Stewart Ain

1,000 Turn Out For Pro-Israel Rally Here

06/09/2010
Staff Writer

A light rain fell as hundreds of New Yorkers rallied across the street from the Israeli Consulate in Manhattan Wednesday to voice their support for the embattled Jewish state in the wake of the Gaza flotilla deaths.

“This is a consensus rally,” said Rabbi Avi Weiss, the founder of AMCHA-The Coalition for Jewish Concerns. “Israel is facing an existential threat. It’s important for everyone to express solidarity with Israel.”

Search For Heirs To Shoah Victims’ Assets Takes Shocking Turns

Some shun money, property, Jewish roots; others overcome with joy. Inside Israel’s little-known restitution effort.

06/09/2010
Staff Writer

 It’s like an episode of the late-‘50s hit TV series “The Millionaire.”

Elinor Kroitoru pores over documents in hunt for heirs of those killed in the Holocaust.

After Flotilla Debacle, Will Netanyahu Change Course?

Analysts disagree on whether he will reach out to Kadima and how he will handle inquiry demands.

06/08/2010
Staff Writer

Depending on whom you ask, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is either on the verge of reshuffling his cabinet or is digging in his heels following last week’s Gaza flotilla debacle.

“I don’t see any sign of it,” Yossi Alpher, an Israeli political analyst, said of a possible government shake-up. “Netanyahu continues to rely on a cabinet of seven for key policy decisions.”

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni of the Kadima party, above, called Monday for a no-confidence vote in Benjamin Netanyahu’s gov't

Gaza Flotilla Fallout: From The Sea To The Streets

In New York, both sides (including some pro-Palestinian Jews) hold rallies.

06/02/2010
Staff Writer

Just one day after nine pro-Palestinian activists were shot dead aboard their ship in a clash with Israeli soldiers, activists on both sides of the issue took to the streets here in separate protest rallies.

“I’m outraged by the way the media portrayed the [Israel Defense Forces] as the bad ones,” said Dr. Elizabeth Layliev, an ob-gyn from the Lower East Side of Manhattan who said it was her first time at a pro-Israel demonstration and that she learned of it from Facebook.

Oren Lashes Out At Goldstone Over Gaza Report

06/02/2010
Staff Writer

First, Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz last fall called Richard Goldstone a “Jewish anti-Semite.”

Then last December, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the “Goldstone threat” was one of “three primary threats facing us today.” Just last month, the threat of demonstrations in his native South Africa caused him to momentarily cancel plans to attend his grandson’s bar mitzvah.

The war crimes report by Richard Goldstone, right, “literally threatens Israeli lives,” says Israeli ambassador Michael Oren.

Israel Bristles At Palestinian West Bank Settlement Products Boycott

Yesha council calls targeting of settlement goods ‘economic terror.’

05/25/2010
Staff Writer

Israeli leaders have reacted harshly to a Palestinian boycott launched last Tuesday against products made in Israeli West Bank settlements, threatening to impose higher taxes on Palestinian-made goods and possibly blocking cash donations from European nations.

“It is unacceptable that the Palestinians are waging an economic war against us with the sense that everything is allowed,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quoted as telling a meeting of his Likud Party Monday.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad launched the boycott of West Bank goods last week. Getty Images

Rubashkin’s Wife: Sholom Deserves ‘Time Served’

On eve of sentencing, family living ‘on charity’; denies feds’ claim of ‘rich lifestyle using Agriprocessors money.’

05/21/2010
Staff Writer

 As she awaits her husband’s sentencing next Thursday for federal bank fraud, Leah Rubashkin described him as a man who “always had a hard time” running the family’s kosher slaughterhouse and “did everything he could to keep all the bills paid.”

Leah Rubashkin said hers is a "humble family" with a broken down van.

New Moves To Bolster Northeast Queens Jewry

Orthodox, non-Orthodox congregations adapting in bid
for survival, growth.

05/12/2010
Staff Writer

 ‘Creatures who adapt to their environment fly; if not, they become extinct. We are adapting and evolving.”

Rabbi Menashe Bovit, the new spiritual leader of the Conservative Bellrose Jewish Center, isn’t just referring to the survival-of-the-fittest law of the jungle. He’s also referring to the sometimes cruel, Darwin-esque nature of Jewish demographics in an ever-changing city. In this case the demographics of northeast Queens, an area on the Queens-Nassau border trying to claw back from the brink of extinction — Jewishly, that is.

Officials of Temple Sholom of Floral Park look over plans for new building. Michael Datikash

A Pioneer At Age 12

Elena Kagan was Lincoln Square’s first bat mitzvah.

05/12/2010
Staff Writer

Elena Kagan, President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, wanted a bat mitzvah when she turned 12. But that simply was not done in May 1973 at Lincoln Square Synagogue, the Orthodox congregation to which the Kagan family belonged.

“I remember she was very definite,” recalled Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the congregation’s spiritual leader. “She came to me and very much wanted it; she was very strong about it. She wanted to recite a Haftorah like the boys, and she wanted her bat mitzvah on a Saturday morning.”

Kagan’s bat mitzvah was “watershed moment.”

Taking On Ahmadinejad

05/05/2010
Staff Writer

Political and Jewish leaders stood in the shadow of the United Nations Monday to denounce the presence of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a UN conference on the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

“Iran’s presence at this conference is a sham,” bristled Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

She then called for Senate hearings to investigate all companies that do business with Iran, thus helping it as it develops nuclear weapons to “enable terrorism.”

Photos by Michael Datikash
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