National

Singer Debbie Friedman Hospitalized

01/07/2011

NEW YORK (JTA) -- Songwriter Debbie Friedman has been hospitalized in Orange County, Calif.

Friedman is sedated and on a respirator, according to an email sent Wednesday from the West Coast branch of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. A source at the college told JTA Thursday there had been no change in Friedman's condition.

The email asked that prayers be said on Friedman's behalf, as well as for her mother, sister and aunt.

White House Confirms Receipt of Pollard Clemency Letter

01/06/2011

(JTA) -- President Obama has received a letter from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, requesting clemency for convicted spy-for-Israel Jonathan Pollard.

"I think it is important to underscore that Mr. Pollard was convicted of some of the most serious crimes that anybody can be charged (with)," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters Wednesday

“We have received the letter and will review it,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

Neither spokesman said how long the review process would take and what steps were involved.

Fla. Survivors Caught In Cruel Funding Irony

Despite doubling of home care money from Germany, needs going unmet in Broward, other counties.

01/04/2011
Staff Writer

Margate, Fla. — At the age of 87, Molly Gruda spends much of her day sitting in a reclining chair in her den and using a wheelchair to get around. Her primary caregiver is her husband, Sam. He’s 96.

Because she is a Holocaust survivor, Gruda is eligible for German government money, administered through the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, to provide her with a home attendant during the day for 25 hours each week. Her husband is not a survivor and thus not entitled to such help.

Sam Gruda, 96, is the primary caregiver for his Auschwitz survivor wife Molly, who is 87 and ailing. stewart ain

Journalists’ Group Considers Dropping Helen Thomas Award

01/04/2011
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Helen Thomas’ decision to take her disparagement of Zionists from off the cuff (last May) to on the record (last month) has led a journalists' group to consider dropping her name from a lifetime achievement award.

The Society of Professional Journalists is revisiting its decision last summer not to change the name of its Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award after Thomas, 90, told an Arab-American group in Dearborn, Mich., last month that Congress, the White House, Hollywood and Wall Street “are owned by the Zionists.”

For Israeli Expats, A Rabbi Of Their Own

In U.S., Israelis turn to growing number
of Israeli spiritual leaders.

01/04/2011
JTA

Boca Raton, Fla. — Itzik Abu-Hatzera rarely attended synagogue in his native Haifa when he lived in Israel.

But last December his family was among those of nearly 200 other Israelis in South Florida at a Chanukah party sponsored by the Chabad Israeli Center in Boca Raton.

“In Israel you don’t need it — Jews are all around you,” says Abu-Hatzera, who moved here 10 years ago.

A girl points to a menorah made of ice at a Boca Raton Chanukah party that attracted some 200 Israeli families last month.

Clergy, Bibi Urge Pollard Release

01/04/2011

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- More than 500 clergy signed a letter to President Obama urging clemency for Jonathan Pollard.

The letter was delivered a day before Prime Minister Benjanim Netanyahu reportedly sent a letter to Obama issuing a formal clemency request. Netanyahu was scheduled to read his letter Tuesday evening to a Knesset plenum discussion.

NYC Synagogue Gets Bomb Threat; Hate Crimes Against Jews Rise

01/02/2011

(JTA) -- A letter threatening to blow up a New York City synagogue was discovered the same day as the release of a state report showing that hate crimes against Jews had risen significantly.

A letter discovered on the evening of Dec. 30 at the Congregation Ohab Zedek on the upper West Side of Manhattan threatened to blow up the synagogue on New Year's Eve, the New York Post reported. The newspaper quoted synagogue rabbi Allen Schwartz as saying that up to a dozen other synagogues received similar letters.

Obama Appoints Ambassador to Syria

12/30/2010

(JTA) -- President Obama used a recess appointment to name Robert Ford as the new U.S. ambassador to Syria.

Ford will become the first U.S. ambassador to Syria since 2005. The Bush administration recalled its ambassador from Syria in February 2005 in the wake of the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Harari; evidence pointed to Syrian involvement in the murder.

Generation F

Theological fluidity of young Jews posing tough challenge to Jewish institutions on eve of 2011; rash of new efforts to reach ‘drifters.’

12/28/2010
Staff Writer

Her grandparents — “cultural” Jews on one side of the family, more traditional on the other — came to the United States from the Old Country a century ago and didn’t change their level of religious observance (or non-observance) during their lives. Their spiritual lives were a straight line.

Her parents, newly married, moved to Westchester County in the early 1970s, joined a Reform temple and never left it. Their spiritual lives were also a straight line.

Abby Sher’s spiritual life is a curve.

Abby Sher, the girl who couldn’t stop praying.

American Sabra

Israeli population in U.S. surges, but exact figures hard to determine.

12/28/2010

 

SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) — The number of Israelis living in the United States grew by about 30 percent over the past decade, according to newly released U.S. Census Bureau figures.

Some 140,323 people living in the United States today were born in Israel, up from 109,720 in 2000. Of the Israelis living here, 90,179 have U.S. citizenship and 50,144 do not.

Israel ex-pats were among those who showed up in Los Angeles for an Israel Independence Day celebration.
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