United States

1,500 back launch of US 'peace' lobby

By Nathan Guttman, October 29, 2009

“This is truly a birth of a movement,” declared Jeremy Ben-Ami, executive director of J Street, the dovish Israel lobby, at his group’s first ever national conference.

For Mr Ben-Ami, the three-day parley in Washington DC, which brought together 1,500 activists, was a success. It attracted attention from the media and the foreign policy community, gained a stamp of approval from the administration and many members of Congress, and overcame a boycott by the Israeli ambassador to Washington.

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One-man fight to save Jewish delis

By Sue Finkoff, October 22, 2009

Chicago and Cleveland serve the best corned beef. Montreal has the best smoked meat, New York owns pastrami, and no one can touch London for pickled tongue.

That’s what 30-year-old Toronto native David Sax says, and he should know: he spent three years eating his way through more than 150 Jewish delis to research Save the Deli: In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen.

Mr Sax’s book, newly released in the US, is a delicious romp through a fast-disappearing world.

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Top scientist 'is Israel spy'

By Paul Berger, October 22, 2009

An apparently Jewish scientist was charged this week with attempting to sell classified secrets to Israel.

Stewart Nozette, 52, of Maryland, was caught in a sting operation by an FBI agent posing as an Israeli spy. He twice passed classified information to the agent over several weeks.

Mr Nozette appeared in court on Tuesday, accused of two counts of attempting to communicate, deliver and transmit classified information. If convicted he faces life in jail.

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New seal for kosher food that is 'ethical'

By Paul Berger, September 24, 2009

When US immigration officers raided Agriprocessors, America’s largest kosher slaughterhouse and meatpacking plant, last year, the Jewish community was shocked and ashamed. Dozens of illegal immigrants were arrested, many alleging sexual harassment, unpaid wages and forced overtime.

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Schools struggle to stay open in US

By Paul Berger, September 3, 2009

Ray Levi, head of the Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School, has had to increase aid for struggling parents, freeze teachers’ pay, reduce benefits and cut support staff.

So it is perhaps a sign of how fragility has become a fact of life for American Jewish day schools that Mr Levi is upbeat. “Despite all the problems we face, I think there is a lot of promise for day schools in America,” he says.

Enrolment remains high and his primary school has strong communal support. But others are not so fortunate.

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Oy! You’re killing me. Laugh? I hardly started

August 27, 2009

Have you heard the one about the Jewish woman suing her daughter-in-law for telling too many mother-in-law jokes?

Comic Sunda Croonquist, who is a regular on the Hollywood comedy circuit, is being taken to court by her husband’s mother, Ruth Zafrin, for allegedly spreading false, defamatory and racist lies about her. Mrs Zafrin seeks damages and requests that Ms Croonquist remove any offensive statements from her website and routines.

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Hebrew school opens - but it is not Jewish

By Paul Berger, August 20, 2009

After a bumpy start and a last-minute scramble to find a home, New York’s first state-funded primary school to specialise in the teaching of Hebrew will open its doors on Monday.

The Hebrew Language Academy is open to Jews and non-Jews alike. Because it is publicly funded and America has a strict separation between church and state, the school had to be vetted by New York State’s board of education to ensure there would be no religious instruction.

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American Jews ‘losing their faith’

By Simon Rocker, August 13, 2009

The number of American Jews who regard themselves as culturally rather than religiously Jewish has almost doubled in a decade, according to new research.

American Jews who identify by ethnicity have increased from 20 per cent to 37 per cent of the American Jewish population since 1990, while the proportion of those who follow any of the streams of Judaism has dropped by more than a fifth in the same period.

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Envoy could be sacked after Israeli policy attack

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 13, 2009

An Israeli diplomat could be forced to resign following the publication of a letter he wrote criticising the government’s foreign policy.

The consul in Boston, Nadav Tamir, wrote in his letter that the government’s current attitude towards the American administration was causing Israel “strategic damage” and harming the “special relationship” between the countries.

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NY crash pilot was Jewish businessman

By Jessica Elgot, August 11, 2009

The pilot killed in this weekend's New York plane and helicopter collision was a wealthy Jewish philanthropist who used the plane in which he died in to transport sick people to hospital for charity.

Steven Altman, 60, a property tycoon from Ambler, near Philadelphia, was flying the plane in clear weather, with his brother Daniel and his 15-year-old nephew Douglas when he hit a helicopter and crashed into the Hudson River, Manhattan.

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