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Dylan Siegel (left) and Jonah Pournazarian (Courtesy of David Siegel)
Dylan Siegel (left) and Jonah Pournazarian (Courtesy of David Siegel)

Million-dollar ‘Chocolate Bar': First-grade buddies raise seven figures for rare disease

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — A fundraising campaign started quietly by two first graders two years ago to help find a cure for a rare genetic disease just passed the $1 million mark, with donations streaming in from all 50 states and 60 countries across the globe. The million-dollar achievement has been celebrated as the perfect […]

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At United Synagogue Youth's 2014 convention being held in Atlanta, the board voted to relax the youth organization's ban on interfaith dating. (Courtesy of United synagogue Youth)
At United Synagogue Youth's 2014 convention being held in Atlanta, the board voted to relax the youth organization's ban on interfaith dating. (Courtesy of United synagogue Youth)

USY reverses interfaith dating ban

NEW YORK (JTA) – United Synagogue Youth voted to relax its rules barring its teenage board members from dating non-Jews. The amendment was adopted Monday in Atlanta at the annual international convention of the Conservative movement’s youth group. The change affects the 100 or so teen officers who serve on USY’s national board and 17 […]

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People stand outside the Little Havana restaurant in Versailles, as they absorb the news that Alan Gross was released from a Cuban prison and that U.S. President Barack Obama wants to change the U.S. cuban policy, Dec. 17, 2014 in Miami. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
People stand outside the Little Havana restaurant in Versailles, as they absorb the news that Alan Gross was released from a Cuban prison and that U.S. President Barack Obama wants to change the U.S. cuban policy, Dec. 17, 2014 in Miami. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

For Cuban Jews in U.S., rapprochement with Castro regime cause for concern

(JTA) – For many Cuban Jews – the majority of whom now live in the United States – it has been a bittersweet week. Like countless Jews around the world, they cheered the release of Alan Gross, the American Jewish telecommunications contractor who had been held in a Cuban prison for the last five years. […]

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Alan Gross, freed from a Cuban prison earlier in the day, waves after concluding his remarks with his wife, Judy, at a news conference in Washington shortly after arriving in the United States, Dec. 17, 2014. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Alan Gross, freed from a Cuban prison earlier in the day, waves after concluding his remarks with his wife, Judy, at a news conference in Washington shortly after arriving in the United States, Dec. 17, 2014. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Gross’ release, and changes in diplomatic ties, signals new day for Cuban Jews

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Alan Gross was imprisoned while trying to connect Cuba’s isolated Jewish community to the wider world. The deal that got him released five years later may do just that and much more. Gross’ flight home to suburban Washington on Wednesday with his wife, Judy, was part of a historic deal that overturns […]

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Jake Rubin, the director of the University of Virginia Hillel, on Dec. 4, 2014 in front of the Hillel building in the vRugby Road neighborhood of Charlottesville, Va. (Ron Kampeas)
Jake Rubin, the director of the University of Virginia Hillel, on Dec. 4, 2014 in front of the Hillel building in the vRugby Road neighborhood of Charlottesville, Va. (Ron Kampeas)

Highlighting campus sexual assault, Jewish groups have taken a lead

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (JTA) – Jewish campus groups were ready for the painful national dialogue that took place in the wake of murky rape allegations at the University of Virginia. That’s because organizations like Hillel and historically Jewish Greek houses such as Alpha Epsilon Pi, Zeta Beta Tau and Sigma Delta Tau had been having the […]

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Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum, Kavana (Andy Ahlstrom)
Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum, Kavana (Andy Ahlstrom)

Female rabbis at forefront of pioneering prayer communities

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — A decade ago in Los Angeles, two organizations opened their doors with a call to prayer — or they would have if they had any doors to open. Ikar, led by Rabbi Sharon Brous, and Nashuva, led by Rabbi Naomi Levy, were conceived separately. But when they launched in 2004, both […]

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Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish men during prayer at 770 Eastern Parkway, the headquarters of Chabad in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, N.Y., Sept. 24, 2013. (Mendy Hechtman/FLASH90)
Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish men during prayer at 770 Eastern Parkway, the headquarters of Chabad in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, N.Y., Sept. 24, 2013. (Mendy Hechtman/FLASH90)

Knife attack at Chabad headquarters in New York raises security questions

NEW YORK (The Jewish Week via JTA) — Just three weeks after terrorists killed four worshippers in a Jerusalem synagogue, a man entered a Brooklyn shul and stabbed a 22-year-old Israeli student. New York police officers fatally shot the 49-year-old assailant, who reportedly shouted “Kill the Jews.” At a press conference Tuesday, New York City […]

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To security officials, Chabad attack underscores importance of preparedness

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The stabbing of a rabbinical student at Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters in New York underscores three things that Jewish security officials have been urging in recent years: Be alert for copycats, cooperate with law enforcement and don’t stay away from shul. American Jewish community officials have been on the lookout for an attack on […]

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Ashton Carter, at podium, delivering remarks at the White House after being nominated by President Barack Obama to be the next defense secretary, Dec. 5, 2014. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Ashton Carter, at podium, delivering remarks at the White House after being nominated by President Barack Obama to be the next defense secretary, Dec. 5, 2014. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Under Israel-friendly Ashton Carter, no major shift expected at Pentagon

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Ashton Carter has championed the sale to Israel of state-of-the-art combat aircraft, has aligned himself with Iran hawks and was observed becoming misty-eyed when serenaded by Israeli soldiers. Carter, 60, President Obama’s secretary of defense nominee, has been depicted in the media as the un-Chuck Hagel: Assertive and a bureaucratic in-fighter where […]

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Hillary Rodham Clinton, with Haim Saban, making a point at the entertainment mogul's eponymous annual forum, at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., Dec. 5, 2014. (Peter Halmagyi)
Hillary Rodham Clinton, with Haim Saban, making a point at the entertainment mogul's eponymous annual forum, at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., Dec. 5, 2014. (Peter Halmagyi)

Clinton, at Saban Forum, endorses Obama’s Middle East policy

WASHINGTON (JTA) — From the drive for Israeli-Palestinian peace to nuclear talks with Iran, Hillary Rodham Clinton is endorsing President Obama’s Israel-related positions. Clinton, who was Obama’s secretary of state during his first term, spoke Friday night with Haim Saban, the Israeli-American entertainment mogul who through the Brookings Institution convenes an eponymous annual forum of […]

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