United States

Los Angeles synagogue gunman evades capture

By Tom Tugend, November 5, 2009

The Los Angeles Jewish community remained on alert this week as police continued their hunt for a gunman who shot and wounded two congregants at a Sephardic synagogue.

The shooting occurred last week in the underground garage of the Adat Yeshurun Valley Sephardic Synagogue in suburban north Hollywood.

A young man, described as dark-skinned and wearing a dark, hooded sweat shirt, approached one worshipper arriving for early morning services and tried to shoot him, but the gun jammed.

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Families flee Yemen for US

By Paul Berger, November 5, 2009

Dozens of Jews have been evacuated from Yemen in a clandestine operation by the US government.

Yemen’s Jewish population is thought to date back about 2,500 years. The majority of its Jews, about 49,000 people, were airlifted to Israel in Operation Magic Carpet during 1949 and 1950. By the beginning of this year, about 300 remained.

Yemen has become increasingly unstable and growing Islamic militancy has brought a rise in antisemitism.

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Analysis: Israeli MKs were wrong to attend J- Street

By Yoav Sivan, October 29, 2009

Ten current and former members of the Knesset from parties on the left and centre-left — Meretz, Labour and Kadima — have just been in Washington to attend the first conference of J Street, a new American-Jewish lobby group that fancies itself as a counterweight to Aipac.

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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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