New Zealand.
With music echoing through the gymnasium at the Bernard Milken Jewish Community Campus in West Hills, the crowd rose to their feet as the names of the Special Sports League All Stars were called out over the loudspeakers. More than 30 players got a moment in the spotlight as L.A. City Councilman Dennis Zine presented each with an all-star medal before the start of the basketball league’s third annual season finale Nov. 14. Founded in 2008 by Jacques Hay and his family, the Special Sports League provides children and adults with developmental disabilities an opportunity to learn how to work with others through basketball. The league consists of 33 players, ranging in age from 6 to 36, and each is given a free uniform, trophy, medal and pictures.
The holiday season is prime movie-going time, with many new films slated to open. Outstanding performances by stellar actors abound, and some hold the promise of Oscar worthiness. Among the notable productions are two films based on real-life events full of excitement and intrigue. We offer a look at a handful of new releases coming soon to a theater near you. “Casino Jack,” which will be in theaters Dec. 17, chronicles the exploits of notorious Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff (starring Kevin Spacey — see interview with Spacey on Page 6), who was sentenced to federal prison on charges including fraud, the corrupting of public officeholders and conspiracy. Earlier this year, he was transferred from federal prison in western Maryland to a halfway house somewhere in the mid-Atlantic area and is scheduled for release Dec. 4.
The Anti-Defamation League called on an Israeli rabbi to reverse a ruling it linked to threats to a Jewish landlord who rented to Arabs. "All citizens of the State of Israel, according to the law, have equal rights including renting apartments," the ADL said in a statement. "Citizens should not be discriminated against for their ethnic background." It called on Rabbi Yosef Eliahu, the chief rabbi of Safed, to reverse a ruling calling on Jewish residents of Safed not to rent to Arabs.
Canada is hosting the second gathering of the Interparliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism. The meeting will be held in Ottawa from Nov. 7-9. Hannah Rosenthal, the top U.S. official monitoring and combating anti-Semitism, will participate.
A recent pro-Israel rally in Frankfurt should be the first of many, the head of Germany's Jewish community said. Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, who attended the Oct. 31 pro-Israel rally, told JTA she was "grateful to the organizers for making it possible for Christians and Jews to stand together for Israel."
Two Jewish student groups are sponsoring Israeli Occupation Awareness Week at Brandeis University. Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voices for Peace are co-hosting four days of speakers and films focusing on what they say is the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. The events at the school in Waltham, Mass., a nonsectarian university founded by the American Jewish community, will take place from Nov. 8 to Nov. 11.
Germany's Reform rabbinical seminary ordained three new rabbis, including the first woman to become a rabbi in Germany since before the Holocaust. Thursday's ceremonies at Berlin's Pestalozzistrasse Synagogue marked the third ordination of graduates of the Abraham Geiger College in Potsdam since the institution opened in 1999. Standing on the ornate bima and wearing a yarmulka, German President Christian Wulff congratulated the new rabbis. Wulff told the packed synagogue that he was pleased "to witness this moving ceremony" and to "celebrate 200 years of liberal Judaism," as well as the regrowth of Jewish life of all denominations in Germany. Christian and Muslim clerics were among the guests at the ceremony.
Martin Kraar, who was instrumental in helping the Council of Jewish Federations merge with the United Jewish Appeal and the United Israel Appeal, has died. Kraar, of Atlanta, died Monday at the age of 69.
Some 38 Nobel laureates have signed a statement condemning boycotts and divestment campaigns against Israeli academics and academic institutions. A letter accompanying the statement, released Tuesday under the auspices of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, singles out for special concern the threat of a boycott by the University of Johannesburg in South Africa against Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Irene Gladys “Rene” Wisch, the co-founder with her late husband of the Texas Jewish Post, has died. Wisch died Monday at her home in Fort Worth. She was 88. Wisch and her husband of 56 years, the late Jimmy Wisch, founded the Texas Jewish Post in 1946. In 2002, with the death of her husband, she became the editor and publisher of the weekly newspaper, for which she wrote two weekly columns.
Israel "intervened" in the U.S. midterm elections in order to scupper the peace process, a PLO official said. Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary-general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization's Executive Committee, said Wednesday that the election results "prove that Israel played a role in these elections and cooperated with U.S. elements in order to use the results to thwart the negotiations. More than anything, this testifies to the Israeli government's intentions in regards to the peace process."
Canada's leading drugstore chain has pulled a controversial magazine from its racks, but insists the decision has nothing to do with complaints that its latest issue contained anti-Semitic images. Shoppers Drug Mart said Tuesday that it will no longer sell Adbusters, an anti-consumerist/activist magazine based in Vancouver.
University students were denied permission to demonstrate in a city that is overwhelmingly haredi Orthodox. Police in Bnei Brak, a city located east of Tel Aviv, refused permission out of fear of riots, Haaretz reported. The students wanted to protest Tuesday against a bill that would provide stipends for married yeshiva students.
Israel reportedly postponed a strategic dialogue with Britain to protest a law that allows for the prosecution of Israeli officials for alleged war crimes. Strategic dialogue between Israel and Britain on defense and security issues occurs annually. This year's strategic dialogue meeting, scheduled for last month in Britain, did not take place, the French news agency AFP reported.
Italian Jewish leaders have sharply criticized an Italian TV mini-series that portrays Pope Pius XII as working forcefully to save Jews during the Holocaust. "Under the Roman Sky," starring James Cromwell as Pius XII, was aired Sunday and Monday on state-run RAI television. Set in 1943, it shows Pius remaining in Rome despite a plan by the Nazi occupiers to kidnap him.
A Knesset committee has made it possible for a civil unions law to be implemented in Israel. The Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on Wednesday approved a registration fee of about $165 for couples to obtain a civil union certificate.
The election season has finally ended. Victors have celebrated, the defeated have conceded and we are left to clean up the detritus: direct-mail fliers, defunct posters -- and the scorched earth left by one of the least civil election campaigns in memory. American political culture has always been spirited and combative, yet for some time now the tone of our discourse has often been downright nasty. Smear tactics, name calling and distortion of facts are the order of the day, as the art of listening is not so much lost as trampled underfoot while politicians, pundits and activists rush to make points, heedless to what the country might need.
“Are you telling me that you built a time machine... out of a DeLorean?” Twenty-five years ago Back to the Future was released. As a kid I wore out the trilogy’s videotapes (surely one of the greatest Hanukkah presents ever) and watched the town square of Hill Valley take shape and change through the years, from the Old West to the 1950s, 1980s, and the “future” year of 2015. This weekend I found myself in my own déjà vu experience, minus the flux capacitor. Back on the national mall for the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, I stood just a few hundred feet from where I stood less than two years before at the Inauguration of President Obama. Not much time had gone by, but the world around the events couldn’t be much more different.
Even before the bombs mailed from Yemen dominated the non-election news, talk around the coffee table was inevitably coming around to the Middle East. The phenomenon united news-savvy citizens sitting in a souk in Turkey; a hotel in Bethlehem or east Jerusalem; and even a trendy LA restaurant. Initially phrased in terms like, “Is there going to be peace in the Middle East...in my lifetime?,” the parameters quickly narrow and more often than not “the Middle East” becomes rightly defined as “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Typically, the questions then become more in-line with, “Will there be a Palestinian state in a year?” or “Will the Palestinians bolt the U.S.-brokered talks and take their chances at the U.N.?” or for the better-informed, “Can Israel maintain its security if it swaps land?” or even “Are the Palestinians sure they want statehood now given all it implies?” Yet, most recently, we’re hearing conversations beginning with Israel and Palestine quickly turn to Iran, its region and finally global threat.
U.S. law enforcement has warned Jewish groups to be on the lookout for packages mailed from overseas in the wake of suspicious packages addressed to Jewish institutions in Chicago.
The Associated Press quoted President Obama as saying Friday that the packages found on planes headed for the United States constituted a "credible terrorist threat" and had been addressed to Jewish organizations in the Chicago area.
Calling it a "credible terrorist threat," President Barack Obama said apparent explosive material was found on two U.S.-bound packages from Yemen, triggering searches of flights with other packages from Yemen and an investigation into whether al-Qaida was behind a new terror plot.
A federal judge denied a motion for a new trial for former Agriprocessors executive Sholom Rubashkin. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Linda Reade on Wednesday rejected a motion that accused her of a conflict of interest in Rubashkin's case. The defense for Rubashkin, a vice president with the kosher meatpacking firm in Iowa, claimed Reade should have recused herself.
A leading Arab-Israeli political activist admitted to spying for Hezbollah in an Israeli court. Amir Makhoul, director general of Ittijah-the Union of Arab Community-Based Associations, an umbrella group for Arab nongovernmental organizations in Israel, admitted to charges of espionage, contact with a foreign agent and conspiring to assist an enemy in a plea bargain reached Wednesday in Haifa District Court.
Down in Texas, the Rangers have an All-Star second baseman who has added flavor and flair to the 2010 season, helping propel his team to the World Series for the first time in its history. And with a name like Ian Kinsler, he might just be ... Well, there’s no Star of David-shaped asterisk next to Kinsler’s name in the media guide or program. On the field he wears a cap, not a kipah. So how can you know for sure?
Since the late 1980s the Jewish conversation -- and Jewish funding -- has orbited around the goal of Jewish continuity. Whether the cause is Jewish peoplehood, intermarriage, education or even Israel, ensuring our Jewish continuity inevitably grounds the discussion.
But one issue critical to continuity has been missing from the conversation for far too long: supporting our disabled and special needs populations.
Jewish groups mourned the death of Nestor Kirchner, the former president of Argentina. Kirchner, the president from 2003 to 2007, who was succeeded by his wife, current President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, died Wednesday morning at a hospital near his home after suffering a heart attack. He was 60.
A commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Rabbi Meir Kahane's murder will be held in a Jerusalem hotel, despite opposition. The memorial event for the leader of the extremist right-wing Kach Party is scheduled for Tuesday evening at the Jerusalem Ramada Renaissance Hotel. The event is titled "Kahane was right."
A polling place at a messianic Christian center in New York was changed after Orthodox Jewish voters protested. Jewish voters complained to the city's Board of Elections after the Life in Messiah evangelical group's building was announced as a polling place for four election districts from Midwood in Brooklyn, according to the New York Daily News. The voters said their strict adherence to Jewish law would not allow them to enter the building.
Joseph Stein, the Tony Award-winning writer of "Fiddler on the Roof," has died. Stein died Sunday in Manhattan after fracturing his skull in a fall. He was 98.
Iran began placing uranium fuel rods in the Bushehr nuclear plant. Once the 163 fuel rods are set inside the core of the nuclear power plant, Bushehr will be fully operational. The plant should begin generating electricity in early 2011, Iranian Press TV reported Tuesday, citing Iranian officials.
A beauty salon in Encino was buzzing on a Sunday afternoon in late August. More than 200 people visited Epic the Salon throughout the day, getting haircuts, looking longingly at bake-sale goods and browsing through hundreds of items up for silent auction. As they swayed to the music of a DJ, the guests knew their money was doing more than changing their hairstyle: Every penny spent at the day’s event would go to City of Hope — a biomedical research, treatment and educational institution with a focus on fighting cancer and other serious diseases.
The event, dubbed Cuts for a Cure, was held in loving memory of Barbara Klass. After a two-and-a-half year struggle with lymphoma, Klass succumbed to the disease in August 2009.
A coalition of Jewish organizations in California is waging a campaign against a ballot proposition they say would hurt efforts to wean the United States off foreign oil. Proposition 23 effectively would repeal the Global Warming Solutions Act, a California law that established a timetable to bring the state in line with environmental standards set in the Kyoto Protocol. While the United States is not party to that treaty, California has sought to go beyond U.S. requirements and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020.
Argentina's economics minister apologized for using Holocaust imagery in a complaint against two journalists. Amado Boudou reportedly said he used an "out-of-place metaphor" earlier this month in comparing two journalists critical of his administration with "those who were in charge of cleaning gas chambers during the Holocaust," the Buenos Aires Herald reported.
Two Israeli Arabs who sailed with a flotilla of ships that attempted to break Israel's Gaza blockade ignored a subpoena to appear before the Israeli commission probing the incident.
A British Jewish author won the prestigious Man Booker Prize for Fiction for a comic book about what it means to be Jewish today. Howard Jacobson, who was shortlisted for the prize this year for the first time, was named the winner of the $80,000 prize Tuesday night for "The Finkler Question." The book is about "love, loss and male friendship, and explores what it means to be Jewish today," according to a news release from the prize committee.
A Jewish center in central Russia was vandalized for the second time in a week. Anti-Semitic pictures and epithets were found Tuesday painted on the walls of the center in Barnaul, Radio Free Europe reported. Similar graffiti had been found Oct. 7 on the building, which opened in January 2008. Police are using fingerprints taken from the center's walls in their investigation.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, met by cheering crowds in Lebanon, said his country and Israel's northern neighbor "endorse a bitter struggle against Zionist aggression." Ahmadinejad arrived in Lebanon on Wednesday and immediately met with Lebanese President Michael Suleiman at the presidential palace. During a joint news conference, Ahmadinejad said he felt "as though I am at home, in my homeland among my brothers."
Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff is fighting libel charges filed by an alleged war criminal in Hungary. The case, being heard in a Budapest courtroom, began Oct. 8 and is scheduled to continue through a final hearing Dec. 16. It is likely the first time that a man under investigation for mass murder has sued his accusers, Zuroff told JTA.
Two teens were arrested in connection with anti-Semitic graffiti painted on a Jewish high school in Washington State.
An 81-year-old German woman was convicted of Holocaust denial and fined.
A Jewish employee of a Boston-area Internet company was arrested on suspicion of selling confidential information to a foreign company.
Fired CNN anchor Rick Sanchez apologized to Jon Stewart for calling him a bigot and implying that Jews control the media.
Israel's Air Force struck two Gaza targets in response to rocket fire on Israel, the army said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Cabinet will take up a loyalty oath requiring new citizens to swear allegiance to "the State of Israel -- a Jewish and democratic state."
The government of Israel and a North American foundation are partnering on a literacy program for Israeli preschoolers.
The original documents of the Nuremberg Laws were placed on display at the National Archives in Washington.