United States

'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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Guilty: kosher abattoir owner faces 1,255 years in prison after giant fraud

November 19, 2009

The former CEO of America’s largest kosher slaughterhouse has been convicted on 86 charges of fraud.

A South Dakota jury declared Sholom Rubashkin, formerly of the Agriprocessors kosher meatpacking plant in Iowa, guilty of bank, mail and wire fraud; making false statements to a bank; money laundering; and ignoring an order to pay livestock providers. He was acquitted on five counts.

A date for sentencing has yet to be announced but Rubashkin, 50, could face up to 1,255 years in jail.

He still faces trial on 72 charges relating to immigration violations.

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Mixed-race Jewish children locate their communal comfort zone

By Sue Fishkoff, November 12, 2009

Dafna Wu, a 48-year-old San Francisco nurse, was born to a Jewish mother and Chinese father. She was raised Jewish but looks Asian, as does her daughter, nine-year-old Amalia, whose father was also Chinese.

The Hebrew School Amalia attends is filled with mixed-race children, but the parents in the congregation are all white, as is the majority of American Jewry. That concerns her mother.

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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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