In just a few hours, I’ll be leaving for ten days in Israel, bringing with me fifty members of my congregation, as well as my wife and the Educational Director of our synagogue’s Religious School. I can no longer remember how many of these trips I’ve led during the past thirty years, and that is a very good thing indeed. One of the things I’m proudest of in my rabbinate is having introduced many members of my community to Israel for the first time. There is a special joy in that for me, and the feeling never grows old.
JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Four Israeli embassies may be closed after receiving serious threats.
Israel's Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that security at the embassies, which it did not identify, had increased to the maximum level. Security at all Israeli embassies has been increased as well, according to reports.
The ministry said in Tuesday's statement that "a number of irregular incidents targeting Israeli destinations were recorded in the past few days."
JERUSALEM (JTA) -- A television campaign airing in Arab countries to address women's issues, produced in cooperation with a United Nations agency, glorifies a female Palestinian terrorist.
The United Nations Population Fund, an international development agency that promotes a life of health and equal opportunity for all, on Thursday disassociated itself from the campaign, The Jerusalem Post reported.
Abubakar Dungus, a spokesperson for the Population Fund, told the Post that it was not consulted or involved in choosing the featured women.
JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Rockets fired from the Gaza Strip struck southern Israel.
Long-range Grad missiles fired Monday night struck the cities of Ofakim and Netivot. In Netivot, four people were treated for shock, and a parked car and a road were damaged when the rocket landed near a residential neighborhood.
The rocket landed near a hall where a wedding was taking place, according to Ynet, sending guests running for cover, Ynet reported.
Also Monday, a Kassam rocket landed in an open area in the Eshkol regional council, reportedly causing no damage.
JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries who responded to the bombing at Moscow's busiest airport described a "horrifying scene."
In an e-mail to JTA, Rabbi Sheah Deitsch, one of a group of Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries who are first responders on behalf of the Moscow Chief Rabbinate, said that "families were screaming and wailing."
"They asked to speak to the Jewish rabbis, and we tried to uplift their spirits and told them that we were there for them for whatever they needed," he wrote.
(JTA) -- Six floors of a building in New York City housing an Israeli bank were evacuated because of a letter bomb scare.
First responders gave the all clear Wednesday once it became clear that the letter addressed to an employee of Bank Hapoalim was harmless, CNN said.
The letter was sent to the Bank Hapoalim branch at Sixth Avenue and 46th Street in midtown Manhattan, CNN reported Wednesday. Bank Hapoalim is on the 11th floor. The Israeli news service Arutz Sheva reported that floors nine through 14 were evacuated.
2010 was a record year for foreign tourism to Israel.
Jerusalem — Like many other Israelis who experienced the 1990-‘91 Gulf War and the first and second Palestinian uprisings — all of which devastated tourism to Israel, and especially Jerusalem — I’m always a bit amazed when I see busload upon busload of tourists praying at the Kotel or walking the Via Dolorosa.
With a record 3.45 million visitors, 2010 was the best year ever for Israeli tourism, but it’s taken me, and other Israelis, a while to get used to the fact that outsiders finally consider our country a desirable destination.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The 8th District in southern Arizona represented by U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords comprises liberal Tucson and its rural hinterlands, which means moderation is a must. But it also means that spirits and tensions run high.
Giffords’ office in Tucson was ransacked in March following her vote for health care reform -- a vote the Democrat told reporters that she would cast even if it meant her career. She refused to be cowed, but she also took aim at the hyped rhetoric. She cast the back-and-forth as part of the democratic process.
JERUSALEM (JTA) -- After two years of relative quiet since the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, Israel's southern border with Gaza is again becoming volatile.
Last week, Gazans fired a rocket into Israel that landed close to a kindergarten in a kibbutz near Ashkelon just as parents were dropping off their children. Although no one was hurt, nothing like that had happened since the war.