California Synagogue Saved From Auction Block


The world’s first LEED-certified synagogue was saved from the auction block this week.

Congregation Beth David in San Luis Obispo, Calif., reached an 11th-hour agreement this week in proceedings with Mission Community Bank, according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

The synagogue had been slated for foreclosure Tuesday after defaulting on a $3.3 million bank loan late last year. The bank forgave $1 million of the loan, but the congregation could only raise $2.1 million of the remaining amount, leaving it $200,000 short by the deadline.

Coming To Wiesenfeld’s Defense On Kushner Honor


New York – Amid a number of calls for Jeffrey Weisenfeld to step down as trustee of the City University of New York after opposing an honorary degree for Tony Kushner, a grass-roots group of academics has come to his defense and criticized the CUNY executive board for choosing, in the end, to honor the playwright.

Obama: 'Legitimate Aspirations' Will Lead To Peace


(JTA) — The achievement of the Palestinians’ “legitimate aspirations” will make the Middle East more peaceful and prosperous, President Obama said in his message for Israel's Independence Day.

Calm Prevails At Start Of San Diego University's ‘Palestine Week’


(JTA) — A week of pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel events began calmly at the University of California, San Diego, despite fears of a repeat of last year’s hostilities.

“We learned a lot from last year, and there isn’t the anxiety,” Keri Copans, the Hillel director on the San Diego campus, said Tuesday.

This marks the first year that pro-Israel students have responded to Justice in Palestine Week, an annual event run by the Muslim Student Association at San Diego, by staging pro-Israel events of their own.

Court To Rule On Release Of Mondrowitz Records


New York’s Court of Appeals will decide whether Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes must release records in an alleged sex-abuse case that a lawyer believes will show political favoritism by Hynes.

The New York Law Journal reported that the state’s top court will consider reversing a lower court’s ruling regarding Rabbi Abraham Mondrowitz, who fled to Israel in 1986 amid allegations that he abused patients in his psychotherapy practice.

Shelve Goldstone Report, Congress Members Urge UN Chief


 (JTA) — A bipartisan slate of U.S. lawmakers urged U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to shelve the Goldstone report.

Twenty-two members of the House of Representatives signed on to a letter calling on Ban to override the U.N. Human Rights Council, which said it was standing by the report it commissioned.

Barenboim To Conduct Orchestra In Gaza


(JTA) — Renowned Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim will present a “peace concert” in the Gaza Strip.

Barenboim will direct an organization of 25 European musicians on Tuesday, the French news agency AFP reported. The so-called “Orchestra for Gaza” was announced Monday by the United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East peace process.

Katsav Appeals Rape Conviction


 (JTA) — Israel's Supreme Court has postponed the date that former President Moshe Katsav must begin serving his prison sentence on rape and sexual assault convictions.

Katsav had been scheduled to enter prison May 8 to serve a seven-year sentence, but the court granted a delay Tuesday following his appeal the previous day. The court set a May 11 date to hear a final appeal by Katsav's attorneys.

The conviction was handed down in the Tel Aviv District Court in December.

U.S. Supreme Court Will Hear Appeal On Jerusalem Passport


 (JTA) — The U.S. Supreme Court said it will hear the appeal of a U.S. citizen born in Jerusalem whose parents want Israel listed as his country of birth on his passport.

Israel: Australian Man Spied For Hamas


(JTA) — An Australian citizen was arrested by Israel and charged with spying for Hamas.

Iaad Rashid Abu Arja, 46, a computer expert, was indicted in Petach Tikvah District Court last week, accused of being recruited by the banned Islamic organization.

Israeli prosecutors allege that Arja, who holds dual Australian and Saudi citizenship, was asked to provide intelligence and surveillance information on key technology companies in Israel. He also holds a Jordanian passport.

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