United States

Jewish Agency switches focus to 'peoplehood'

By Paul Berger, October 14, 2010

Misha Galperin is adamant that the Jewish Agency for Israel is not changing direction.

"It's changing strategy," said Mr Galperin, from his 31st-floor corner office near Grand Central Terminal in New York.

When the Agency was formed in 1929, its aim was a Jewish state. After 1948, it focused on helping millions make aliyah.

This year, Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky announced the Agency's focus would be peoplehood.

More..

Band Aid for jailed slaughter boss

By Paul Berger, October 14, 2010

The uplifting music video bears the hallmarks of a disaster relief campaign - an all-star lineup, soft focus shots of musicians in a recording studio, smiling adults and children holding hands.

But Unity, released last week, urges help not for a famine-ravaged people but for Sholom Rubashkin, the convicted former manager of Agriprocessors, once America's largest kosher slaughterhouse.

When 51-year-old Rubashkin was jailed this summer for a string of financial crimes, his 27-year sentence shocked many in the Orthodox and the non-Orthodox world.

More..

Nicole Krauss nominated for National Book Award

By Jennifer Lipman, October 13, 2010

Jewish American author Nicole Krauss has been nominated for the prestigious National Book Award for her latest book, Great House.

The writer, married to novelist Jonathan Safran Foer, is one of five authors competing in the fiction category.

The book, her third, tells the story of reclusive novelist and an antiques dealer in Jerusalem.

More..

Helen Thomas: 'you can't criticise Israel'

By Jennifer Lipman, October 12, 2010

Helen Thomas, the White House reporter who resigned after calling for all Jews to "get the hell out of Palestine" has dismissed claims that she is antisemitic as “baloney”.

However the 90-year-old veteran Washington correspondent said that even after apologising for the comments she “had the same feelings about Israel's aggression and brutality.”

More..

On this day: The end of the Salem witch trials

By Jennifer Lipman, October 12, 2010

Nineteen men and women were hanged in 1692 for the crime of witchcraft in Salem. At the time, under British law, consorting with the devil was viewed as a crime against their government.

The events of that year and the characters involved formed the basis for Arthur Miller’s classic play The Crucible. Born to Jewish immigrant parents in New York in 1915, Miller, who was married to Marilyn Monroe for five years, started his career as a journalist. While still a college student in 1936 he wrote his first play, No Villain.

More..

Is this lobby really 'pro-Israel'? We are all about to find out

By Shmuel Rosner, October 7, 2010

The facts are not all known at this point in time, but there's enough to make the case that J Street - the relatively new, dovish, "pro-Israel, pro-peace" Jewish lobby - might be in big trouble. In the past couple of days, four troubling facts were revealed about J Street's activity.

More..

J Street now under fire for Goldstone aid

By Nathan Guttman, October 7, 2010

The dovish Israel lobby J Street is facing even more criticism in the US following claims the group had been involved in arranging meetings for Judge Richard Goldstone on Capitol Hill.

This report, published in the Washington Times, comes only a week after the paper revealed that J Street has been receiving donations from billionaire George Soros, a fact that had previously been denied by heads of the lobby.

More..

Fury as Jewish paper pulls same-sex marriage announcements

By Jennifer Lipman, October 6, 2010

The publisher of a Jewish newspaper has said a controversial decision to stop printing same-sex marriage announcements may have been made “too quickly”.

The New Jersey Jewish Standard had published a piece on its “Lifecycles page” marking the engagement of Avichai David Smolen, 23, and Justin Taylor Rosen, 24, in the September 24 edition of the New Jersey weekly.

More..

Hall of Infamy: Faisal Shahzad

October 6, 2010

"Brace yourselves, because the war with Muslims has just begun. Consider me only a first droplet of the blood that will follow me.

"[George W Bush] said 'You are either with us or against us'. And so it's very clear for us Muslims, either we are with the mujahedeen or we are with crusading Jews and Christians. There is no in between.”

More..

On this day: Louis D. Brandeis dies

By Jennifer Lipman, October 5, 2010

With the appointment of Elana Kagan this year there are now three Jewish judges sitting on America’s highest court, and there have been eight in history. But Louis Dembitz Brandeis was the first.

Born in 1856, in Louisville, Kentucky, his parents came to America from Europe. They sent their son for education in Germany He never attended college but managed to gain entrance to Harvard Law School, becoming one of its youngest students to be admitted to the bar.

He became a lawyer in Boston, making a name for himself as the champion of the underdog with fights for minimum wage laws.

More..