National

Orthodox Come To Rubashkin’s Defense

As liberal groups hope bank fraud conviction leads to better business practices, Orthodox ones question zeal of prosecution.

11/18/2009
Associate Editor

Sholom Rubashkin, the manager of the now-infamous Agriprocessors kosher slaughterhouse in Iowa, has only completed one of two federal trials, and already — barring a successful appeal — he is looking at a life in prison.

The prospect of such severe punishment — for a man who many credit with making affordable kosher food available in previously underserved markets and for contributing generously to tzedakah, particularly to the Chabad community — has some Orthodox Jews complaining that the kosher meat tycoon is more victim than criminal.

At the same time, liberal Jewish groups that have been critical of the company’s practices — particularly its alleged mistreatment of workers — are hoping the conviction prompts better business practices in the kosher industry and Jewish nonprofit sector.

Russian Jews Meet With Muslims

11/19/2009
Special To The Jewish Week

Although he lives in a borough with a sizeable Muslim population and leads a congregation of Bukharian Jews, a community that hails from a mostly Muslim region of the former Soviet Union, Rabbi Shlomo Nisanov says that, until Sunday, he never visited a mosque.

Moreover, his congregants expressed concern for his safety when they learned he would make the visit, says the rabbi, who leads Kehilat Sephardim of Ahavat Achim, a synagogue in Kew Gardens Hills.

Jewish Studies Sans Religion?

11/18/2009
Staff Writer

The latest skirmish in the halls of Jewish academia has, surprisingly, nothing to do with Israel. But the new discord over academic grants made by the Posen Foundation concerns a charged topic just the same — the growing trend of teaching about Jewish culture through an exclusively secular lens.

NYU Jewish studies chair Lawrence Schiffman: Not taking Posen money

‘Green’ Jewish Groups Pulling In Green

11/18/2009
Staff Writer

This has been a good year for Jewish Farm School, an environmental education organization that aims to reconnect Jews with the joys of working the land and growing their own food.

Last summer, JFS was one of two start-ups selected to join Bikkurim, the New York-based incubator that provides its resident groups with office space and computers in downtown Manhattan, as well as a stipends and organizational consulting.

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Soros Won’t Take On AIPAC (Yet)

03/23/2007
Editor At Large

Billionaire George Soros has no plans to put his money where his mouth is, a spokesman said Tuesday — two days after the philanthropist and political advocate assailed the pro-Israel lobby as a threat to Israeli and U.S. interests. Rumors, rife since last October, that Soros would fund a dovish alternative to the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee, quickened when Soros published a blistering attack on the lobby in the New York Review of Books this week. But Soros spokesman Michael Vachon rebutted the notion he would bankroll such an effort.

Obama Pivots Away From Dovish Past

03/09/2007
Editor At Large
Chicago — Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s maiden speech to the pro-Israel lobby last week saw a man described by early supporters as an ardent dove on Israel take flight as a bird of considerably more hawkish mien. Obama, Illinois’ Democratic junior senator, told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) last Friday that he was committed, above all else, to “peace through security” for the Jewish state.

Tentative Date For Israel Critic At Brandeis

03/02/2007
Editor At Large
Brandeis University students seeking to bring a controversial critic of Israel to campus were finally granted a date and place Monday; then told an hour later the venue was not available, after all; then offered an alternative venue the next day. The latest twists in their lengthy effort to bring DePaul University Professor Norman Finkelstein to campus have left the Radical Student Alliance and Arab Culture Club crossing their fingers that he will appear on March 6 at the university, founded as a Jewish-sponsored, non-sectarian school.

Post-Carter Showdown At Brandeis Over Speakers

02/23/2007

Editor At Large
A free speech dispute over campus speakers has continued to roil Brandeis University in the wake of controversy over its hosting of former president and Israel critic Jimmy Carter. Brandeis’ president waded personally into it this week, voicing hope that right-wing Middle East policy advocate Daniel Pipes would soon lecture there — but issuing no such statement for Norman Finkelstein, a left-wing academic students have also invited.

Brandeis Donors Exact Revenge For Carter Visit

02/16/2007

Editor At Large
Major donors to Brandeis University have informed the school they will no longer give it money in retaliation for its decision last month to host former President Jimmy Carter, a strong critic of Israel. The donors have notified the school in writing of their decisions — and specified Carter as the reason, said Stuart Eizenstat, a former aide to Carter during his presidency and a current trustee of Brandeis, one of the nation’s premier Jewish institutions of higher learning.

Jews Turn Against Torture

02/27/2008

Editor At Large
As Attorney General Michael Mukasey’s stand on government torture meets widespread criticism — including, increasingly, from the organized Jewish community — a former Israeli military attorney who oversaw terrorist cases is pushing for the United States to borrow, selectively, from Israel’s approach to the issue. Since a 1999 High Court ruling mandated it, says Amos Guiora, Israel has established a “no-torture-based paradigm” that contain key elements the U.S. should adopt; but also some elements it should avoid.
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