Briefs

United Synagogue Leader Bruce Greenfield Dies At 64

12/14/2010

Bruce Greenfield, the longtime executive director of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s Metropolitan New York District, died Dec. 12 following a heart attack in his North Bellmore, L.I. home. He was 64.

Mr. Greenfield, who served as head of the Conservative movement’s activities in the Greater New York area, and previously as the region’s youth director, for 35 years, left USCJ two years ago as part of an investigation into possible financial improprieties at the organization.

Aaron Listhaus to Head Hebrew Charter School Incubator

12/14/2010

(JTA) — Aaron Listhaus, the chief academic officer for New York City’s Office of Charter Schools, will take over as the head of the Hebrew Charter School Center.

Listhaus, who has spent a year-and-a half helping to oversee nearly 70 authorized charter schools in New York City, will assume his new post in January.

Diaspora Rabbis Urge Israeli Colleagues To Speak Out On Rental Ruling

12/14/2010

(JTA) — Over 750 rabbis and cantors of all denominations signed a letter urging their Israeli colleagues to speak out against a ruling by 39 municipal rabbis banning renting to non-Jews.

“The recent halakhic ruling from community rabbis in Israel that forbids leasing apartments to non-Jews has caused great shock and pain in our communities,” said the letter, initiated by the New Israel Fund. “The attempt to root discriminatory policies based on religion or ethnicity in Torah is a painful distortion of our tradition.”

Hummus Hostilities Quelled

12/07/2010

Campus activity seems to have quieted this week over previously controversial hummus sales. Two weeks ago DePaul University in Chicago temporarily suspended sale of Sabra hummus on campus, after the Students for Justice in Palestine filed a complaint that Sabra's parent company, Strauss, supports the Israeli Defense Force.

EU Council Rejects Anti-shechitah Amendment

12/07/2010

(JTA) — The European Union Council has rejected a controversial kosher meat labeling requirement as part of its new food information regulation.
The latest draft, sent back to the European Parliament Tuesday for its consideration, does not include Amendment 205, the clause that would have required that all meat and meat products that are kosher slaughtered to be pejoratively labeled as "meat from slaughter without stunning."

Netanyahu Slams Rabbis' Ban On Rentals To Gentiles

12/07/2010

(JTA) —A ruling by dozens of Israel's municipal chief rabbis that forbids renting homes to gentiles, specifically to Arabs, is inconsistent with democratic values, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

The ruling comes less than two months after leading rabbis in Safed signed on to a letter by the city's chief rabbi calling on Jews not to rent to non-Jews there, as well as a month after rabbis in the haredi Orthodox Israeli city of Bnei Brak  forbade residents to rent apartments to African refugees, echoing a similar ruling for southern Tel Aviv.

U.S. Drops Settlement-Freeze Push

12/07/2010

(JTA) — The Obama administration reportedly has abandoned efforts to have Israel freeze its settlements.
"After consulting with the parties, we have determined that a moratorium extension will not at this time provide the best basis for resuming negotiations," a number of media quoted a senior administration official as saying Tuesday.
The Palestinians left direct talks in late Septemb

Smoking Teen Who Started Fire Is Released

12/07/2010

(JTA)—The teen arrested after admitting to starting the Carmel Forest fire was released from police custody to house arrest.
The teen admitted to smoking a nargila water pipe and dumping its embers into an open area before returning to school last week, the day the blaze erupted, near his Druze village of Ussfiya.

Judge Kimba Wood Grants ‘Writ Of Simcha’

11/30/2010

(JTA) — Federal Judge Kimba Wood agreed to recess a fraud trial so that the Orthodox Jewish defense attorney could attend his grandson's brit.

Wood, in Manhattan District Court, ordered the recess of the trial Monday after learning of the birth of Bennett Epstein's grandson. Epstein had filed a motion last month asking for a "writ of possible simcha" in order to attend a brit in Philadelphia if his daughter gave birth to a boy.

Poll: More Than Half of Jewish Israelis Want Arabs Out

11/30/2010

(JTA) — Some 53 percent of Israel's Jewish population believes that the state can encourage Arabs to leave the country, a new poll found.

The Israel Democracy Institute's 2010 poll released Tuesday also found that 86 percent of the Jewish public, constituting 76 percent of the total public, believes that critical decisions for the state should be made by the Jewish majority.

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