Two thumbs down. That was the consensus of a group of horrified Jewish interfaith and community leaders after watching a rough cut of Mel Gibson's controversial "The Passion."
It was the first mainstream Jewish group to screen the Hollywood star's gory recounting of the trial and death of Jesus.
In a surprise legal development that could impact on the Bush administration, a Manhattan federal appeals court last week quietly breathed new life into potential billion-dollar class-action lawsuits by Holocaust survivors against the governments of Poland and Austria over the loss of their property during and after World War II.
Last week, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit overturned a Brooklyn federal judge's June 2002 decision to dismiss the case "Garb vs. Poland" on the grounds that Poland was protected by sovereign immunity.
The campaign to win compensation for hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees forced to flee Arab countries after 1948 got a boost this week when Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) said he plans to introduce a resolution in the House of Representatives next month demanding justice for the refugees.
In October 1979, Honey Rackman was asked to help a friend whose daughter was being denied a "get," or Jewish divorce. A group of Modern Orthodox women held a meeting in their Flatbush, Brooklyn, neighborhood to discuss how to help.
Since then she became a tireless advocate for "agunot," or "chained women," whose husbands refuse to grant their wives a religious divorce, leaving them in a kind of purgatory.
Is Mel Gibson a cynical manipulator or an insensitive true believer? Those are two theories being floated in trying to explain the increasing controversy over Gibson's upcoming film, "The Passion," his bloody retelling of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth.
Some leading interfaith experts say the film, which the 47-year-old Gibson co-wrote and is due out in February, violates Catholic teachings and will foment anti-Semitism worldwide.
New York activist Rabbi Avi Weiss has asked a national rabbinic court to resolve a dispute with the American Jewish Committee over construction of a $4 million memorial project at the Belzec death camp in southeastern Poland, where a half million Jews were murdered by the Nazis in 1942.
This comes on the heels of a lawsuit filed by Rabbi Weiss last week against AJCommittee in New York Supreme Court to block the project, which is cosponsored by the Polish government.
Determined to stop construction of a "desecrating" sunken walkway through Poland's Belzec concentration camp, activist Rabbi Avi Weiss filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court against the American Jewish Committee, this time naming himself as a co-plaintiff.
But AJCommittee executive director David Harris labeled the lawsuit "frivolous" and defended the walkway, or "trench," as part of a necessary $4 million permanent memorial to the nearly half-million Jewish victims buried in mass graves at the death camp.
The Beth Din of America has disqualified the rabbinic court of the National Council of Young Israel from settling a dispute with one of its affiliate congregations over the proposed sale of NCYI's Manhattan headquarters to a residential developer for $5.3 million.
When New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey didn't like what state Poet Laureate Amiri Baraka had to say about Israelis in a poem about 9-11, he took action.
McGreevey, with the nearly unanimous support of the state Legislature, abolished the state-funded post through budget cuts several weeks ago to get rid of Baraka.
In recent weeks McGreevey has said he didn't like the "abhorrent" views of a Rutgers University pro-Palestinian student group that is sponsoring a national conference in October at the state-financed institution.
How best to honor the memory of half a million Jews buried in the horrific and long-neglected Belzec death camp in southeastern Poland?
That's the heart of a running dispute pitting several rabbis and Jewish organizations that support the approved design plan against New York activist Rabbi Avi Weiss, who insists the plan desecrates the victims and violates Jewish law.
The dispute echoes the debate in New York City over the memorial for the Sept. 11 World Trade Center victims.