In Search of the Jewish Zeitgeist

10/11/2010 - 20:00

Zeitgeist is “the spirit of the times,” a sense of the direction and mood of an era. Tina Brown, premiere commentator and editor, reflected last week on the current state of America’s Zeitgeist and what we want to read and consume:

Rob Eshman

Eating Your ‘Portion’

10/11/2010 - 20:00

Guests at Elisheva Kupferman’s Shabbat meals know to expect an explanation with their appetizer.

The New York native, who now lives in the Katamon neighborhood of Jerusalem, loves to host Shabbat meals every week for friends and neighbors. “I like to have big groups of people — I like to really feel like Shabbos is a gathering,” said the 24-year-old. And lately her meals — which generally include 10 to 15 guests — have offered a unique twist.

Elisheva Kupferman: A taste for Torah.

Orthodox, Reform Groups, Lawmakers Back Pollard Clemency

10/11/2010 - 20:00

(JTA) -- Orthodox and Reform Jewish groups are backing a letter circulating in the House of Representatives asking President Obama to extend clemency to Jonathan Pollard.

Pollard, a former civilian intelligence analyst for the U.S. Navy, has been serving a life sentence since 1985 for passing classified information to Israel.

U.S. Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Bill Pascrell (D- N.J.), Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) and Anthony Weiner (D- N.Y.) are circulating the letter among their colleagues and plan to submit it to Obama in the coming days.

‘JData’ To Hook Up Education Players

10/11/2010 - 20:00

It was a joke at first, then a working title.

But as the project made its way from concept to official unveiling, the name “JData” stuck.

That’s JData, not to be confused with JDate, the Internet dating company infamous both for its popularity and for the creative license its users often employ in order to appear more attractive.

The JData site to help institutions share, update information.

'Gloom' Factor Sinks Obama's Standing With Jewish Voters

New AJC poll says it's the economy, not Israel, driving down Democratic numbers.
10/11/2010 - 20:00
Washington Correspondent

President Barack Obama's approval rating among Jewish voters has fallen six points in just seven months, and a surprisingly strong 33 percent of those surveyed say the nation would be better off with a Republican-led Congress, according to a just-released poll of Jewish voters by the American Jewish Committee.

That suggests one of the strongest pillars of the Democratic base is weakening just weeks before critical congressional midterm elections that are expected to result in strong GOP gains.

Sinking poll numbers based more on the economy than Israel

Abraham Fund Wins Major State Department Grant for Arab-Israeli Coexistence Programs

10/11/2010 - 20:00

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- An Israeli coexistence group was awarded a three-year grant of nearly $1 million from the U.S. State Department.

The Abraham Fund Initiatives, which aims to advance Jewish-Arab coexistence and equality in Israel, announced Tuesday that it had received the grant to advance peace and reconciliation through bilingual and bicultural education as part of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Conflict Mitigation and Reconciliation Program.

Jewish Officials Prepare for Possible GOP Congressional Wins

10/11/2010 - 20:00

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Across the United States, Jewish community professionals are honing their skills of suasion, preparing to deal with a new crop of lawmakers who are unfamiliar with Jewish organizational priorities -- and who are likely to be unenthusiastic once they’re in the know.

This season of anti-incumbent sentiment, much of it swelling from the political right, presents the likelihood of a Republican takeover of at least one house of Congress. The GOP needs 39 seats to win in the House of Representatives; pollsters are predicting gains of 17 to 80 seats.

Netanyahu Offers Settlement Freeze for Recognition as a Jewish State

10/11/2010 - 20:00

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would reinstate a West Bank construction freeze if the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Netanyahu made the offer Monday in a wide-ranging speech at the opening of the Knesset's winter session.

Hikind Physically Confronts Anti-Semitic Group

10/10/2010 - 20:00
Assistant Managing Editor

Assemblyman Dov Hikind broke through police barriers and physically confronted a small group of protesters carrying anti-Semitic signs in Brooklyn Monday.
The five protesters from the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas drew an angry reaction from several hundred Orthodox Jews as they gathered in a small pen of police barricades outside Chabad of Kensington on Ocean Parkway in Midwood.

With Emanuel and Axelrod Gone, Will the Jews Have Access to Obama?

10/10/2010 - 20:00

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- They were two Jewish aides who had offices within shouting distance of the Oval Office.

But the resignation last week of Rahm Emanuel as White House chief of staff and the imminent departure of David Axelrod, the president’s senior adviser, is raising the question of what the disappearance of the president’s top two Jewish aides will mean for the Jewish community.

Top Jewish Democrats and leaders of Jewish organizations say there will be an absence -- of optics, not substance.

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