(JTA) — Forty members of the House of Representatives signed a letter warning Cuba that improved relations are contingent on the release of a jailed Jewish American.
Alan Gross, 60, has been held since Dec. 3; he was arrested while reportedly assisting the Cuban Jewish community to connect to the Internet. His congressman, U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), initiated the letter.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Alan Gross has been about communications all his life: The call-mom-everyday son, the family newsbreaker, the message guy for Jewish groups, the get-out-the-vote enthusiast for candidate Barack Obama, the technology contractor who helped the U.S. government bring the world's remotest populations into the 21st century.
Now, however, Gross, 60, of Potomac, Md., has been languishing for three months in a Cuban high-security prison and his rare conversations are monitored by Cuban officials.
Charly Rodriguez plays Latin jazz. So does Charly Schwartz: which may come as a surprise to his fellow band members in La Onda Va Bien. Schwartz and Rodriguez are the same person: the Brooklyn-born son of Cuban Jewish immigrants who raised him on equal parts Havana rhythms and "Hava Nagila."
Like the candidate, the audience was Orthodox and likely to be staunch in its defense of Israel. So Noach Dear lost no time in making his pitch explicit.
“We have how many shomer Shabbos politicians?” he asked the Sunday morning bagels-and-cream-cheese crowd gathered to hear him at the Young Israel of Far Rockaway last month, using the term for Sabbath observers. Touting his campaign to represent them in Congress, Dear urged, “This is a way to contribute to the community.”
Dr. Jose Miller, a physician who served as president of Cuba's Jewish community for two decades and shepherded a revival in the country's Jewish life, died Feb. 27 in Havana after a brief illness. He was 80.
Dr. Miller's years of leadership coincided with the government's decision in the early 1990s to change its character from atheistic to secular, eliminating the persecution of people who participated in religious activities and allowing the open practice of Judaism and other faiths.
Richard Schifter is not a gifted orator.
The former U.S. representative to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, who served during the 1980s, delivered the keynote address of what was billed as the Durban II Counter-Conference Program at Fordham University Law School here on Monday, and his presentation was lengthy, dry and delivered in a near monotone.
Wednesday, May 13th, 2009
As if it didn’t have enough on its plate, the Obama administration is now set to try to work some reform magic on the UN Human Rights Council, a group set up to monitor human rights conditions around the world but which is led by some of the worst abusers anywhere and which seems to have little interest in anything but Israel.
On Tuesday the General Assembly elected the United States to the council following a decision by the Obama administration to seek membership.
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