United States

JFK speechwriter Sorenson dies

By Jennifer Lipman, November 1, 2010

Theodore Sorensen, John F Kennedy’s speechwriter, has died at the age of 82.

Mr Sorenson, whose mother Annis Chaikin was of Russian Jewish descent, died in New York following a stroke.
He joined the future president’s senatorial staff in 1953, when he was 25 and just out of law school.

He worked with President Kennedy during the 1960 presidential election and was one of the main figures in what came to be known as Camelot.

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Security high after Chicago synagogue cargo bomb threat

By Jennifer Lipman, November 1, 2010

Security has been stepped up at Jewish organisations in Chicago following the attempt to mail two bombs to synagogues in the city.

Jewish groups across the United States are on high alert after two packages containing explosive material hidden inside printer cartridges were intercepted on planes coming out of Dubai and East Midlands airports.

John Brennan, the US deputy national security adviser, has cautioned that there might be more attempts of the same type.

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Capitol Hill is at the end of my road

October 28, 2010

Washington is one of the most exciting cities I've ever been in - and I took a gap year in south-east Asia.

Capitol Hill is at the end of my road and my house is right by the Lincoln Memorial and the National Mall. It's like living down the road from Parliament and in walking distance from St Paul's Cathedral.

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Hall of Infamy: Kaukab Siddique

October 25, 2010

"We must stand united to defeat, to destroy, to dismantle Israel.

"Dear brothers and sisters, unite and rise up against this hydra-headed monster which calls itself Zionism."

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Catholic who took Jewish daughter to mass cleared

By Jennifer Lipman, October 21, 2010

A Catholic man from Chicago who took his Jewish daughter to midnight mass has been cleared of contempt of court.

Joseph Reyes's ex-wife Rebecca Shapiro applied for a restraining order in 2009 to prevent him from exposing their three-year-old daughter to any religion other than Judaism.

The couple was embroiled in a custody battle at the time.

Mr Reyes had previously arranged for Ela to be baptised and even sent his former wife a photograph of the ceremony.

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New York Shul attackers planned missile launch

By Paul Berger, October 21, 2010

Four Muslim converts have been found guilty of attempting to blow up two New York synagogues and to shoot down military planes.

After eight days of deliberations, a New York jury this week returned
a verdict of guilty on all eight counts against James Cromitie, 44, and David Williams, 29. The charges included attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.

Onta Williams, 34, and Laguerre Payen, 29, were acquitted of attempting to kill officers and other employees of the United States. They were convicted on the remaining seven counts.

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America's Next Top Model: Esther Petrack's mother hits back

By Jennifer Lipman, October 19, 2010

The mother of an Orthodox Jewish reality show contestant has blamed bad editing for the “scandalous” suggestion that her daughter would give up Shabbat for the sake of her modelling career.

Esther Petrack, 18, is one of the candidates for the latest season of America's Next Top Model.

From a religious family in Boston, she was born in Jerusalem and attended a Jewish school.

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Israeli billionaire arrested for sons' wild party

By Jennifer Lipman, October 15, 2010

An Israeli business tycoon has been arrested after his teenage sons held an alcohol-fuelled party at the family’s Florida mansion – and invited 500 underage guests.

Shlomi Rasabi and his wife Jeannie agreed to stay upstairs in their £4.6 million home while their 16 and 17 year-old sons hosted the event.

Police went to the property in the wealthy suburb of Boca Raton after receiving calls about noise disturbance. After they found a group of teenage girls vomiting outside, they raided the party and discovered that the boys’ parents were at home.

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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.

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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.

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