United States

Orthodox marriages are 'happier', US survey shows

By Paul Berger, January 21, 2010

Orthodox marriages are happier than the average American marriage, according to a new survey.

The Aleinu Marriage Satisfaction Survey, conducted by the Orthodox Union, found that 72 per cent of Orthodox Jewish men and 74 per cent of Orthodox Jewish women rated their marriage as excellent or very good.

A 2008 General Social Survey found that only 63 per cent of American men and 60 per cent of women are very happy with their marriage.

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"Race hate" passenger thrown off jet

By Robyn Rosen, January 7, 2010

A man has been arrested after allegedly becoming aggressive and using antisemitic threats on a Detroit-bound airplane in Miami aiport.

Mansour Mohammad Asad stood up as Northwest Airlines Flight 2485 was about to take off from Miami International Airport on Wednesday evening and said: “I'm a Palestinian and want to kill all the Jews,” according to a report by the Miami-Dade Police Department.

The plane returned to the gate where police officers removed him and used a taser when he became aggressive during a search.

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Sex tapes rock the Orthodox

By Paul Berger, December 23, 2009

Recordings of sexually explicit conversations, apparently between a strictly Orthodox rabbi and a woman he was helping convert to Judaism, are rocking the entire Orthodox world.

New York Rabbi Leib Tropper resigned earlier this month from the organisation he founded, Eternal Jewish Family (EJF), after posters appeared in Orthodox neighbourhoods of Jerusalem insinuating that he had committed sexual indiscretions.

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Reform is too frum for us, say members

By Sue Fishkoff, December 17, 2009

For the past decade, the American Reform movement has been engaged in a re-evaluation of traditional rituals, from Shabbat to kashrut. There is more Hebrew in the services, more yarmulkes, more interest in using mitzvot to bring holiness to the mundane.

But now, a small group of mainly older Reform Jews is resisting. They say this growing interest in ritual observance is a betrayal of Reform’s original rationalist approach to faith, and is putting the movement on the slippery slope towards Orthodoxy.

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Roger Cohen - new target of New York Jews' fury

By Paul Berger, December 17, 2009

It’s been quite a year for Roger Cohen. The British-born New York Times columnist has been called a “self-hating Jew” and accused of attempting to “undermine American solidarity with Israel”. The editor of America’s largest Jewish paper, the New York Jewish Week, even wondered whether his heart had “become brutal”.

Mr Cohen’s crime: a succession of columns sharply criticising Israel and presenting an alternative view of Iran.

“I don’t set out to be provocative,” Mr Cohen says, from his home in Brooklyn. “I set out to write what I believe.”

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New York 'tight conversions' rabbi resigns

By Paul Berger, December 17, 2009

The founder of a powerful American group that seeks to enforce a tough stance on conversions has abruptly resigned.

Leib Tropper, a strictly Orthodox rabbi who founded the New York-based Eternal Jewish Family, said he was stepping down last weekend to “pursue a variety of other interests”.

In the past week, images appeared on several Jewish blogs showing posters on display in Orthodox neighbourhoods of Jerusalem accusing him of indiscretions.

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Seeking tales of Jews fleeing from Arab countries

By Sue Fishkoff in San Francisco, December 3, 2009

Joseph Samuels, born Yosef Sasson in Baghdad, was 18 years old when he fled Iraq for the new state of Israel.

It was 1949, and life was becoming increasingly difficult for Jews in Iraq, as it was throughout the Arab world. Yosef’s parents urged him to leave, promising they would follow.

He took a train to the coast with his younger brother, where they crammed into a smuggler’s boat with 16 other Jewish youths. They rowed secretly to Iran, where the Sasson boys were airlifted to Israel.

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Lawyer charged in $1.2b Ponzi scheme

By Ellen Tumposky, December 3, 2009

A prominent Florida lawyer who was a major donor to US politicians and to Chabad has been charged with running a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme.

Scott Rothstein, 47, was arrested on five racketeering and fraud charges and could face up to 100 years in prison. He pleaded not guilty to the charges, which included conspiracy to commit money laundering, mail fraud and wire fraud, and was being held without bail.

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US 'antisemitism ambassador' is critical of pro-Israel right

By Paul Berger, New York, November 26, 2009

The US State Department has appointed a new special envoy to monitor and combat global antisemitism.

Hannah Rosenthal, 58, a former director of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, will assume the post, which was created by Congress in 2004.

Ms Rosenthal’s appointment has already been met with some scepticism by conservative Jews because of her past criticism of the “narrow, ultra-conservative views” that dominate American pro-Israel groups.

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'Ethical' food, not kosher, is priority for US Reform

By Sue Fishkoff, November 26, 2009

For the past few years, the American Reform movement has been edging toward a re-examination of kashrut. Those tentative steps were diverted somewhat at the movement’s biennial convention in Toronto earlier this month.

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