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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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Rep. Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, delivers an address at the Virginia Military Institute, Feb. 17, 2014. (Courtesy of House Majority Leader)
Rep. Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, delivers an address at the Virginia Military Institute, Feb. 17, 2014. (Courtesy of House Majority Leader)

Cantor’s loss leaves Jewish Republicans bereft

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Eric Cantor’s defeat in one constituency, Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, triggered mourning among another: Republican Jews. Since 2009, Rep. Cantor (R-Va.) has been the only Jewish Republican in Congress. After the 2010 GOP takeover of the House, he became the majority leader. He is the highest-ranking Jewish lawmaker in congressional history. But […]

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The Ohio Holocaust and Liberators Memorial, designed by Daniel Libeskind, on the lawn of he Statehouse, Columbus, Ohio, was dedicated June 2, 2014. (Marshall Weiss/ The Dayton Jewish Observer)
The Ohio Holocaust and Liberators Memorial, designed by Daniel Libeskind, on the lawn of he Statehouse, Columbus, Ohio, was dedicated June 2, 2014. (Marshall Weiss/ The Dayton Jewish Observer)

Ohio governor dedicates Holocaust and Liberators Memorial

COLUMBUS, Ohio (The Dayton Jewish Observer) — Visibly moved by the testimony of a Holocaust survivor, Ohio Gov. John Kasich called for a monument at the Ohio Statehouse during the annual Governor’s Holocaust Commemoration three years ago. “Let’s construct something that can teach people about man’s inhumanity to man, best exemplified by what happened in […]

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Idit Klein, right, the executive director of Keshet, married Jordan Namerow under a chuppah at their 2011 wedding in Massachusetts, which was officiated by two rabbis. (Courtesy of Idit Klein)
Idit Klein, right, the executive director of Keshet, married Jordan Namerow under a chuppah at their 2011 wedding in Massachusetts, which was officiated by two rabbis. (Courtesy of Idit Klein)

A decade later, Mass. Jews look back at legacy of same-sex marriage first

BOSTON (JTA) — Ten years ago, shortly after midnight on May 17, 2004, a jubilant Arthur Lipkin and his longtime partner descended the stone steps of Cambridge City Hall clutching a marriage license application. It was a historic night of revelry and celebration, as Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to allow same-sex […]

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As Presbyterians again weigh divestment, Jewish groups lobby, warn and worry

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Which way will Presbyterians go this time? That’s a question Jewish groups and their Presbyterian allies are nervously asking as they work to head off divestment efforts within the church targeting Israel. The fear is the efforts could pass this time after a narrow defeat two years ago. A successful divestment vote […]

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