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Famed attorney Alan Dershowitz hangs out the porch of the Chilmark General Store in the Martha's Vineyard town of Chilmark, Mass. (Anthony Weiss/JTA)
Famed attorney Alan Dershowitz hangs out the porch of the Chilmark General Store in the Martha's Vineyard town of Chilmark, Mass. (Anthony Weiss/JTA)

After Harvard, Alan Dershowitz plans an active — and combative — retirement

  CHILMARK, Mass. (JTA) — Alan Dershowitz’s house is a bit of a mess.Most of the rooms in his Martha’s Vineyard home are cluttered with half-unpacked boxes filled with items from his Cambridge house, which he and his wife emptied recently and sold after he retired from his Harvard Law School professorship in June.Dershowitz himself […]

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Liam Ferguson, center, who is moving to Israel with his parents, hiking along Alaska’s Kesugi Ridge with his sister, Zoey, left, and a family friend. (Courtesy of Stewart Ferguson)
Liam Ferguson, center, who is moving to Israel with his parents, hiking along Alaska’s Kesugi Ridge with his sister, Zoey, left, and a family friend. (Courtesy of Stewart Ferguson)

From grizzly bears to Gaza rockets: Alaskan olim head for Israel

(JTA) — Rebecca Scoggin lived in a lot of places growing up: Juneau, Nome, Fairbanks, Homer, Anchorage. But except for the two years she lived in Seattle after high school, she never lived outside Alaska. At least she hadn’t until a few months ago. Inspired by a Birthright trip she took at age 19, Scoggin […]

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Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, father of Jewish Renewal, dies

(JTA) — Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, the father of the Jewish Renewal movement, has died at age 89. A maverick rabbi from an Orthodox background who spent time in the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, Schachter-Shalomi transitioned over time toward a New Age, neo-Hasidic approach, gaining a substantial following on his own but also influencing other Jewish denominations. His nontraditional approaches to […]

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Demonstrators in Washington celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case, June 30, 2014. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Demonstrators in Washington celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case, June 30, 2014. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Jewish groups stand by religious freedom law, but Supremes’ take in Hobby Lobby ruling divides them

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Two decades ago the Jewish community united in support of landmark religious freedom legislation. Now the Supreme Court’s application of that law has Jewish groups divided. Leading Jewish advocacy groups denounced the court’s 5-4 decision Monday in theHobby Lobby case granting religious freedoms protections to companies, while Orthodox groups lauded the ruling. In ruling that […]

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Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, addressing the General Assembly of the Presbyterian church (U.S.A.) to urge the denomination to reject divestment, June 19, 2014. (Courtesy of Union for Reform Judaism)
Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, addressing the General Assembly of the Presbyterian church (U.S.A.) to urge the denomination to reject divestment, June 19, 2014. (Courtesy of Union for Reform Judaism)

At Presbyterian assembly, divestment advocates get narrow, but limited, victory

WASHINGTON (JTA) – There were amendments and amendments to amendments in a debate lasting for more than four hours. There were dueling T-shirts. There was a last-minute appeal for a joint pilgrimage to speak hard truths to Benjamin Netanyahu. And there was a plea to emulate Jesus and speak hard truths to Jews. After it […]

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Six Reform rabbis pose for a photo outside the jail in St. Augustine, Fla., where they spent a nigth after being arrested protesting for civil rights 50 years earlier. From left to right, are Allen Secher, Israel Dresner, Jerrold Goldstein and Richard Levy. Sitting are Daniel Fogel, left, and Hanan Sills. (Dina Weinstein)
Six Reform rabbis pose for a photo outside the jail in St. Augustine, Fla., where they spent a nigth after being arrested protesting for civil rights 50 years earlier. From left to right, are Allen Secher, Israel Dresner, Jerrold Goldstein and Richard Levy. Sitting are Daniel Fogel, left, and Hanan Sills. (Dina Weinstein)

50 years later, rabbis jailed in civil rights protest return to St. Augustine

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (JTA) — For Rabbi Richard Levy, it was an emotional return to this historic northeastern Florida city. The first time Levy came to St. Augustine 50 years ago, he and 15 other rabbis and a Reform Jewish leader endured taunts from segregationists armed with broken bottles and bricks. They were jailed along […]

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Jordan Elgrably is executive director of the Levantine Cultural Center in Los Angeles. (Anthony Weiss/JTA)
Jordan Elgrably is executive director of the Levantine Cultural Center in Los Angeles. (Anthony Weiss/JTA)

At L.A. cultural center, Middle East translates to coexistence, not conflict

LOS ANGELES (JTA) – It’s Friday night, and patrons are sitting and chatting over plates of tajine and hummus waiting for the evening’s main event, a stand-up comedy show. It could be any nightspot in this city. But a closer look reveals a bolder agenda than just good food and entertainment. The comedy show, part […]

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Seth Galena and Hindy Poupko, at his right shoulder, celebrate the birth of their son Akiva at his bris, June 15, 2014. (Piha Studio)
Seth Galena and Hindy Poupko, at his right shoulder, celebrate the birth of their son Akiva at his bris, June 15, 2014. (Piha Studio)

After losing Ayelet, Galenas find joy with new baby, thanks to NIH breakthrough

NEW YORK (JTA) – Even before their daughter, Ayelet Galena, was diagnosed with a rare bone marrow disease called dyskeratosis congenita around her first birthday, parents Hindy Poupko and Seth Galena knew they wanted to have more children. But once the diagnosis arrived, the couple had a dilemma: There was a fair chance their next […]

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Demonstrators rally outside the Israeli consulate in Manhattan to express solidarity with three Israeli teens who were abducted in the West Bank, June 16, 2014. (Miriam Moster/JTA)
Demonstrators rally outside the Israeli consulate in Manhattan to express solidarity with three Israeli teens who were abducted in the West Bank, June 16, 2014. (Miriam Moster/JTA)

American Jews take up cause of missing Israeli teens

NEW YORK (JTA) – The Reform movement posted a prayer. Chabad asked followers to pledge to do a mitzvah. The Jewish Federations of North America set up a Web page to express solidarity. The disappearance of three Israeli teens in the West Bank last week is being taken as a call to action uniting many disparate elements of the American […]

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Members of Carolina Jews for Justice and other demonstrators gather on the mall outside North Carolina's State Capitol in Raleigh for a Moral Mondays protest, June 2, 2014. (Anthony Weiss/JTA)
Members of Carolina Jews for Justice and other demonstrators gather on the mall outside North Carolina's State Capitol in Raleigh for a Moral Mondays protest, June 2, 2014. (Anthony Weiss/JTA)

As state shifts rightward, North Carolina Jews raise their voices

RALEIGH, N.C. (JTA) — It was a hot Monday afternoon, but Judy Katzin was standing on the grassy mall outside the North Carolina State Capitol beside the Carolina Jews for Justice banner, as she has many times. Katzin was among hundreds of activists of diverse backgrounds who had come to participate in the week’s Moral […]

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