United States

Kosher meat plant boss wins child-labour case

June 17, 2010

The beleaguered former manager of America's largest kosher meatpacking plant has been cleared by a jury of employing underage workers.

"These charges were antithetical to everything Sholom Rubashkin is about and the acquittal vindicates him both as a person and as a businessman," said Guy Cook, a member of Mr Rubashkin's defence team. "He is overjoyed."

The acquittal came as a relief to Mr Rubashkin, the former CEO of the Agriprocessors slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa, who was convicted of 86 counts of bank fraud in November.

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White House reporter quits job

By Jennifer Lipman, June 7, 2010

The veteran White House journalist who caused a political storm after calling for all Jews to "get the hell out of Palestine" has announced her retirement.

Helen Thomas, a Hearst Newspapers journalist and the daughter of Lebanese immigrants, had faced calls for her resignation from several senior political commentators and has now said she will leave her job immediately.

It comes after video footage emerged of Ms Thomas, 89, saying Jews in Israel should "go back home to Poland, Germany, America and everywhere else."

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San Francisco row over Israel support

By Sue Fishkoff, June 3, 2010

The famously left-wing San Francisco community is embroiled in a dispute over how much criticism of Israel it should support.

In February, the city's Jewish Community Federation, which is the community's main funding body and umbrella group, announced new funding guidelines regarding Israel.

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Catholic is ordered to keep Shabbat

By Paul Berger, June 3, 2010

A Catholic woman has been banned from driving on Saturdays when looking after her seven-year-old Jewish stepson and ordered to cook him only kosher food.

A Chicago judge ordered Laura Derbigney and her husband Nelson to follow these and other rules during an acrimonious custody battle with Mr Derbigney's Orthodox ex-wife.

The judge also stipulated where Mrs Derbigney could shop for kosher food and instructed that the boy must wear a kippah to school.

Mrs Derbigney, a Hispanic Catholic, described the order as "quite intrusive.

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Wiesel blasts 'obscene' Madoff play

By Nathan Guttman, May 27, 2010

Some issues might still be too sensitive. This could be the lesson learned by Washington's Jewish theatre, which had to cancel a play on the Madoff financial scandal.

In Imagining Madoff, by playwright Deb Margolin, a fictional Bernie Madoff is depicted sitting in his prison cell as he recalls a conversation he had with Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate whose foundation lost more than $15 million in Madoff's Ponzi scam.

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Nazi to be deported from US

May 27, 2010

An 85-year-old man, who has admitted he was a SS guard at three Nazi concentration camps, has had his US citizenship revoked and will be deported to Austria.

Yugoslavian-born Anton Geiser, who now lives in Sharon, Philadelphia, admitted he served as an SS guard in Sachsenhausen in 1943, where he marched forced labourers and was on orders to shoot attempted escapees. He was a member of the SS Death's Head battalion.

Mr Geiser stayed in Austria from 1948 to 1956, before he emigrated to the US.

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Obama welcomes heritage festival

By Hilary Krieger, May 27, 2010

For the first time since its inception four years ago, Jewish American Heritage Month has received a full-blown White House reception, hosted this week by US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

The event was due to feature some of the biggest names in US Jewry, from sports and literary icons to leading scholars and businessmen - not to mention Jewish members of Congress, major Democratic political players and key Obama fundraisers.

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Extremists threats at Rahm Emanuel son's barmitzvah

By Simon Griver, May 21, 2010

White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is in discussions with his family about whether to hold the barmitzvah of his son Zack in Israel next week after he received threats from right-wing extremists.

Mr Emanuel had told a conference in Washington last year that he was going to arrange the barmitzvah by the Western Wall in late May. Israel's Foreign Ministry received an enquiry in January from Mr Emanuel's office about the logistics.

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Third Jew may join the US Supreme Court

By Nathan Guttman, May 13, 2010

If Elena Kagan, President Obama's choice for the US Supreme Court, is confirmed by the Senate, it will be the first time three woman justices are in the Supreme Court at the same time.

For the US Jewish community, Ms Kagan's appointment is another landmark. She will be the third Jew sitting Supreme Court justice, joining Ruth Bader-Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.

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Mother-in-law jokes OK, court rules

May 13, 2010

An American federal court judge has defended one woman's right to make jokes about her mother-in-law.

Comic Sunda Croonquist, who is a regular on the Hollywood comedy circuit, was taken to court by her husband's mother, Ruth Zafrin, for allegedly spreading false, defamatory and racist lies about her.

Ms Croonquist, who is half-Swedish and half-black, converted to Judaism before she met her husband, and regularly jokes about her relationship with her mother-in law and sister-in-law.

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