United States

Diplomat Richard Holbrooke dies at 69

December 14, 2010

The US diplomat credited with bringing peace to the Balkans has died at the age of 69.

Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, who was of Jewish descent, was serving as the Obama administration's envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

He was admitted to hospital on Friday for a torn aorta, but died after unsuccessful surgery.


Traffic jam: Time for some Jewish dancing

By Jennifer Lipman, December 8, 2010
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When the road ahead is blocked, the obvious thing to do is to leave your car and dance.


Helen Thomas: anger over Zionist conspiracy claims

By Jennifer Lipman, December 6, 2010

The former White House journalist who called for all Jews to "get the hell out of Palestine" has caused further controversy by claiming that "Zionists" control US foreign policy.

Helen Thomas, who lost her job with Hearst Newspapers after she caught on film making the denigrating comments, told an audience in Detroit that America is “owned by propagandists against the Arabs.”

The 90-year-old, who enjoyed a decades-long career at the forefront of US political journalism until the scandal last June, was speaking during a seminar on anti-Arab bias.


On this day: Dedication of the Touro Synagogue, in Newport

By Jennifer Lipman, December 2, 2010

Today the USA is home to the largest Jewish population in the Diaspora, but the first Jewish settlements in North America did not emerge until the 1650s in New Amsterdam, the colonial capital later renamed New York. The first synagogue in the US was not in New York, however, but in the tiny state of Rhode Island.


US to Palestinians: Western Wall has Jewish significance

By Jennifer Lipman, December 1, 2010

The Obama administration has rejected the controversial claim by a Palestinian official that there is no Jewish connection to the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Last week Palestinian Authority minister Al-Mutawakil Taha said in a report that "this wall has never been a part of what is called the Jewish Temple.

"It was Islamic tolerance which allowed the Jews to stand before it and cry over its loss."


On this day: the Hollywood Ten are blacklisted

By Jennifer Lipman, November 25, 2010

It can be hard to believe that in a country where freedoms and rights are at the heart of politics, vast proportions of the population were for years persecuted for their political views.

For many involved in the United States entertainment industry, the late 1940s and early 1950s were a time when answering the question “Are you now, or have you ever been, a communist?” could destroy a career.

Orchestrated by the fervent anti-communism of Senator Joe McCarthy, the Red Scare saw men and women called before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC)


US blasts Israel on religious freedom

By Paul Berger, November 25, 2010

The State of Israel discriminates against non-Orthodox Jews and non-Jews, according to a US State Department report.

The critical assessment is included in the department's Annual Report on International Religious Freedom, released last week.

Among the many criticisms, the report found that Israeli state funding favours the Orthodox and that the government puts greater resources into Jewish holy places than other religious sites.

Eight countries - Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan - gave the US most cause for concern.


Hall of Fame: Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker

November 23, 2010

"The event commemorates the holiday in the western tradition of Texas.

"Participants are encouraged to wear jeans, boots and cowboy hats, and the Chanucah story is retold around a campfire."


Zuckerberg, Emanuel on Fortune power list

By Jennifer Lipman, November 23, 2010

The 26-year-old founder of Facebook has been placed fourth in an annual list ranking the world’s top businesspeople by Fortune magazine.

Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerberg, who created the influential social networking site from his college dorm-room in 2004, is the highest ranked Jewish businessman on the list.

The list also includes the CEOs of Starbucks and Kraft Foods, Howard Schultz and Irene Rosenfeld.


On this day: Ellis Island closes

By Jennifer Lipman, November 12, 2010

Ellis Island, sold by New York State to the US government for the princely sum of £5,500 at the beginning of the 19th century, was the main entry point to the US for more than six decades. At its peak some 5,000 people passed through it for inspection each day.

From 1892, when the control centre opened its doors, around 15 million immigrants passed through this island a few miles from Manhattan’s southern tip.

More than two million of them were Jewish, fleeing the pogroms Russia and around Eastern Europe and in search of a better life in the New World.