National

Obama to Rabbis: Securing Israel Critical for Peace

09/08/2010

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- President Obama told American rabbis that securing Israel was critical to the peace process.

The president, in a 35-minute Rosh Hashanah call Tuesday with 600 rabbis of all denominations, said his administration's efforts to reassure the Israeli government of U.S. backing for its security helped bring about the renewed peace process.

The Obama administration in the past year has enhanced intelligence sharing and missile defense cooperation with Israel, and has taken the lead in isolating Iran until it makes transparent its nuclear program.

Jewish Groups Step Up Efforts to Combat Anti-Muslim Bigotry

09/08/2010
JTA

SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) -- Jewish groups have stepped up efforts to combat anti-Muslim bigotry, with several national initiatives announced this week and supporting statements coming in from a range of Jewish voices.

In Washington, officials from several Jewish organizations took part Tuesday in an emergency summit of Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders that denounced anti-Muslim bigotry and called for a united effort by believers of all faiths to reach out to Muslim Americans.

Obama Facing Jewish Left Backlash

09/07/2010
Washington Correspondent

As the midterm elections near, Jewish progressives, frustrated by what they see as President Barack Obama’s lack of leadership on a range of domestic issues — starting with the economy — may sit out the November congressional vote in large numbers.

The prospect of a backlash from Jewish liberals, which carries big political risks for the president, say observers, is his real “Jewish problem,” not the Jewish right’s criticism of his handling of the Israel issue.

President Obama with Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

For Cantors, Season Of Their Discontent

Glimmers of hope amid loss of nusach tradition and cantorial positions.

09/07/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Like musical Johnny Appleseeds, Cantors Bernard Beer and Sherwood Goffin have spent the last two years traveling the Modern Orthodox countryside — from the Five Towns of Long Island to Bergen County to Highland Park, N.J., and beyond — trying to replant the seeds of an art form that is fast disappearing from American synagogues.

Cantor Sherwood Goffin: In tune or out of touch with today’s synagogue?

Soros Giving $100 Million to Human Rights Watch

09/07/2010

(JTA) -- Billionaire philanthropist George Soros will give Human Rights Watch $100 million to expand its work throughout the world.

The gift, announced Tuesday, is the largest ever by Soros and the largest received by Human Rights Watch, The New York Times reported.

Soros, 80, told the Times that the gift is the first of a series of large gifts that he plans to make.

Soros this year has donated some $700 million to several causes. He earned $3.3 billion from his hedge fund in 2009, the Times reported.

D.C. Interfaith Summit Denounces Anti-Muslim Bigotry

09/07/2010

(JTA) -- An interfaith summit of Jewish, Christian and  Muslim leaders denounced anti-Muslim bigotry.

In a statement released by the group, which represented the majority of the country’s Jews, Muslims and Christians, participants announced that they came together Tuesday in Washington, D.C., “to denounce categorically the derision, misinformation and outright bigotry being directed against America’s Muslim community.”

JCC, Synagogues In Holy War In Boca

Bitter turf battle as JCC offers Rosh HaShanah services for first time; move is ‘usurpation,’ cries a rabbi.

09/01/2010
Staff Writer

Boca Raton, Fla. — Since moving here five years ago, Laura Reiss and her husband have not found a synagogue they are comfortable enough to join.

But when the High Holy Days begin Wednesday night, they and their three young daughters plan to attend a two-hour program featuring selected prayers at the Levis Jewish Community Center here — accompanied by their mothers, who have not been to synagogue services in more than 20 years. Reiss’ sister, who is intermarried, is also coming and bringing her family.

Hebrew Charters On Sharp Growth Curve

As schools open, Miami’s central Jewish education agency now eyeing partnership with Ben-Gamla.

09/01/2010
Associate Editor

 When New Jersey’s Hatikvah International Academy Charter School opens on Tuesday, it will join five other Hebrew charter schools operating in the United States, two of them brand new.

Launched only three years ago with the opening of the first of three “Ben Gamla” elementary schools in South Florida — and with planning under way for almost 30 more Hebrew charter schools throughout the country — the national Hebrew charter school movement is moving at a rapid clip.

Students chat with teachers at an orientation for Albert Einstein Academy for Letters, a Hebrew charter middle school in CA.

‘An Equal-Opportunity Recession’

As economy continues to falter, middle-class families forced to turn to Jewish food banks.

08/31/2010
JTA

San Francisco — Robert M., 58, worked for a news organization in the San Francisco Bay area until September 2008, when he lost his job in layoffs that eliminated 15 percent of the company’s workforce nationwide.

Robert had eight months of savings. They ran out in six months.

After 14 months of unemployment, in December 2009 Robert turned to San Francisco’s Jewish Family and Children’s Services for help with rent, utilities and, hardest of all, food.

New York’s Met Council on Jewish Poverty delivered Rosh HaShanah food packages throughout the five boroughs last September.

Actress Von Teese Sues Ex-landlord for Anti-Semitism

08/31/2010

(JTA) -- Burlesque dancer and actress Dita Von Teese in a lawsuit accused her former landlord of an anti-Semitic tirade.

Von Teese, 37, alleged in a suit filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court that when her managers tried to have her $5,000 security deposit returned, the former landlord "went on Mel Gibson-like anti-Semitic tangents, personally attacking Plaintiff's Jewish managers and business managers," TMZ reported.

Gibson, a film actor and director, let loose an anti-Semitic tirade after being pulled over in 2006 for drunk driving.

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