Birthright Rejects J Street Partnership


(JTA) — Birthright Israel has rejected a proposed partnership trip with J Street, saying it no longer works with organizations with Israel-related political leanings.

J Street had begun promoting the trip last week being organized by its campus arm, J Street U, in cooperation with Israel Experience, one of several tour providers used by Birthright. But Birthright said it nixed the idea for a J Street trip focusing on progressivism and social action when it was first presented months ago.

Chabad Emissaries: Moscow Bombing Scene ‘Horrifying’


(JTA) — Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries who responded to the bombing at Moscow’s busiest airport described a “horrifying scene.”
In an e-mail to JTA, Rabbi Sheah Deitsch, one of a group of Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries who are first responders on behalf of the Moscow Chief Rabbinate, said that “families were screaming and wailing.”
“They asked to speak to the Jewish rabbis, and we tried to uplift their spirits and told them that we were there for them for whatever they needed,” he wrote.

Israeli Court Sentences Birthright Assailant


(JTA) — A New Jersey man who assaulted a fellow Birthright Israel participant was sentenced to time served and community service.
Jonathan Haft, 25, was convicted Monday in Israel of aggravated assault for attacking Sherry Kestenbaum, 23, also of New Jersey, last May. He was sentenced to two and a half months in prison and six months of community service. The prison time has already been served.
Haft also was ordered to pay Kestenbaum about $55,000 in compensation, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Incidents Down But Anti-Semitism Growing, Report Shows


(JTA) — Anti-Semitism around the world appears to be strengthening, despite fewer incidents in 2010, according to a new report.
The Annual Report of the Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism released Sunday in Jerusalem showed fewer anti-Semitic incidents from a record-setting 2009. Still, the authors of the report — the Jewish Agency Task Force on Anti-Semitism and the Israeli Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs — found that organized activity aimed at the delegitimization of Israel as a Jewish state increased in 2010.

Two New Flotillas To Head To Gaza


(JTA) — Two more flotillas will attempt to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza, organizers said.
The new convoys, organized by the Free Gaza movement and the Turkish pro-Palestinian organization IHH, will leave in the spring and have been dubbed Freedom Flotilla 2, according to reports. The groups also organized the May 31 flotilla that was intercepted by Israeli naval commandos, with the ensuing violence leading to the deaths of nine Turkish activists.

Federations Launching Campaign For Ethiopian Aliyah


(JTA) — The Jewish Federations of North America is launching a $5.5 million fundraising campaign for Ethiopian immigration to Israel.
The campaign comes at the behest of the Israeli government, which agreed last November to bring up to 7,846 additional Ethiopians to Israel. Like Israel’s commitment, the federation’s campaign comes with an eye toward concluding mass Ethiopian aliyah; it’s called “Completing the Journey.”

McFalafel Debuts In Israel


Israeli diners can soon have a ball at the country’s 160 McDonald’s restaurants. In fact they can have three for 10 shekels, as the franchise begins offering “McFalafel” alongside the Big Mac and other offerings.
Starting this week, the fried-chickpea sandwich will appear at all of the company’s restaurants in Israel, with a side of tahina and chopped vegetables, according to YNet.

Hadassah Names New President


 (JTA) — The national board of Hadassah: The Women’s Zionist Organization of America has nominated its former treasurer to take over the organization’s lay leadership.

The board on Sunday officially selected Marcie Natan, currently national chairperson of Hadassah College in Jerusalem, to become president in July. Natan, of Lancaster, Pa., must be approved officially at Hadassah’s annual meeting. She would succeed Nancy Falchuk, who has served as president since 2007.

PLO Flag A Red Flag In DC


(JTA) — The PLO office in Washington raised a flag for the first time since the Obama administration granted the delegation, which does not have embassy status, permission to raise the flag last July.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, condemned the flag raising.

Guide To Aid Caregivers of Holocaust Survivors


Recognizing the different health and emotional issues survivors face, Conference on Material Claims Against Germany has published an online journal to help aging survivors’ caregivers deal with their unique challenges.
The first issue, which can be found at, includes articles on alleviating the isolation of survivors in certain American communities, and working with those in remote area. It also examines successful programs for survivors in two communities.

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