Alaska Airlines Detains Passengers Over Tefillin


(JTA) -- An Alaska Airlines flight crew issued a security alert after three Mexican Orthodox Jews began praying with tefillin.

The flight attendants, who were concerned by the prayers being said aloud in Hebrew and the unfamiliar boxes with leather straps hanging from them, locked down the cockpit and radioed a security alert ahead to Los Angeles International Airport.

The flight originated Sunday in Mexico City. It was met at the Los Angeles airport by fire crews, foam trucks, FBI agents, Transportation Security Administration personnel and police, according to Reuters.

Jewish leaders call for Gross’ release from Cuban prison


(JTA) -- Jewish leaders have called on the Cuban government to release Jewish U.S. government contractor Alan Gross, jailed for more than a year, for time served.

Leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Monday issued their humanitarian appeal to the Cuban government following the completion of Gross' two-day trial over the weekend. A verdict has not been released but is expected within the next few days.

Pope Wins Praise for Repudiating Jewish Guilt for Jesus’ Death


(JTA) -- Jewish organizations are hailing Pope Benedict XVI's unequivocal repudiation of the claim that the Jewish people can be held forever responsible for the death of Jesus.

The Vatican already rejected the claim in general terms in 1965 with the landmark Nostra Aetate document issued by the Vatican II Conference, opening the door to formal Catholic-Jewish dialogue. But in a new volume of his book, "Jesus of Nazareth," Benedict employs a detailed scholarly analysis of Catholic teaching to make the point clear.

Fireman Rescues Two Torah Scrolls from Christchurch Rubble


SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – Two Torah scrolls buried under the rubble of the Chabad house in Christchurch, New Zealand, have been saved.

Rabbi Shmuel Friedman, who escaped from the Jewish outreach center with an Israeli backpacker when the devastating earthquake struck Feb. 22, was stopped Wednesday by police detective Chris Bell as the rabbi tried to salvage remnants of the Chabad building in central Christchurch.

PLO Official: New Approach Needed on Talks


NEW YORK (JTA) -- The PLO representative to Washington called for a new approach to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying the two sides are far from resolution.

“We are not close to ending this conflict,” the representative, Maen Rashid Areikat, said Wednesday at a kosher luncheon organized by New York University’s Taub Center for Israel Studies and the Berman Jewish Policy Archive at NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service.

Jesse Jackson Appeals to Cuba to Free Gross


(JTA) -- The Rev. Jesse Jackson has called on Cuba to release Jewish U.S. citizen Alan Gross from prison and reunite him with his family.

Jackson, who has been to Cuba several times and met with former President Fidel Castro and current President Raul Castro, offered to go to Cuba to negotiate the release of American contractor Alan Gross, according to a statement issued Tuesday from his Rainbow PUSH coalition.

Arab Unrest Alters Power Balance in As Yet Unseen Ways


WASHINGTON (JTA) -- They were the devils they knew.

Though Israel lives in a dangerous neighborhood, surrounded by countries whose leaders or people wish its destruction, over the years it had adjusted to the status quo, more or less figuring out how to get by while keeping an eye on gradual change.

But the sudden upheaval in the region that in a matter of weeks has toppled regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, and threatens autocrats in Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and elsewhere, is forcing Israel to grapple with how to recalibrate for dramatic change.

Wanna Buy A Historic Shul In Poland?

Since 2002, Jewish communal reclamation in Poland has reaped millions of dollars. Critics complain of a lack of financial transparency.

Staff Writer

As Menachem Daum walked through the streets of Dzialoszyce, Poland, in 2002, he saw the roofless synagogue built in 1854, a poignant reminder of the vibrant Jewish community that had once existed there. On a return trip he made three years later, Daum was approached by a man who seemed to be in charge.

“How much do you want to pay me for it?” he asked Daum.

The shell of a synagogue in Dzialoszyce, Poland.  Courtesy of Menachem Daum

Summer Camp Impact Seen High In New Study

Strongest evidence yet of effect of camping on Jewish identity, adult engagement.
Associate Editor

When your child grows up, do you want him or her to feel an emotional attachment to Israel, go to synagogue and donate regularly to Jewish causes?

Then start packing a duffel bag, and load it on a bus bound for a Jewish sleep-away camp.

A just-released report — the most comprehensive analysis so far of the impact of Jewish camp experiences — offers the strongest evidence yet that a summer of bug juice, fresh air and color war leads to significantly stronger adult Jewish engagement.

Do camps cultivate a stronger Jewish future?

New Compensation Effort For Private Jewish Property


The years have not dimmed Frances Irwin’s memory of when the Nazis came to the homes of her parents, grandparents and married brother in Konske, Poland, in 1939. They ordered them to turn over their valuables — their gold, their silver candelabras and menorahs, the “gorgeous, valuable pictures” on their walls and their diamond rings and earrings.

“Even my father’s shtreimel [hat] we had to give because it was fur,” Irwin, 80, of Midwood, Brooklyn, recalls.

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