United States

On this day: New Amsterdam becomes a city

By Jennifer Lipman, February 2, 2011

The city now known as the Big Apple began life as a Dutch colonial settlement, taking the name New York in 1664. Chosen as the capital of New Netherland and given municipal rights on February 2 1653, it had a population of just 5,000 by 1700 but by the time of American independence that had grown to about 25,000.

There are now near to 19 million people in New York State; it is estimated that more than 1.6 million of them are Jewish. It wasn’t always that way; the first Jewish community arrived in 1654.

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Angelina Jolie should go to Israel, says dad Jon Voight

By Jennifer Lipman, February 1, 2011

Angelina Jolie’s father has expressed his desire for his daughter to visit Israel.

Actor Jon Voight, a prominent Republican supporter who is in Israel with former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee this week, said he would “love to see” the Tomb Raider star tour Israel.

He said: “That would be a nice thing.”

Mr Voight, 72, the star of Midnight Cowboy, admitted he did not know his daughter’s views on the Middle East. The two were estranged for many years, but have been back in touch over the last year.

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On this day: Roman Polanski flees

By Jennifer Lipman, February 1, 2011

When the Swiss Justice Ministry rejected an extradition request from the United States for Polanski last summer, it was just the latest chapter in a story every bit as dramatic and complex as one of the director’s films.

Born Raimund Liebling in Paris, Polanski survived the Holocaust by escaping from the Krakow ghetto, although his mother was killed in Auschwitz.

After the war he worked his way up in the Polish film world, moving to Hollywood in the 1960s and going on to make Oscar-winning classics including Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown, and The Pianist.

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On this day: Norman Mailer is born

By Jennifer Lipman, January 31, 2011

In the canon of influential Jewish writers of the last century, Normal Mailer is up there with the likes of Phillip Roth.

The author of The Armies of the Night, The Executioner's Song and The Castle in the Forest, a man who managed to infuriate feminists in almost everything he did, feuded with Gore Vidal and once ran for the job of mayor of New York, Mailer will certainly go down as one of the greats of literary history.

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Rahm Emanuel back in Chicago mayoral race

By Jennifer Lipman, January 26, 2011

Barack Obama’s former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is back in the running to become the next Mayor of Chicago.

Mr Emanuel, the son of an Irgun fighter, confirmed his interest in succeeding long-time Mayor Richard Daley in the post last October, when he left Washington Dc to return to his home city.

However his candidacy has been beset by queries over whether he qualifies as a resident, having lived outside the city, and earlier this week a court ruled that his name should be taken off the ballot.

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Rahm Emanuel vows to fight on in Chicago mayoral race

By Jennifer Lipman, January 25, 2011

Rahm Emanuel is expected to appeal against a decision banning him from running for mayor of Chicago.

Mr Emanuel, formerly President Barack Obama’s chief of staff and a onetime senior aide to Bill Clinton, has been declared ineligible for the vote on February 22 because he has not been a resident in the city for long enough.

An Illinois court said that Mr Emanuel did not qualify to appear on the ballot because he had not lived in Chicago for the last year.

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'Nigeria 'bribe' lawyer loses extradition-appeal

By James Brewster, January 20, 2011

A British solicitor has failed in a High Court bid to block his extradition to the United States where he faces charges of aiding and abetting an enormous corruption plot.

Jeffrey Tesler, 62, is accused by the American authorities of involvement in an international conspiracy to channel bribes to senior officials in Nigeria.

Mr Tesler, who works for a legal practice in Tottenham, north London, argued that the alleged conduct complained of did not occur in America, and there were “insufficiently substantial links” between it and the US to legally justify extradition.

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Joe Lieberman quits after 'barrier-breaking' rise in US politics

By Jennifer Lipman, January 19, 2011

One of the most senior Jewish politicians in the United States, and the only Jewish vice-presidential candidate in the history of the major parties, has announced his departure from the Senate today.

Senator Joe Lieberman, who was first elected to represent Connecticut for the Democratic party in 1988 but left to run as an independent in 2006, said he will not contest a fifth election next year.

Speaking to an audience including six of his grandchildren, he recalled the journey his grandparents had made to America a century before.

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Hall of Infamy: Governor Robert Bentley

January 19, 2011

"Now I will have to say that, if we don't have the same daddy, we're not brothers and sisters.

"Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I'm telling you, you're not my brother."

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Jewish mother matchmaking site launches

By Jennifer Lipman, January 19, 2011

The stereotype of the Jewish mother meddling in her children’s love-lives has moved one step closer to the truth.

A site allowing Jewish mothers to pick potential sons and daughters-in-law has launched in Kentucky in the United States.

TheJMom.com was set up by Danielle Weisberg and her brother Brad at the end of last year, after their mother Barbara got involved in his online dating search.

After Mrs Weisberg found ten potential partners for her son in two hours, the siblings decided the idea would be worth expanding.

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