United States

A 'Jewish visionary': singer Debbie Friedman mourned

By Jennifer Lipman, January 10, 2011

An influential American singer-songwriter who led a guitar session at Limmud last month has died after being hospitalised with pneumonia.

Debbie Friedman, who was in her late 50s, was considered a key figure in the revival of music within prayer and credited with "reminding Jewish people how to sing”.

In a career spanning more than three decades, Ms Friedman released more than 20 albums, a host of awards and played to vast audiences at venues around the world, including at several Limmud conferences in Britain.

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Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords critical as suspect Loughner appears in court

By Jennifer Lipman, January 10, 2011

Doctors for the Jewish congresswoman critically wounded during a shooting rampage at an Arizona supermarket have said there are signs she could recover.

Six people were killed, including her political aide Gabe Zimmerman, and 13 others injured in the attack on Saturday in Tuscon.

The man suspected of being behind the shooting spree, Jared Loughner, will appear in court today on several charges including attempting to assassinate Gabrielle Giffords.

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On this day: Arrest in Mississippi Civil Rights murders

By Jennifer Lipman, January 6, 2011

In the “Freedom Summer” of 1964 three civil rights activists in America’s Deep South – two of whom were Jewish - were lynched in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

In 1988 the murders of Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney became the subject of the Oscar-winning film Mississippi Burning. But it took more than four decades for their killer to be brought to justice, when a jury indicted Edgar Ray Killen on three counts of murder.

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Jewish Harvard grad aims for Miss America crown

By Jennifer Lipman, January 4, 2011

The granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor is in the running to become the next Miss America.

Harvard graduate Loren Galler Rabinowitz, whose parents are both doctors, won the Miss Massachusetts contest last year, making her the state’s representative for the national pageant.

Ms Rabinowitz, 24, is a former ice-skating champion. She entered her first pageant with the hope of using the prize to fund medical school.

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On this day: The beginning of the Klu Klux Klan

By Jennifer Lipman, December 24, 2010

In the aftermath of the American Civil War, veterans of the Confederate side grouped together in Tennessee to form the KKK.

Also known as the Klan, the far-right organisation was ostensibly a private social club dedicated to returning the greatness of the antebellum Old South but soon became known for hunting down black people and other minorities under a mixture of nationalist and white-supremacist ideology.

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Galloway barred from USA

By Jennifer Lipman, December 22, 2010

George Galloway was denied entry into America last week. The former Respect MP and notorious pro-Palestinian activist was due to speak in five US cities, but was barred from flying in from London by US authorities.

The Muslim Legal Fund of America, which organised the tour, said the ban was because of "visa problems".

Mr Galloway reportedly said that the decision to ban him was not political, but down to a "technical glitch at Heathrow Airport".

He added: "My office is now in touch with the embassy in London to fix it."

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Netanyahu: I will push Obama to release Pollard

By Jennifer Lipman, December 22, 2010

Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that he will push President Barack Obama for the release of a Jewish American jailed by the US for spying in 1987.

The Israeli prime minister said in a statement that he would press for the release of Jonathan Pollard "in a formal and public manner".

However White House officials dismissed the possibility of letting the former Navy intelligence analyst out of prison early.

President Obama’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, said: "I am not aware that that's something that the president is looking at doing.”

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Barred from US, Galloway vows 'nothing will stop me'

By Jennifer Lipman, December 17, 2010

George Galloway has been denied entry into America.

The former Respect MP, and notorious pro-Palestinian activist was due to speak in five US cities but was barred by US authorities. The Muslim Legal Fund of America, which organised the tour, said the ban was because of “visa problems”.

Mr Galloway, who last month was disciplined by broadcasting standards monitor Ofcom for breaching the rules on impartiality during his Press TV show, instead used Skype to address crowds via webcam.

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Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg named Time Magazine Person of the Year

By Jennifer Lipman, December 15, 2010

The Jewish computer-genius who founded Facebook from his college bedroom has been named as the Time Magazine Person of the Year.

Mark Zuckerberg, 26, joins other Jewish winners of the prestigious award, including US politician Henry Kissinger and Ben Bernanke, chairman of the US Federal Reserve. However, in 83 years of naming a Person of the Year, Time has also chosen Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler.

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On this day: Gone With the Wind premieres

By Jennifer Lipman, December 15, 2010

Jewish producer David O Selznick earned an Oscar for the film version of Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 novel Gone with the Wind. The film, first shown in a star-studded Atlanta screening on December 15, won ten Academy Awards in total and the date of its premiere was declared a state holiday by the governor of Georgia.

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